5 Time-Saving Taskbar Tricks You Should Know

You probably don’t give much, if any, thought the taskbar at the bottom of your screen. But did you know it can do some pretty cool stuff? Here are some handy tricks you can do with your taskbar.

Keep programs on the taskbar

Want your favorite apps always to be a single click away? Next time you open it, right-click it in the taskbar and select Pin this program to taskbar . Now it will always be there for you, ready for action any time you want it.


Launch apps with the keyboard

Once you’ve pinned apps you can open them with a keyboard shortcut. For example,  Press Winkey + 1, and the first program on the taskbar will open. If it’s already open, it will jump you there.


Open recent files

Right-click a taskbar icon and there’s a good chance you’ll find a jump list of files you’ve recently opened with that particular program. Select one to open it again.


Pin a file permanently to a program

The files on a program’s jump list will disappear over time…unless you pin them there. If the file is already on the application’s jump list, hover the mouse pointer over the filename, then click the pushpin icon that will appear on the left.


If the file you want to pin isn’t already on the jump list, open the folder containing that file, then drag it to the appropriate taskbar icon. When a “Pin to…” message pops up, let go.



Quick access folders and files

Right-click a blank spot on the taskbar and select Tools > New toolbar. This brings up File Explorer, where you can navigate to any folder or drive—I recommend Libraries.


After selecting the folder you want, you’ll have an on-demand  menu of folders and files always available from the taskbar.



Easy App Launching Shortcuts

We’ve seen how easy it is to pin an application to your taskbar for easy access. If you’re a keyboard shortcut person like me you’ll be glad to know that you can skip the click and launch those pinned apps with a quick and easy keyboard combo.


Every app you’ve pinned to your taskbar (up to 10) get it’s very own shortcut. So if you want to launch the first app,just press the Windows key, plus the number 1.

For example, on my desktop, Powerpoint is the 4th app pinned to my taskbar to the keyboard shortcut to launch it is the Windows key + 4



#416 Use ‘Snap To’ to Stop Chasing Buttons Around Your Screen

Do ever get tired of dragging your mouse all over the screen or across monitors to click a button on a dialog box? If so and you’re a Windows user, you’re in luck. Windows has a mouse setting that will jump your mouse pointer to where it needs to be automatically.

The feature is called “Snap to” and it is a quick and easy fix.

How to Turn On The Snap To Mouse Option

1. Open the Control Panel and click Hardware and Sound


2. Then click on Mouse


3. On the Pointer Options tab check the Snap To box labeled “Automatically move pointer to the default button in a dialog box”.


Now you can start enjoying all that time and energy you save by not needing to chase those pesky buttons all over your screen!

#415 The Unknown Windows Tool for Automatically Capturing Screen Activity

At some point, everyone who works with computers needs to share the steps for doing something on a computer. Whether it is training for how something works or getting help from a support person when it doesn’t, capturing the steps involved is often very helpful.  There are about a zillion ways to do this including taking screenshots and recording video of your screen actions. If you want a super quick and easy way to capture the steps for some operation on your Windows computer, you should try out the Problem Steps Recorder.  It is free and there is nothing to download because you already have it. (Bet you didn’t know that! I didn’t.)

Problem Steps Recorder

The cool thing about the Problem Steps Recorder is that it will  automatically capture the steps you take, including a text description of where you clicked and a screenshot from each time you click. Then when you’re done, you can save them to a file and send it off to someone else.


To record and save steps using the Problem Steps Recorder

  1. To open the Problem Steps Recorder click the Start button and type psr. In the list of results, click psr.
  2. Click Start Record. Then walk through the steps you want to capture. You can pause the recording at any time, and then resume it later.
  3. When you’re done click Stop Record.
  4. You can use the Save button to save your stpes as a .zip file.

You can even email it directly from the PSR application. Once you’ve saved it, click the help down arrow Picture of help down arrow and then click Send to E‑mail recipient. This will open an e‑mail message in your default e‑mail program with the last recorded file attached to it.

Who knew that such a handy little tool was hiding right there in Windows all along? Learn more about it here.

#357 Top Windows Shortcuts

We recently acquired a Windows 8 computer at our house and it is quite different from any of the previous versions of Windows.  Here are some good tips to know if you work on a Windows 8 computer and as an added special bonus — totally free of charge today only! — a few for Windows 7 as well.

Windows 8

Windows 8 is all about the “hot corners’.  The corners on your screen are hot corners and give you access to different Windows features.

Bottom Left-hand corner:  The bottom left-hand hot corner of the screen will allow you to access the Start screen, if you’re in the Start screen and have the Desktop open, this corner will open the Desktop from the Start screen.

Top-left corner of the screen: Moving the mouse to the top-left corner and then down will display all the apps running on the computer. Clicking and dragging any of these apps to the left or right-hand side of the screen will snap that app to that side of the screen.

Right-hand side of the screen:  Mousing over on the right-hand side of the screen will give you access to the Windows Charms

I have found that knowing some easy keyboard shortcuts will save you a bit of sanity while trying to learn Windows 8.

  • Press the Windows key to open the Start screen or switch to the Desktop (if open).
  • Press the Windows key + D will open the Windows Desktop.
  • Press the Windows key + . to pin and unpin Windows apps on the side of the screen.
  • Press the Windows key + C to open the Charms.
  • Press the Windows key + I to open the Settings.
  • Press and hold the Windows key + Tab to show open apps.
  • Press the Windows key + Print screen to create a screen shot, which is automatically saved into your My Pictures folder.

If you’d like even more, jump over and grab this listing of 100 Windows 8 shortcuts.  [PDF]

Windows 7

And for most of everyone else who is still working in Windows 7 here are a few for you too.

  • Press the Windows key+Home:  Clear all but the active windowP
  • Press the Windows key+Space: All windows become transparent so you can see through to the desktopP
  • Press the Windows key+Up arrow: Maximize the active windowP
  • Press the Windows key+Down arrow: Minimize the window/Restore the window if it’s maximizedP
  • Press the Windows key+Left/Right arrows: Dock the window to each side of the monitor
    (If you’ve got dual monitors, adding Shift to the mix (e.g., Win+Shift+Right arrow) will move the window to the adjacent monitor.)
  • Press the Windows key+T: Focus and scroll through items on the taskbar.P
  • Press the Windows key+P: Adjust presentation settings for your displayP
  • Press the Windows key+(+/-): Zoom in/outP
  • Shift+Click a taskbar item: Open a new instance of that application