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Easily switch applications with 7+ Taskbar Numberer

11 April 2013, Mike Williams

Keyboard task switching under Windows normally means repeatedly pressing Alt+Tab or Win+Tab, cycling through your running applications until you find what you need. But this is a more direct way. If you see you required program is, say, the 7th button on the taskbar, then pressing Win+7 will launch it directly.

When your taskbar is cluttered then of course it may take a moment to figure out exactly which number any particular button might be. But that’s where the free 7+ Taskbar Numberer comes in. The program can add number overlays to each of your taskbar buttons, helping you identify them at a glance.

If this is sounding familiar, then you’re right, we covered the first version of the program last year. But the latest build has two interesting improvements.

First, it introduces an option to hide the numbers until the Windows key is pressed. If you didn’t like the number overlays then this may appeal, as normally your taskbar will look just as it always did.

Number overlays help you see an icon's taskbar position at a glance

(Unfortunately the numbers will also reappear whenever you press the Windows key for some other reason – Win+R to open the Run box, say – which can be distracting, but on balance we think it’s a useful addition.)

And second, 7+ Taskbar Numberer is now fully compatible with Windows 8, which may help you launch regular Windows programs from the Start screen.

If you’re at the desktop, say, having 7+ Taskbar Numberer will help you see that Firefox is, perhaps, button 9 on the taskbar. If you later want to return to Firefox from the Start Screen, there’s no need to use Alt+Tab, or click the desktop tile, then the Firefox taskbar button: just press Win+9 and the browser will reappear immediately. (Win+number is a standard task switching hotkey, of course, but 7+ Taskbar Numberer just makes it a little easier to use.)

One small down side here is that getting 7+ Taskbar Numberer set up and working as you’d like still requires a little work. There’s no automated setup, so you’ll need to save the program somewhere safe, set up a shortcut, give it the correct command line arguments, and so on.

It’s not difficult, though – the program’s readme.html file has everything you need – and on balance 7+ Taskbar Numberer makes it notably easier to switch to and launch running and pinned applications.

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