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Ever since it existed, the Windows Taskbar has appeared at the bottom of the screen. While it has changed in design over the years, that horizontal bar has become synonymous with the operating system. But did you know you can set it to appear vertically?
We’re not only going to show you how to get a vertical Taskbar, but also argue its case. It might seem like a strange change at first, but trust us when we say it’s something worth trying out.
If you’ve got any thoughts to share on a vertical Taskbar, or if you’ve been using one for a while, please let us know in the comments.
How to Get a Vertical Windows Taskbar
First, right-click an empty space on your Windows Taskbar. Then check to see if Lock the taskbar has a tick next to it. If it does, click it, otherwise you’re already set. Next, left-click and hold an empty space on your Taskbar and drag it to either the left or right of your screen. Release your mouse, then lock the Taskbar. That’s it!
The Benefits of a Vertical Windows Taskbar
Without further ado, let’s discuss why you should use a vertical Windows Taskbar.
1. Widescreen Displays
Monitors with a 4:3 aspect ratio were standard when the Windows Taskbar first hit the scene. It made sense to have the Taskbar on the bottom to maximize the limited real estate you had on screen. However, now your monitor is likely to be far wider than it is tall, meaning you have more horizontal space to play with than you do vertical.
Consider also that many websites and applications don’t make full use of horizontal space and are designed responsively to account for mobile displays. Take this very website — you can happily lose a bit of white space on the sides to benefit from fitting more of the article on screen.
2. See More at Once
Now that you have horizontal space to play with, you can extend the Windows Taskbar past the thin strip you’re used to. For this, hover on the border of the Taskbar until the cursor changes. Then left-click, hold, and drag to make the Taskbar wider.
You’ll benefit from being able to see the full date and time, plus more of the icons in your tray and any toolbars you might have enabled. And depending on your Taskbar settings, which you can adjust at any time by right-clicking an empty space and selecting Settings, you’ll also see more of a window’s title.
3. More Natural to Read
You might think that reading left to right is natural for the majority of the world, but if you have your Windows Taskbar spread out over a huge horizontal space it isn’t totally efficient. Instead, having your Taskbar vertical means that you quickly see everything with a single glance at the side of your screen.
Every window is a separate row on the Taskbar, so you can quickly scan down the list and find the icon and window name. It might not seem like a major benefit, but it’s a subtle quality of life improvement that you’ll find hard to go back from.
4. Less Obstructive
This one is especially true if you’re using a touch device. Having your Windows Taskbar at the bottom of your screen can be cumbersome to control, particularly if you have a keyboard attached at the same time because it can be awkward to reach. Placing the Taskbar on the side of your dominant hand is much more natural.
Also, if you set your Windows Taskbar to autohide and have it positioned at the top or bottom of your screen, you might find that you have trouble performing certain actions like resizing windows because the Taskbar will either activate at the wrong time or force itself over where you need to click. Having the Taskbar vertical combats this problem entirely.
Autohide can be problematic. For advice on how to fix it, check our guide to fixing Windows 10 Taskbar issues.
Join the Vertical Windows Taskbar Movement
It might seem strange to have your Windows Taskbar vertically at first, especially if you’ve been used to the Windows default for years, but try it out. It’ll take a bit of time to get used to, so don’t get frustrated if you keep pulling your mouse to the bottom of your screen, but it’s worth sticking with. For extra style, why not make your Taskbar totally transparent.
If you’re after even more Taskbar tips, check out our guides on customizing the Windows 10 Taskbar and some advanced Windows 10 Taskbar tweaks. There’s a lot you can do with the Taskbar and moving it vertically is only scratching the surface.