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Is there a way to ALWAYS show labels on ALL buttons on the task bar? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I'm using a vendor product and it consists of 5 different packages and 5 separate interfaces that I have to launch independently. I docked them all but the icons are all nearly identical. So I'd like labels below them (like you used to could do with the "show text" choice in XP).

    I know how to make labels appear on the open application icons (Properties, Never combine...) but if it's already open, I know what it is. I want to know what it is before I open it...

    Thanks.


    • Edited by Keith Work Friday, January 6, 2012 9:06 PM
    Friday, January 6, 2012 8:58 PM

Answers

  • I expect ham-fisted "You will like it because we say so" design from Apple

    Apple?   Doing something wrong??  That's just crazy talk, Keith!   I know your type... Holding your iPhone the wrong way, and thinking the signal strength issue was Apple's fault...  Remember... talking bad about Apple will get you kicked out of their cult, and they'll confiscate your Snuggie too!  ;-)

    Ahhh... Apple bashing is always fun... But back to the topic at hand: A couple other things that could be worth a try:

    • Right click your start menu, choose properties, the go to the toolbars tab.  If you enable one or both of LINKS or DESKTOP toolbars, you have a taskbar cascading menu either to your Links or to your desktop or both.  ("in Explorer, "shell:links" to get to your links folder).  You know where your desktop is.  The toolbars are over to the right side of your taskbar, not the left, but still, it's always there on top.  You might like that.
    • You might also like getting the quick-launch toolbar back:  There are ways to accomplish that too.
    • You could also copy the 5 icons to your start menu, and rename them from there with meaningful names.
    • And finally, you mentioned keyboard shortcuts, referring to windows key-M to minimize all, and shift-winkey-M to restore all.  For really frequently used sites or programs, though, modify the desktop or start-menu shortcut, and assign keystroke sequences via the "shortcut key".  For example, on my computer, "ctl-shift-alt-G" takes me to Google, "ctl-shift-alt-N" to Notepad, and a handful of others for things I open a bunch of times per day.
    • Most of these are slightly on the arcane side, mostly for people who like tinkering, but each (specially the keyboard shortcuts) can save you lots of cumulative time (a half-second at a time)

    • Edited by johnqflorida Monday, January 9, 2012 8:15 PM Added smiley
    • Marked as answer by Keith Work Monday, January 9, 2012 8:24 PM
    Monday, January 9, 2012 7:58 PM

All replies

  • I know pinned Taskbar icons are all the rage with Windows 7, but you *could* just put shortcuts on the desktop...  You could choose icons that visually differentiate the apps.

     

    -Noel


    Detailed how-to in my new eBook: Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options

     

    Saturday, January 7, 2012 3:18 AM
  • As a workaround, you can probably right click the shortcuts back in Explorer (backtrack to the applicable program files location), pick Properties, and Change Icon, and pick a different icon, or perhaps even manually edit the icons.    (Sometimes, manually altering icons doesn't always make it all the way back to the taskbar or the quick launch (sighhh.. quick launch), so there can be a bit of trial and error (including logging off and back on) to see the updated icons.  You may also benefit from unpinning and repinning, after you get the modified icons.

    Also, are you pausing for a half second or so on the mouseover over the pinned icon?  There may be a tooltip, but you won't see it if you're moving too fast.

    Monday, January 9, 2012 3:13 PM
  • Yeah but that kinda defeats the point of having them at your fingertips there on the task bar. I wonder what the logic is at Microsoft - why do desktop icons need text and task bar icons do not?
    Monday, January 9, 2012 4:44 PM
  • Thanks John. Unfortunately we have vendors who remote in and use these programs and they wouldn't recognize custom icons. And the mouse-over text does appear but it seems like it takes about an hour for it to show up. I mouse-over an icon and wait... and wait... and wait.... Grrrr! Just tell me what the heck you are!!

    Oh well. I expect ham-fisted "You will like it because we say so" design from Apple but Windows should be more useful than that. Maybe they'll reinstate the text option some day.

    Thanks guys.

    Monday, January 9, 2012 4:50 PM
  • Yeah but that kinda defeats the point of having them at your fingertips there on the task bar.

    I'm just not seeing a deep distinction between icons on the taskbar that you can click on to start apps and icons on the desktop just a few millimeters away that you can click on...  I just never saw the point, and I really never wanted my Windows experience to be Macintosh-like.  When you say "fingertips", are you referring to activating icons on the taskbar via a different method than clicking on them via a mouse?  Are you using a touch screen?

    Maybe Microsoft's point is that if you like little icons with no text you can use the Taskbar, and if you like icons with text you can use the desktop?

    But I'm very much with you on this issue in general:  I personally don't feel tiny icons without text on the Taskbar are good enough, and so I just avoid pinning anything to it.  I have the buttons for active tasks set up to combine when full, which gives me icons + text for them.  This strategy also avoids mixing up what's running with what can be started, which I never saw the need for.  But I guess I'm just a dinosaur - sigh.

     

    -Noel


    Detailed how-to in my new eBook: Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options

    Monday, January 9, 2012 5:39 PM
  • Well the main distinction is that the taskbar is always visible. So I don't have to minimize all my windows, lose my alt-tab order, etc. I know there's a hotkey to hide and restore windows but I never got in the habit of using it.

    I only use the desktop for temporary files - saving things from the web so I can edit them with another program or whatever. I don't see any reason to have useful icons back behind all my windows. Would you keep your stapler under your mouse pad or out on the edge of your desk so you can always use it?

    Monday, January 9, 2012 6:25 PM
  • I expect ham-fisted "You will like it because we say so" design from Apple

    Apple?   Doing something wrong??  That's just crazy talk, Keith!   I know your type... Holding your iPhone the wrong way, and thinking the signal strength issue was Apple's fault...  Remember... talking bad about Apple will get you kicked out of their cult, and they'll confiscate your Snuggie too!  ;-)

    Ahhh... Apple bashing is always fun... But back to the topic at hand: A couple other things that could be worth a try:

    • Right click your start menu, choose properties, the go to the toolbars tab.  If you enable one or both of LINKS or DESKTOP toolbars, you have a taskbar cascading menu either to your Links or to your desktop or both.  ("in Explorer, "shell:links" to get to your links folder).  You know where your desktop is.  The toolbars are over to the right side of your taskbar, not the left, but still, it's always there on top.  You might like that.
    • You might also like getting the quick-launch toolbar back:  There are ways to accomplish that too.
    • You could also copy the 5 icons to your start menu, and rename them from there with meaningful names.
    • And finally, you mentioned keyboard shortcuts, referring to windows key-M to minimize all, and shift-winkey-M to restore all.  For really frequently used sites or programs, though, modify the desktop or start-menu shortcut, and assign keystroke sequences via the "shortcut key".  For example, on my computer, "ctl-shift-alt-G" takes me to Google, "ctl-shift-alt-N" to Notepad, and a handful of others for things I open a bunch of times per day.
    • Most of these are slightly on the arcane side, mostly for people who like tinkering, but each (specially the keyboard shortcuts) can save you lots of cumulative time (a half-second at a time)

    • Edited by johnqflorida Monday, January 9, 2012 8:15 PM Added smiley
    • Marked as answer by Keith Work Monday, January 9, 2012 8:24 PM
    Monday, January 9, 2012 7:58 PM
  • Thanks John - good stuff there. This thread is probably overkill for such a minor annoyance but it's such a frequent annoyance that I had to ask. :)
    Monday, January 9, 2012 8:25 PM