CenterTaskbar is an open source, portable program that dynamically positions icons in the center of the taskbar

If you’d like to customize the taskbar, you can’t go wrong with FalconX and TaskbarDock. But if all you need is to place the icons in the center of the taskbar, there’s another program you may try, CenterTaskbar.

This is a portable application. When you run the executable, you’ll see a new icon appear on the system tray, and your taskbar icons will be centered.

How does it work? The documentation on the program’s project page says that it uses the Windows UI Automation framework for monitoring changes made to the taskbar icons. CenterTaskbar will detect the changes and adjust the “centering position” dynamically.

The program doesn’t use the number of icons to decide how to center the taskbar. This can be good and bad. It’s good, as in you don’t need to do anything to use it. It can however look a bit odd, if you’ve a lot of taskbar icons. In this case, even though the icons will be centered on the screen, they may appear to be closer to the system tray. An option to center the icons relatively would’ve been better (TaskbarDock does this). CenterTaskbar supports animations that normally work with the TaskBar, for e.g. mouse over, left-click/right-click, taskbar thumbnail preview.

CenterTaskbar context menu

Right-click on the tray icon to access the application’s settings. There are three options available in the menu The first option is “CenterTaskbar”, and it is grayed out. The number next to in the parentheses indicates the refresh rate of your monitor. For instance, if you have a 60Hz monitor, it will display (60).

The next setting, “Scan for Screens” is useful if you have a multiple monitor setup. In my test, this didn’t work well with my laptop and external monitor. Then icons were right next to the taskbar, but it isn’t the program’s fault. My laptop is quite old and has a 1366 x 768 display resolution, while my monitor has a Full HD 1920 x 1080 pixels panel. Center Taskbar calculates the position of the taskbar icons based on the display resolution. So, when it detects multiple screens, it optimizes the placement of the icons corresponding to the display that has the lowest resolution. And naturally, this looks odd on the display with the higher resolution.

Note: The program doesn’t detect when you enable/disable the second display. You’ll need to click on “Scan for Screens” to refresh the position if you switch to single/multi display.

CenterTaskbar - after disabling second display

(After switching to single display, but before using the Scan for Screens option)

Back on the CenterTaskbar menu, enable the “Start with Windows” option to make the program run automatically when your computer boots. To disable the icon centering, right-click on the program’s tray icon and select exit. The icons will be restored to their usual position, near the Windows Start Button.

Though it runs in the background, CenterTaskbar stays dormant when it is not in use, so there is no impact on the CPU/memory performance. It automatically wakes up when required, for e.g., when you add/remove icons to the taskbar.

CenterTaskbar weighs just about 106KB to download. The program doesn’t create an INI file in the folder you run it from. It does not make any changes to the registry or write data to the USER folder. The application is open source.

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