Desired layout

NOTE: I know this can be done with the taskbar on the bottom. I seek the solution for a taskbar on the side.

I attached a picture of what I mean. In the screenshots, you can see that my taskbar program icons are arranged in a single column. I want to be able to have multiple columns. This would mean arranging the icons into squares and have them be placed side by side, as well as above and below one another.

This can be accomplished with taskbar being on the bottom of the screen, however, I require this arrangement when I have my taskbar on the side of my screen. Currently if I expand the taskbar horizontally, it only stretches out the icons horizontally rather than turn them into small squares to make room for side by side and placement of icons.

Additional icons that I add to my current taskbar are only accessible by using the horizontal scroll bar that appears at the bottom of the taskbar when there is no more space to accommodate any more icons.

  • sad to say this but depending on your investment in this change, maybe it would be best to slowly start to replace all software you are using with open-source ones, and then when you are ready to hop, switch to an operating system that has a more flexible culture and a carefully chosen and tested-beforehand hardware that you are sure that supports it. Currently I'd probably recommend elementary OS, without me knowing your level of expertise. Then you would be in a much better starting position for this; pretty good guess to expect this is already somewhere in Linux.
    – n611x007
    Feb 10 '15 at 14:22

Okay - I kind of found a way to do this, but it does not work with the taskbar vertical (or I haven't got it to work yet, pretty sure it won't anyways with this method).

A while back I wanted to get my icons centered like a Macs, so I followed this tutorial. It works perfect, and your taskbar stays centered that way (minus when you open new windows, they show up to the right of center). Your taskar should look similar to this: After Tutorial

After you have finished that tutorial, instead of locking the taskbar, drag it up one more space so it is two units high. After that, take the little scroll thing on the notification area side and drag that over until your icons are stacked like you want them, similar to this


Alternatively, you could add another folder on the other side of your icons and use that to adjust the stacking of the icons instead of the notification area, incase you like it in a certain way.

Now, if you want a vertical taskbar with programs or files, first unlock the taskbar and drag it to the side of the screen you would like for it to be on. Second, create some folders, that contain the items that you want to be stacked on the bar. For example, I just used Folder and then duplicated it to get Folder2 (that's why the two columns match) - unfortunately, I haven't found out how to make the taskbar icons multi layered yet (You can put an application in the folder, and it will launch, but it will then show up as the last icon in the task bar, and won't actually be a taskbar icon - I hope that makes sense.) I'll post back here if I can find a way to fix that - but anyways, this is what mine looked like.

  • OK thanks very much i got that to work. Very nice work-around. Microsoft needs better UI designers. Yes it sucks the workaround isn't perfect in terms of what you said.
    – ms. mann
    Dec 11 '12 at 7:48

It's not possible to do so in Windows 7.

  • Yes, I have and haven't found any tweak or tool to change this behavior. And furthermore, this behavior of taskbar seems to be inherent in Windows code since Windows 2000, XP and Vista.
    – Mohit
    Dec 11 '12 at 7:10

I've searched a lot today and cannot find a solution for this question directly. Maybe it's impossible to have multiple columns of running application on win7 vertical taskbar. But there are several workarounds here; maybe one of them will be suitable for you.

  1. The vertical taskbar does have multiple columns. You can create a folder and add it to toolbar, then drag it to be side by side with the taskbar. But it can only contain some shortcuts, not running application icons. Reference here.

  2. Use a windows theme editor to editor the height and margin of vertical taskbar icons. So the vertical taskbar can hold more icons before foldering them to the next page. Reference here.

  3. Use a virtual desktop manager such as VirtuWin. Put apps that are not directly related to your current work on the next desktop or organize apps into different desktops according to your work theme. And switch between virtual desktops using the way provided by the virtual desktop manager, which is always more convenient than clicking the little arrows at the bottom of the taskbar.

  4. When windows begins to fold the app icons to the next page, you should pay some attention to the windows you have opened. Maybe you can close some of them. Running 20 apps simultaneously on desktop is too much for most kinds of work.

3 and 4 are my choices.

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