What did I learn today: Reorder taskbar icons as per work at hand

Read the previous article to understand how to Pin commonly used programs to taskbar. But recently, I went beyond this. I thought – the order in which these icons are pinned should also matter. You can easily drag them around to rearrange – that part is easy. But why would I want them in a particular order?

I solved that problem recently. I had to create the quiz for the Microsoft and Economic Times productivity competition. I had to create many quiz questions and associated images. During this process, I had a very repetitive activity to be done. I would create an image in Camtasia Editor, save it to file system (File Explorer), Save it to my blog (in IE), then preview it in another browser (chrome), add it to my database (Excel), find related article (IE) and then update it in Excel.

After doing this few times, I realized that the order of all the icons is not optimal. So I arranged them in the order I just described – as per my work flow.


And then it became extremely easy for me to do that repetitive work. Moreover, if I forgot exactly which step I was on, I just had to look at the currently active application – look at its icon and then the next icon was my next step – a visual progress indicator on task bar.

There is one more thing. If you want the first icon application press Windows 1, for second one Window 2 and so on.. at least till first 9 applications it is good. (Thanks Khushnood for the inputs). In the above screenshot, Windows 1 will START the first application (SnagIt). Windows 2 will NOT open another File Explorer instance – but it will show existing instances – if there was only one instance, it will open it. If there were multiple instances, it will show all of them just above the taskbar so that you can choose the one you need.

Try it out next time you are performing repetitive complex operations like the way I just described. Enjoy.

One Response

  1. Just adding my 2-bits to this excellent tip.

    I have already setup my taskbar with more than 15 pinned programs.
    Each of the first 10 pinned programs on the taskbar can be started (or activated, if already running), by pressing the Win key + its position number.

    E.g. I have set Notepad as the first pinned program, so when I need to use it, I press Win + 1.
    Excel is the second program, so, Win + 2, Word is the third program. And so on, for 10 programs, upto Win + 0.

    This works in Windows versions starting from Vista, upto Windows 8.1 (on the desktop).

    You can, of course, pin more programs on the taskbar, but for the 11th program onwards, you’ll have to use the mouse.

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