Everyone wants to feel that they are in full control of their computer, and this is certainly true of programs and windows. This is what you spend most of your time at your computer working with, so it makes sense that you should want management to be made as easy as possible.
eXtra Buttons is one such outrageously useful free tool that you need to look at, if you’re like me!
What Exactly is eXtra Buttons?
eXtra Buttons adds a series of buttons to the title bar of any program or window you have open and provides you with easy access to a range of tools to control and interact with them.
There are a host of new window options to work with including making windows transparent, moving them to another monitor, minimizing them in different ways and switching to full-screen mode.
Grabbing a Copy
You’ll need to grab yourself a free copy of eXtra Buttons to get started, so launch your preferred web browser and pay a visit to www.xtrabuttons.com.
Click the pink Download Now! button, save the executable to the desktop and then run through the installation. There’s nothing unusual about the installer, just tick the Run eXtraButtons box at the end and click Finish to get started.
Switch to another program or window and you’ll immediately notice that the left hand side of the title bar is home to more than the usual three buttons that allows you to minimize, maximize and close — there are three more buttons visible.
The new title bar buttons that are displayed by default can be used to pin a program or window so that it always appears on top of others, to minimize a window to an icon in the system tray, or to access a list of bookmarked folders.
Working with Bookmarks
If you spent a lot of time working with files and folders keeping your documents organized or find that your work means that you need to keep jumping between folders, the bookmark feature is particularly handy.
Navigate to a folder that you use on a regular basis, click the star button in the title bar and then select the Add bookmark option.
The next time you need to access this same folder, you can click the star button and then select it from the list that is displayed. You can add as many folders you like to this list so that you will be able to skip around your hard drive faster than ever.
Adding More Buttons
In total there are thirteen different buttons that can be added to title bars, but only these three are shown by default. To add more, right click the eXtraButton icon in the system tray and select Options before clicking the Buttons Set link in the Parameters section to the left.
You can pick and choose which of the buttons you would like to add from the Available buttons column by selecting them one at a time and clicking Add.
Alternatively, you can simply add all of them by clicking Add All. You can add separators to groups buttons together and a preview is shown at the bottom of the options dialog so you can see how things will look. When you’re happy with what you chosen, click Apply.
Working With eXtra Buttons
All of the button functions should be fairly self-explanatory, but you may find that it takes you a little while to get used to the icons that are used – but there are tooltips available that give you an idea of the function of each.
There are a number of toys for you to play with here – rolling up windows Mac-style, minimizes to the system tray or a box, adjusting transparency levels and much more.
While the buttons are very useful, there is more than one way to make use of extra buttons. If you right click On the title bar of a program or window, a text-based selection of window options will be displayed.
In much the same way that you can choose which buttons are displayed in the title bar, you can select which items should be displayed in the menu heading to the Windows menu section of the Options dialog.
Back at the Options screen, click the Exclude applications link in the Parameters section to the left.
Here you can specify any applications you would not like to use with eXtra Buttons – it may be that you do not feel it necessary, or there may be a compatibility issue with a particular program. Click the Add button and select the relevant executable file to add to the list.
If you look in the Button settings section to the left, you will see entries for each of the buttons available in the program. In addition to the title bar button and menu, it is also possible to define a keyboard shortcut for each of the options.
To do so, select one of the items, such as Always on top, and then click in the Current Hot-Key box before pressing the keyboard shortcut you would like to use.
There are also options to be configured for a few of the individual buttons – Minimize to Box, Transparency, Minimize to Tray Menu, Click through and Bookmarks specifically – so you can click each of these in turn. Here you can configure settings such as the default level of transparency for windows and delete bookmarks that are no longer needed.
There’s a great deal to explore in eXtra Buttons and whether you use just one of the available options or every single one of them, you’ll find that this is a utility that not only revolutionizes the way you interact with windows, but also enables you to get things done faster than ever.
Personally, I love it and use it every day. But I’d love to know what you think. Let us know in the comments below and thank you so much for reading!