Making Your Own Launch Bar
Today I thought I'd share a tip that may be useful for some people. For various reasons, many people dislike the Quick Launch bar on the Windows taskbar. It takes up too much room on the taskbar. There are lots of programs out there to create toolbars and docks to launch your favorite programs from (ObjectDock and Free Launch Bar come to mind) but a lot of people don't realize that they can do this themselves.
I created a folder on my desktop called Frequent Programs, and then filled it with shortcuts to the programs I use the most (daily). Right click on the taskbar, choose Toolbars and then New Toolbar. In the dialogue that pops up click the folder you want to be a toolbar, and click OK. It'll show up on the taskbar, but you can drag it to the top or sides of your screen to dock it. If you right click your new toolbar once it's docked, you can set it to Auto-hide so it'll only show up when you mouse over that portion of your screen. I also set the icon size to large since most modern programs have pretty nice looking icons, and I also turned off Show Text to conserve room. (You can also download some nice looking icons from iconaholic or InterfaceLIFT). Don't forget too, that you can resize the toolbar to double height to make more room for shortcuts, and since it's set to auto-hide anyways, it won't get in the way. Click the picture above to see a screenshot of my toolbar in action.
This toolbar has really changed the way I work at the computer; launching my favorite programs is quick and easy. I even have shortcuts to folders I browse through a lot like My Music. It may not have as many fancy features as some commercial products out there, but it's simple and free.
Categories: How-To, Tech