Tutorial Windows: Create Windows Taskbar Icon Groups

Working on a computer doesn’t just imply the effort of using programs you need, but most of the times even to find them. The desktop and taskbar can easily become crowded places.

Luckily, there are various ways to customize the methods through which you keep track of running programs, and even access with them. However, an opened program still ends up taking space on your taskbar, which you might also be using as a place to store shortcuts to keep your desktop free.

Doing a little research, we found a neat trick to make your taskbar a friendly place, and create custom groups of icons for easy identification. All you need is a shortcut, and a little bit of imagination.

Grouping taskbar icons together

Step 1: Right-click an empty desktop space and choose to create a New kind of file. Anything will do.

Step 2: Change its extension to EXE.

Note: Common extensions are hidden by default. To make them visible, open a folder, click the View menu, and check File name extension.

Step 3: Right-click the new file and choose to Send To Desktop to create a shortcut.

Step 4: Access the shortcut’s Properties via the context menu.

Step 5: Hit the Change Icon button and select something to use as a delimiter.

Note: You can even use a fully transparent icon, or use an application to create your own icon. The guys at How to Geek have already made a transparent icon so you don’t have to.

Step 6: Drag the new shortcut between the taskbar icons you want to separate.

Step 7: Repeat the steps above to create a new delimiter.

Bonus hint 1: Giving the shortcut a name displays it on mouseover. This lets you add group names to easily keep web browser on one side, games in the middle, and text editors on the other side.

Bonus hint 2: Unlock the taskbar to resize and place it on a different screen edge to try out new options.

Bonus hint 3: Access the taskbar Properties to Use small taskbar buttons. This gives you more space for storing programs.

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