Change how buttons appear on the taskbar

You can customize the taskbar, including the appearance of buttons and how they group together when you have multiple windows open.

Watch this video to learn how to change how buttons appear on the taskbar (1:51)

Here are your choices for setting taskbar button appearance:

  • Always combine, hide labels

    This is the default setting. Each program appears as a single, unlabeled button, even when multiple windows for a program are open.

    Picture of taskbar buttons when Always combine, hide labels is selected
    A single button represents both a program and open windows
  • Combine when taskbar is full

    This setting shows each window as an individual, labeled button. When the taskbar becomes crowded, programs with multiple open windows collapse into a single program button. Clicking the button displays a list of the windows that are open. Both this setting and Never combine resemble the look and behavior of earlier versions of Windows.

    Picture of taskbar buttons when Combine when taskbar is full is selected
    Individually labeled buttons combine when the taskbar is full
  • Never combine

    This setting is similar to Combine when taskbar is full, except buttons never collapse into a single button, regardless of how many windows are open. As more programs and windows open, buttons decrease in size and eventually scroll within the taskbar.

    Picture of taskbar buttons when Never combine is selected
    Individually labeled buttons always appear

To change how programs and buttons appear on the taskbar

  1. Open Taskbar and Start Menu Properties by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Appearance and Personalization, and then clicking Taskbar and Start Menu.

  2. Under Taskbar appearance, select one of the options from the Taskbar buttons list:

    • Always combine, hide labels

    • Combine when taskbar is full

    • Never combine

  3. To use small icons, select the Use small icons check box. To use large icons, clear the check box.

  4. Click OK.

Note

  • You might notice that multiple buttons representing the same program remain grouped together on the taskbar, whether you've chosen to display the expanded button labels or not. In previous versions of Windows, windows appeared on the taskbar in the order you opened them, but in Windows 7, related windows always appear next to each other.