Show/Hide Taskbar Icon Labels With a Shortcut

In Windows 7, the labels on taskbar icons are hidden by default. This, along with the ability to group icons, is designed to allow more and more program icons to remain pinned or minimized in the taskbar. The obvious disadvantage is that when more than one window of an application is open, such as two or three browser window or explorer window, it requires more clicks to select and open the program. The labels also has the advantage of displaying real time updates on the taskbar such as title of the playing song in music players, download progress etc.


Apparently, both display modes has its own merits and demerits. Taskbar Labels is a small free program that allows you to quickly toggle the labels on and off with a keyboard hotkey. This allows you to switch from icons-only compact view to the traditional one and back to icons view whenever you wish to.


Taskbar Labels is a portable application: just unpack the contents of the zip file to a folder of your choice and double click on the executable. The default keyboard shortcut to hide or reveal taskbar icon labels is Ctrl+F11, but you can change it at will, by right clicking the icon of Taskbar Labels at the System Tray. Aside from showing the labels, pressing the hotkey will also ungroup multiple program windows.

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  1. Anonymous Reply

    Yes, with win7 I have xp'efied the taskbar (with the appropriate settings changes and 7 taskbar tweaker for other enhancements and fixes) and have taken away the AWFUL changes they made, namely grouping and annoying thumbnail previews etc.

    And – wow, this is going to instantly transform the way I work with my windows (windows with a small 'w') and have the best of both worlds!

    just retract the items when my MANY windows are getting so cluttered, that windows creates a second taskbar row which is very unintuitive (again, a second click to get to something you just want to pull up instantly).

    being a power user and doing long sessions with many documents staying in the same order in the taskbar and so I know what is what etc, I don't always need to see the text for each item. (and just toggle if I need too, woo!)

    this tweak has seriously mac levels of intuitiveness. why can' microsof tjust work these things out themselves????? THIS is what they should have done. have a SQUASH function with apple-like queezing animation if they want, and a little slim button on the taskbar to do it for all the keyboard shortcut-less noobs out there, to just expand/contract when you need!!!!!

    after all, most users don't have a gazillion windows open and creating the cluttering problem, so they should have just turned off grouping by default :P. stupid microsoft :). if you really analyse things, you can see how apple have intuitively done it in a similar situation in their os x dock: sqaush them by default on the bottom and as you roll over, MAGNIFY it so you can select it easier! But will I ever go to apple? eugh….no! 🙂 I die first :P.

    Anyway – this is brilliant. thanks Kaushik :).

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