Shortcut tip for the Windows taskbar icons

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Today’s tip is quick and easy, and I’ll bet it’s something that most Windows 7 users are not aware of.  I love telling people about stuff like this.

Windows 7 logo

You probably already have some shortcut icons on your desktop.  Let’s say, for example, you have these shortcuts displayed:

  • Outlook
  • MS Word
  • Firefox
  • iTunes
  • Skype

So they would look something like this:

shortcut icons

Did you know that you can take each one of those icons, and drag it to the taskbar (at the bottom of your screen)?  So you will then have the shortcut icon on your desktop, but it will also always be there in the taskbar – ready to go with just a single click.  So you should now see this:

shortcuts in taskbar

But that’s not even the trick!

Take note of the order in which those icons appear in the taskbar.  Outlook is first, #2 is Word, #3 is Firefox, #4 is iTunes, and the last one, #5, is Skype:

shortcut icons

With the icons in that order, if you want to open Microsoft Word, all you have to do is hold down the Windows key and tap the number 2 (the Windows key is in the lower left corner of the keyboard with the Microsoft logo on it).

To open iTunes, just hit Windows key + 4.  So the Windows key plus any number will open the corresponding shortcut in your taskbar.  Now you know something your friends don’t know!

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glyn unt
October 16th, 2012

thanks Scott but did I miss something? why not just tap the icon on the task bar?


Scott Johnson
October 16th, 2012

Glyn – for some people (myself included), it’s faster to tap a key combo on the keyboard than it is to use the mouse to click on a particular icon.