Windows offers four canned Taskbar toolbars: separate, recessed-looking areas on the Taskbar containing special-function features (see Figure 4-13). You can add icons to any toolbar, and you can also create your own toolbars (see the next section).
Figure 4-13. Toolbars eat into your Taskbar space; use them sparingly. If you've added too many icons to the toolbar, an arrow appears at its right end. Click it to expose a list of the commands or icons that didn't fit.
To make these toolbars appear or disappear, right-click a blank spot on the Taskbar and choose from the list of toolbars that appears. The ones with checkmarks are the ones you're seeing now; choose one with a checkmark to make the toolbar disappear.
For sheer convenience, the Quick Launch toolbar puts the Start menu to shame. Maybe that's why it's the only toolbar that appears on your Taskbar automatically. It contains icons for functions that Microsoft assumes you'll use most often:
Show Desktop, a one-click way to minimize (hide) the windows on your screen to make your desktop visible. Don't forget about this button the next time you need to burrow through some folders, put something in the Recycle Bin, or perform some other activity in your desktop folders. Keyboard shortcut: Windows key+D.
Launch Internet Explorer, for one-click access to the Web browser included with Windows.
Launch Outlook Express, for one-click access to the email program included with Windows (see Chapter 12).
But you should consider those buttons only hints of this toolbar's power. What makes it great is how easy it is to add your own icons, those you use frequently. There's no faster or easier way to get them open, no matter what you're doing on your PC—the Taskbar is always visible and showing your favorite icons.
To add an icon there, simply drag it from whatever desktop window it's in (or from the Start menu, or even the desktop itself) onto the Quick Launch toolbar area, as shown in Figure 4-14. To remove an icon, right-click it and choose Delete from the shortcut menu. (You're removing only its image from the Quick Launch toolbar; you're not actually removing any software from your computer.) If you don't use Outlook Express for email, for example, remove it from the Quick Launch toolbar.
Figure 4-14. You can add almost any kind of icon to the Quick Launch toolbar (an application, document file, disk, folder, control panel, or whatever) just by dragging it there (top); the thick vertical bar shows you where it'll appear. The only challenge is to find the window that houses the icon you want to add. If it's an application, see Section 126.96.36.199 for hints on finding the actual icon of the program in question.
The Desktop toolbar (Figure 4-13) is a row of icons representing the icons sitting on your desktop: My Computer, My Documents, and so on. This toolbar can make yourTaskbar very crowded. You can ease the crowding by right-clicking the toolbar and deselecting Show Text. Naturally, this creates a new problem—without the text all the icons may not be easily identifiable.
Consider avoiding this space-hungry toolbar. Instead, when you need to access one of the icons on your desktop, click the Show Desktop icon on the Quick Launch toolbar.
These toolbars are exactly the same as the window toolbars described on Section 188.8.131.52. Those toolbars, however, appear only in the windows in which you've summoned them; these appear on the Taskbar at all times.
To change the look of a toolbar, right-click a blank spot on that toolbar to display its shortcut menu. The shortcut menu offers these choices, depending on the toolbar:
View lets you change the size of the icons on the toolbar.
Show Text identifies each toolbar icon with a text label.
Refresh redraws the Links or Desktop toolbar if it needs updating. For example, suppose you drag an icon onto your desktop. The Desktop toolbar doesn't change to list the new icon—until you use this Refresh command.
Open works only with the Quick Launch and Links toolbars. It opens a window that lists what's in the toolbar, so that you can delete or rename the icons conveniently. (Of course, you can also delete or rename something on these toolbars by right-clicking an icon and choosing Delete or Rename from the shortcut menu. But using the Open command can be useful when you're performing extensive changes to the toolbar; it opens a window, where the icons are larger and you have more working room.)
Show Title makes the toolbar's name (such as "Quick Launch" or "Desktop") appear on the toolbar.
You can enlarge an individual toolbar by placing your mouse pointer on either edge of the toolbar. When the pointer changes to a double-headed arrow, drag to the right to make the toolbar wider. (Doing so may make the other toolbars smaller, however.)
You don't have to keep toolbars at the bottom of the screen; you can move them anywhere on your screen you find handy, as shown in Figure 4-15. To return a toolbar to its original location, drag its title bar back onto the Taskbar.
Figure 4-15. Top: To park a toolbar in a different location, drag upward on the ridge at the left edge. Bottom: What you get is a strange sort of floating toolbar; it's now an on-screen, perpetually available launcher. (Use Tooltips, or choose Show Text from its shortcut menu, to identify the icons.) If you drag the toolbar to an edge of the screen, it becomes glued there like a second Taskbar.
The disadvantage to moving a toolbar off the Taskbar is that you're using screen real estate that might be better used by your document windows. In addition, any windows you open cover the on-screen toolbar, rendering it useless. Of course, you can minimize all the windows to get to the toolbar, but that seems more like work than convenience.
The Quick Launch area of the Taskbar is such a delight that you might wish you could create several different Quick Launch toolbars, each stocked with the icons for a different project or person. One could contain icons for all the chapters of a book you're writing; another could list only your games.
Fortunately, Microsoft has anticipated your craving. It's easy to create as many different custom toolbars as you like, each of which behaves exactly like the Quick Launch toolbar.
Windows creates toolbars from folders; so the first step is to fill a folder with the icons (or shortcuts) that you'll want to add to the custom toolbar. Just drag this folder's icon onto the Taskbar; when you release the mouse, it instantly becomes a toolbar of its own.
Feel free to tailor it as described in the previous discussions—by changing its icon sizes, hiding or showing the icon labels, or adding new icons to it by dragging them from other desktop windows.