How do I change spacing between icons on the taskbar?

I have a small screen laptop.  Because I want a decent number of programs on my taskbar for easy access, I chose small icons and no names, etc.  Even so, the small program icons (when not in use) are spaced so far apart that there is little room to spare.  New open programs quickly cause grouping and are hard to manage.

Why does Microsoft put so much blank space between the unopened small icons?  It's wasted space. 

More importantly, how do I shrink the space in between the icons?  On Vista and XP you could slide the icons together to manage your space.  How do I do this with Windows 7?

Thank you!
 

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Last updated November 8, 2019 Views 41,615 Applies to:
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Right after I posted that the space is really necessary I found the answer that the original question asked.

 

You can change the space between the icons (really the button size) by changing the "Caption Buttons" size in Window Color and Appearance. The default in my version of Windows (2008 R2) was 18. When I adjust it down the button size for the pinned icons get smaller and thus the icons get closer together.

 

I am not sure if the path is the same in Win7 but in 2008 R2 you right-click on the desktop and select Personalize. Then click on the Window Color button (at the bottom of the window). The dialog that comes up should be titled "Window Color and Appearance". In the Item drop-down, select Caption Buttons and adjust the Size to change the distance between icons.

 

I have only tried a couple of sizes so too much adjustment may cause issues. Once you apply you may need to right click on the desktop and do a Refresh or even logoff and back on.

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To clarify, the spacing between Pinned icons in Windows 7 is NOT the same as the spacing between the Quick Launch icons in Windows XP. In Windows XP, you are using a TOOLBAR to put icons in.  The new "pin to taskbar" function of Windows 7 is NOT the same thing.

So if you want the icons and spacing the same as Windows XP, you have to CREATE a new toolbar in Windows 7 and call it Quick Launch or whatever you want to call it (Windows XP already has this created for you, get it?)

Follow these directions to create the toolbar and youre set:

  • Right-click the taskbar, and select Toolbars|New Toolbar
  • In the Folder field, select a folder for the toolbar or simply paste ‘%userprofile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch’ if you want the standard items.
  • Make sure you toolbar is unlocked, right-click on the new toolbar, and uncheck Show Title and Show text.
  • Look to the left of your pinned icons and grab the dotted divider and drag to the right, past your new quick launch toolbar and drop.
  • Now grab the same divider and drag to the left.
  • Right-click on any shortcuts in the original toolbar, the one where the shortcuts are pinned to, and select Unpin from Taskbar.

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