Tech Tip #2: Let’s Make A Custom Toolbar

Given the enthusiastic response to my last Tech Tip, I thought I’d trot out another one periodically to address issues I see frequently in my line of work as IT Wonk/Paper Shuffler.

Today’s tip is for those of you who aren’t content with a single toolbar for your shortcut needs. Maybe you’re a clean desktop freak. Perhaps you feel a burning desire to use a shortcut bar rather than favorites. Whatever the burr that resides under your particular saddle, you’re probably in the market for an additional toolbar.

So, let’s get to it, shall we?

STEP ONE: Open up your “My Documents” folder. Right-click and make a new folder, naming it whatever you like (in the example below, I’ve cleverly named mine “CLAIRE STUFF”).

You can name your folder whatever you want. "Leroy," maybe, or "Boudicca." Go nuts.

You can name your folder whatever you want. "Leroy," maybe, or "Boudicca." Go nuts.

STEP TWO: Open the folder you just created. Drag shortcuts (or create them) to the programs you want to access in the folder. As you can see, I have a significant number of frequently-used apps and documents. Once you’ve copied or created all your shortcuts, move on to step three.

Yes, I really do use most of these every day. Isn't that sad?

Yes, I really do use most of these every day. Isn't that sad?

STEP THREE: OK, kids, here’s where things get tricky. Go back to My Documents by clicking the “Back” button (or the “Up One Level” button)  in the toolbar at the top of the window. You should see your new folder amongst the clutter of your My Documents Folder. Click and drag your new folder to the edge of the screen, and release (I’ve dragged mine to the bottom, but you can choose the top or either side if you have your Start Menu at the bottom).

Click and drag, then release. Aspirin for any headaches, Dramamine for any nausea.

Click and drag, then release. Aspirin for any headaches, Dramamine for any nausea.

STEP FOUR: The bar should appear wherever you dragged it. Note that it will be rather untidy looking, as Microsoft leaves all the labels and such turned on for maximum inefficiency and annoyance to the user. We’ll fix that in Step Five.

Not too tidy, is it? Don't worry, it's only temporary, Padawan.

Not too tidy, is it? Don't worry, it's only temporary, Padawan.

STEP FIVE: Right-clck on the toolbar (not on an icon, but on the empty space in the toolbar itself) and UN-CHECK the “Show Text” and “Show Title” items. (If you’d like, you can set your toolbar to Auto-Hide and remain Always on Top by checking those items now.)

I set mine to "Always on Top" with "Auto-Hide," but you can do whatever you want. Nobody's judging. Well, not much.

I set mine to "Always on Top" with "Auto-Hide," but you can do whatever you want. Nobody's judging. Well, not much.

STEP SIX: This is the last step. If you have a lot of items like I do, your toolbar will remain sized the way it was when you initially created it. To fix this, just grab the edge of your new toolbar and drag it toward the edge of the screen. When it’s the size you like, release.

In toolbars, as in life, less is more.

In toolbars, as in life, less is more.

That’s it! You’re finished. Your new toolbar will remain where it is until you either delete the folder it represents or you accidentally turn it off (if you do, you can restore it by following these steps again). Here’s my shiny new toolbar, which should bear close resemblance to yours:

Bask in its toolbary glory! Hey - are you basking? I said bask! BASK, CURSE YOU!

Bask in its toolbary glory! Hey - are you basking? I said bask! BASK, CURSE YOU!

Do you have an issue or question you’d like answered as a Tech Tip? Send it to me at La_Barceloneta@yahoo.com, or post a comment here.

Coming up next time: Tech Tip #3 – iTunes Stutter, or Why Johnny Can’t Sing

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2 Responses

  1. I love these, because even though I’m not a retarded computer user (to be completely un-PC about it, pun kind of accidental but accepted anyway,) I’m not savvy enough to figure stuff like this out. Very cool.

  2. @Sra Thanks, sister. I try to be very Law & Order about it, “ripping them from the headlines” as they occur at work or amongst my friends.

    And you know that puns, accidental, incidental, or otherwise, always score bonus points with me! 🙂

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