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Quicklaunch: configuring the taskbar

Most of us use a particular set of applications, folders and webpages on a more regular basis than others. Since Windows 95 there’s been a clever solution to allow you to start those items directly from the taskbar beside the ‘start’ button with one click. It’s called the ‘Quicklaunch toolbar’ and, properly configured, ought to look a little like this:

Quick launch tool bar

In order to enable Quicklaunch, you’ll need to unlock the taskbar bar by right-clicking on it and choosing the option to unlock it if it isn’t already. Next, right-click on the taskbar and choose ‘Toolbars/Quicklaunch’. If it isn’t already ticked, click on it and you should immediately see some icons appear on the toolbar. Click on them to see what happens. One ought to make your desktop appear, showing any shortcuts you already have available there.

You can make your desktop a lot tidier by moving these icons to the quicklaunch bar by dragging and dropping them. As the Quciklaunch bar fills up with icons, you may find you need to increase the room available to them. You can lift the taskbar up a notch by hovering over the top of it, then dragging it up with the mouse.

Adding webpages to your Quicklaunch bar

Suppose you frequented the Information Handyman a great deal. Rather than type www.informationhandyman.com into the browser address or location bar, you could add it directly to your taskbar like the black and grey ‘AP’ logo in the example above.

To do so, head over to the site, and click on File/Send/Shortcut to desktop’, head to your desktop then drag and drop the icon to the Quicklaunch bar if you’re using Internet Explorer. If Firefox is your thing, add the site to your Bookmarks, then drag and drop it directly to the Quicklaunch bar. Easy!

Adding folders to your Quicklaunch bar

If you’re a big fan of a particular folder in your hierarchy and want to be able to open it quickly at a moment’s notice then the Quicklaunch bar is great for this. Open the folder you use regularly, then go up the hierarchy one step so that you can see the icon for the folder you’re interested in. Drag and drop it directly onto the Quicklaunch bar.

Adding applications to your Quicklaunch bar

Can’t be bothered using the ‘Start’ menu every time you need to open MS Word? You can add this to the taskbar, too, by navigating to the application’s icon from the ‘Start’ menu, then dragging and dropping it into the Quicklaunch bar.

Once you’ve got this all set up, you’ll find yourself using it time and again and will delight in the speed with which you can access such a wide variety of information from such a small spot. Happy information gathering!

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