How to Group Taskbar Buttons in Windows 7

How to Group Taskbar Buttons in Windows 7Still using Windows 7? Ever wanted to know how to group taskbar buttons? Whether you’re using your computer for work or for play, making sure the Windows desktop is aesthetically pleasing as well as being efficient for navigation and getting to the files and applications can be an endeavor with its own set of challenges. Just as a cluttered work space or living room can impede a positive, streamlined experience in the real world, so, too, can the visible places and spaces in your virtual world.

Aside from a few freaks and weirdos (you know who you are!), who really likes to clean house? Wouldn’t it be great if we could recruit the help of a Samantha Stephens or Jeannie Nelson or press a few buttons and have the house clean itself in times of need, such as when company is on its way over, when relatives are visiting from afar, or when it’s your day off and you want to be doing something — anything — that doesn’t involve brooms, mops, or dusting wands? Maybe we’re not yet so lucky to have this as a real world convenience, but when it comes to Windows 7, dream of genies no more! Here’s how to group taskbar buttons in Windows 7.

An icon appears on the taskbar for each application and open window. If you have similar windows open, the buttons on the taskbar can be grouped. For example, if you have multiple Word documents open, the taskbar can group the same Word buttons to just one button. Doing so both frees up space and organizes the taskbar.

Which taskbar is easier on the eyes and conveys more information in less space? This taskbar?

How to Group Taskbar Buttons in Windows 7

Or this taskbar?

How to Group Taskbar Buttons in Windows 7

If you think the second screen shot is far dandier and keener than the first screen shot, then we’re in agreement! Want to know how you can get your taskbar buttons looking as sharp as a regiment of line-dancing butlers awaiting the Queen’s arrival? Then read on and you shall learn exactly how to group taskbar buttons in Windows 7.

How to Group Taskbar Buttons in Windows 7

  • First, you’ll want to right-click an empty area on the taskbar.
  • Next, click Properties.
  • From here, click the Taskbar tab. So far, so good?
  • Now, click the drop-down arrow beside Taskbar buttons and select Always combine, hide labels.
  • Click OK to apply the change you just made.

Alternatively, you can have similar buttons grouped only when the taskbar becomes full by selecting the Combine when taskbar is full option. And that, friends, is how to group taskbar buttons in Windows 7. It wasn’t so bad, was it? Now that you’ve gotten this properly crossed off your to-do list, you’ll have plenty of time to clean your real-world house before company arrives. Lucky!

At LockerGnome, we’re always glad to help. You’re welcome.

Image: from Our Young Folks at Home and Abroad by Various via Project Gutenberg

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Chris has consistently expressed his convictions and visions outright, supplying practical information to targeted audiences: media agencies, business owners, technology consumers, software and hardware professionals, et al. He remains a passionate personality in the tech community-at-large. He's a geek.

  • Goosetrain123

    The second screen shot is the default! So they mustve changed it previously to get the ungrouped task bar.

    Posted from iPhone

  • Mmster55

    Do yourself and download Bins from 1up. It allows you to group icons on the taskbar. It’s awesome

  • GadgetFix

    Fogarty, isn’t taskbar grouping enabled by default? Is this a late April Fool’s entry?

    • swarfega

      Yep, its enabled by default.

  • Gurjit Singh Khehra

    Nice Tutorials Thanks.
    Here are also some tips and tutorials : Wiki For You | Tips and Tutorials

  • Zbob750

    While you’re in properties, make sure to set icon size to small. It takes some getting used to but it looks a lot better and takes up less space.

  • Kyle Polansky

    Any way to disable programs from grouping themselves? It would be nice if I could go: program x, program y, x,y,z etc. I can only go: xx,yy,z

    • higgins

      Google “7 taskbar tweaker”

  • TheGeekPanel

    Same as GadgetFix, Taskbar grouping is enabled by default. Sorry to disappoint, but this was a bit of a pointless article…

  • RaterKey

    Much like the others have pointed out, the best way is the default setting which is to always group icons. The far more interesting question is the one Kyle Polansky is asking, which is how to further customize the behaviour so it is different depending on the program.

    One that I always find a little weird is GIMP. In that clicking on the image Window highlights the GIMP taskbar icon, but clicking on any other GIMP window, like the Toolbox, doesn’t. But then again, GIMP seems to be¬†one of the few¬†programs that uses a whole lot of Windows to do one thing.

  • GadgetFix

    This is kind of like adding the OSX “Stacks” feature to the taskbar. There is a nice alternative called StandaloneStack that works pretty much like Bins and it is free. Granted it is a bit more cumbersome than Bins.

  • Madhav Tripathi

    Yes I like combined taskbar and I think it is enabled by default.

  • apexman

    The problem I have in Windows 7 is that once the icons are put into a group, the number of items in that group isn’t displayed. Anyone know how to tweak that?