Weekly Computer Tip # 332
18 February 2011

Quickly launch your favourite programs from your taskbar
(Windows 7)

A couple of weeks ago (in tip 327 to be precise) I told you how to quickly find and open programs from the Start menu. (See tip_327.php if you missed it.) But as Judi (thanks, Judi!) quite rightly pointed out: there is an even easier way to get to those programs you use most often by pinning them to the taskbar, next to your Start menu.

Here's how:

  1. If the program is already running, right-click the program's button on the taskbar and select "Pin this program to taskbar".
  2. If the program isn't running, click Start (or press the Windows key), find the program's icon, right-click the icon, and then click "Pin to Taskbar".

You can also pin a program by dragging its shortcut to the taskbar. Similarly, you can drag a file, folder, or website to the taskbar. And if you're not happy with the order of the icons, simply drag them around to rearrange.

To remove a pinned item from the taskbar simply right-click its icon and select "Unpin this program from taskbar".

And finally, here's another thing you're missing if you're hanging on to Windows XP... if you hover over a program on the taskbar, you get a thumbnail image of all your open files, which makes it easy to toggle between them.