Add an extra toolbar to your desktop with Linkbar

The taskbar is one of the most used features in Windows. I use it to place shortcuts for my most used applications whilst keeping the desktop fairly clean.

But you can quickly run out of space on the taskbar if you’re someone who uses many programs or someone who has pinned many to the taskbar. Linkbar is a freeware application that lets you add an extra toolbar to your desktop. It is not a dock, it’s sort of like an additional taskbar.

It is a portable software, so you can run it when you want to, which makes it quite useful and yet non-distracting. The archive ships with the 32-bit and 64-bit executables.

On the first run, Linkbar prompts you to select the folder where it should save its settings. You’re also given the option to add a Linkbar for all users (or for the current user). Set it and click on the Create button, and a bar appears at the top of the screen. You may click and drag it to any of the 4 sides on the screen.

Linkbar menu

Right-click on the Linkbar and select “New > Shortcut”. Use the browse window that pops-up to create a new shortcut for any of your favorite applications.

The easier way is to drag and drop shortcuts on to the bar. Add a separator from the menu, to organize your shortcuts. Right-click on an icon on the bar to view the default Windows context menu and all its options.

Right-click on the icons of programs which support jump lists (for e.g. Firefox, Explorer, Notepad, etc), to access their special actions (e.g. new tab, new window, new private window, recently opened files, etc)

Let’s get back to the program’s menu. Linkbar allows you to create multiple bars if that’s something you like. All bars can be deleted or locked with a single-click of the mouse. The icons can be sorted alphabetically.

Linkbar options appearance

Open the Settings and you’ll find that Linkbar is very customizable. Adjust the position of the bar, the order of the shortcuts. If you’re a fan of centered icons, you’ll like to know that there is an option to set the alignment.

Linkbar settings items

Set a custom background color, choose among light, dark and accent themes to change the appearance of the bar. There are three transparency options that you may select from: Opaque, Glass and Transparent. There’s more, you may define the icon size, margins, text position, color, glow, the separator style and width.

Linkbar auto hide

Linkbar stays on top of other programs, and by doing so it takes up a good chunk of screen space. If you don’t need the toolbar all the time, you will want to enable the Autohide option from its namesake tab. There are three ways to bring it back into view: by hovering the mouse, or with a right or left click.

There is a hotkey option (Ctrl + Alt + L) that is supposed to toggle auto-hide, but I couldn’t get it to work. The mouse over option is the easiest way to use autohide.

Don’t like jump lists? Disable them from the Linkbar settings, or limit the number of items to be shown, from the “Additional Tab”.

Linkbar is an open source program. The latest beta version can be found on the project’s SourceForge page. The application is written in Pascal.

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