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Sizing the Taskbar

What happens if you open a number of windows by starting several programs? The single-line taskbar fills up very quickly with buttons and icons and descriptions that represent those open windows. The taskbar can become extremely full if you display multiple toolbars on the taskbar. Figure 3.9 shows such a taskbar.

Figure 3.9. This taskbar needs more room.


You can click the up and down arrows that Windows XP places on the toolbar to the right of your program buttons to see additional buttons. Windows cycles through all the taskbar buttons that are active.

Just as you can resize a window, you also can resize the taskbar. Simply point to the top edge of the taskbar (or the inside edge if you've moved the taskbar to an edge or top of the screen) and drag the edge toward the center of the screen. The taskbar enlarges as you drag your mouse. Figure 3.10 shows a wider version of Figure 3.9's taskbar. Notice how all the taskbar buttons are more readable and have room to be noticed.

Figure 3.10. This taskbar now has breathing room—at the expense of the screen space.


When you enlarge the taskbar, it can more comfortably hold several buttons for open windows, and the descriptions on those buttons can be longer. Use the pop-up ToolTips if you need a reminder of the purpose of the taskbar buttons, such as the Show Desktop button. Of course, the larger taskbar means that you don't have as much screen space as you might need for your programs.

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