Do you pin a lot of programs to your Windows 7 Taskbar and run a lot of programs at once? Between pinned programs and other programs running, your Taskbar can get crowded. There are a few ways you can reclaim the space on your Taskbar.
Make the Taskbar Icons Smaller
You can decrease the size of the icons on the Taskbar, so they’ll take up less space. The image above shows the Taskbar with the default, full size icons. To make the icons smaller, right-click on an empty space on the Taskbar and select Properties.
The Taskbar and Start Menu Properties dialog box displays. On the Taskbar tab, in the Taskbar appearance box, select the Use small icons check box so there is a check mark in the box. Click OK.
All the icons, except the Start button, are reduced in size, and the Taskbar itself is slightly shorter in height.
Increase the Number of Rows on the Taskbar
If you really have a lot of icons on the Taskbar, you can make the Taskbar display two rows. To do this, unlock the Taskbar by right-clicking on an empty space on it and selecting Lock the taskbar so there is no check mark next to the option.
Put your mouse cursor on the top edge of the Taskbar. The cursor should change to a double-ended arrow, as shown below.
Drag the double-ended arrow up until you get two rows on the Taskbar. It will look similar to the following image, although we don’t have enough icons on the Taskbar to fill a second row.
If you want to keep the two rows, right-click on the Taskbar again and select Lock the taskbar so there IS a check mark next to the option.
NOTE: You can put the Taskbar back down to one row by dragging the double-ended arrow down until you see one row. Then, lock the taskbar again.
NOTE: If you like filling up the Taskbar with icons, this tip will be useful for you. However, you’ll notice that it does take up more room on your screen.
Minimize Applications to the System Tray Instead
When you minimize a program, it puts an icon on the Taskbar by default. However, you can use third-party programs to minimize programs to the system tray, leaving your Taskbar less crowded. We’ve written about three different tools that allow you to do this:
- Minimize Apps to the System Tray with Trayconizer
- What’s the Simplest Way to Minimize Applications to the System Tray?
- Minimize Apps to the System Tray in Windows with MoveToTray
Use Launchers to Keep the Taskbar Clear
You can also use launchers to keep your Taskbar clear, and maybe your Desktop, too. One method does not require any third-party software. You can use the Windows Quick Launch bar as an application launcher.
If you don’t mind installing third-party tools, you can use Jumplist Launcher to use the Windows jump list feature to create a launcher.
For more ideas about how to customize your Taskbar and Start menu, see our tips and tricks article.
Lori Kaufman is a freelance technical writer who likes to write geeky how-to articles to help make people's lives easier through the use of technology. She loves watching and reading mysteries and is an avid Doctor Who fan.
- Published 09/12/12