You may not be aware that you are able to jump between open programs and windows in Windows 7 by pressing the Windows key and a number – for example, press the Windows key and 2 and you’ll launch the program that appears second in the taskbar.
This is an interesting and useful alternative to Alt-Tabbing between windows or manually clicking icons in the taskbar. 7 Taskbar Numberer is a free tool that makes things easier by letting you know which number you need to press to activate a particular icon.
While the Windows key + [number] shortcut seems useful, in practice it can actually be a little slow and cumbersome. You may decide that you want to launch Google Chrome from the taskbar shortcut, but you then need to remember – or count – which position it occupies in order to press the correct key.
Number Your Taskbar Buttons
This is something that 7 Taskbar Numberer can help with. This is a tiny utility that will add number overlay to buttons that appear in the taskbar so you can easily identify which key you need to press in order to jump to a particular program.
You can download a copy of these free utility by heading over to the RaMMicHaeL home page and click the 7 Taskbar Numberer.zip link in the Download section down the page. This is a tiny app of under 60KB, so you’ll be able to download it in a flash.
The software is provided in compressed format so you’ll need to right click the zip file and select the Extract All option. You might want to click the Browse button to choose where the files should be extracted to – such as Program Files so the app is with all your other software.
When you open the folder containing the extracted files, you’ll see that there are two folders contained within it: one for the 32-bit version of the program and one for the 64-bit version. Open the folder that relates to the version of Windows 7 you are using and then launch the executable.
You’ll immediately notice that your taskbar is adorned with number overlays that count up from left to right. The first icon after the Start button is labelled 1, the second 2, etc. You can now launch programs that are pinned to the taskbar by pressing the Windows key and the corresponding number, or switch to program or windows that are already open in the same way.
Other Keyboard Shortcuts
While 7 Taskbar Numberer does not actually provide you with any new options for navigating the taskbar, it does make things a great deal easier. If you want to switch to Chrome which you have pinned to the taskbar, you do not need to remember its position, or count which number you need to press – a cursory glance will reveal the shortcut you need to use.
There are various other shortcuts that you can use in much the same way, and it’s worth mentioning these here. If you already have a program running, or already have an Explorer window open, you can start a new instance of a program or windows using the Shift = Windows key + number shortcut.
If you have multiple instances of the same program open, pressing Ctrl + Windows key + number will cycle between those windows. Finally, you can use the Alt + Windows key + number shortcut to access the jump list for a taskbar icon.
You might wonder what the purpose of the numbers on your system tray icons is. Although there is no keyboard shortcut that can be used to interact with these icons, if you have voice control software installed – such as Dragon NaturallySpeaking with the Utter Commands addon – you can used voice commands to perform various tasks including switching between programs.
Just as with the icon in your taskbar, the number labels in the system tray help you to identify which number you need to use to access a particular icon. You can use the command ‘window 2’ to access the second taskbar icon, and ‘window 3’ to access the third system tray icon.
To ensure that 7 Taskbar Numberer is always availbale whenever you need it, it is a good idea sto create a startup shortcut. Open the Start menu followed by the All Program group and then right click the Startup folder before selecting Open. In a separate Explorer windows, navigate to the folder you have extracted 7 Taskbar Numberer to, right click the executable file and select Copy. Switch to the Startup folder, right click and select the ‘Paste shortcut’ option.
This will be enough to automatically launch the program when you start your computer, but you will undoubtedly have noticed the little splash screen that appears whenever you launch the program. To prevent this from being displayed every time you start Windows, right click the newly created shortcut and select Properties. Move to the end of the path in the Target field and type a space followed by –hidewnd. The field will now read something along the lines of “C:\Program Files\7 Taskbar Numberer\64\7 Taskbar Numberer.exe” –hidewnd. Click OK and the next time you start Windows, 7 Taskbar Numberer will be ready for you to use straight away without any interfering screens.
7 Taskbar Numberer might seem like a minor tool, and in many respects it is. You may decide to use it on a permanent basis because it makes certain keyboard shortcuts easier to use, or it may be a temporary means to learning the position of your icons so help build up memory muscles.
Either way, it is a small, valuable tool that is sure to come in handy. Oh, and should you want to get rid of the number overlays, just right click the 7 Taskbar Numberer system tray icon.