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Chapter 13. Printing, Fonts, and Faxing

Chapter 13. Printing, Fonts, and Faxing

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3.4TheTaskbar

Thepermanentbluestripeacrossthebottomofyourscreenis

thetaskbar,oneofthemostprominentandimportantelements

oftheWindowsinterface(seeFigure3-11).



Figure3-11.Whenyouseenothingbut

microscopicicons,pointwithoutclickingtoview

anidentifyingtooltip.



Thetaskbarhasseveralsegments,eachdedicatedtoan

importantfunction.Itsrightend,thenotificationarea,contains

littlestatusiconsthatdisplaythetime,whetherornotyou're

online,whetherornotyourlaptop'spluggedin,andsoon.The

mainportionofthetaskbar,ofcourse,helpsyoukeepyour

openwindowsandprogramsundercontrol.Youcanevendress

upyourtaskbarwithadditionallittlesegmentscalledtoolbars,

asdescribedinthefollowingpages.

Thissectioncoverseachofthesefeaturesinturn.



3.4.1TheNotificationArea

InWindowsXP,Microsofthaschosenanewnameforthearea

formerlyknownasthetray(thegroupoftinyiconsattheright

endofthetaskbar):thenotificationarea.(Whyuseonesyllable

wheneightwilldo?)



Thepurposeismuchthesame:togiveyouquickaccesstolittle

statusindicatorsandpop-upmenusthatcontrolvarious

functionsofyourPC.Manyasoftwareinstallerinsertsitsown

littleiconintothisarea:faxsoftware,virussoftware,palmtop

synchronizationsoftware,andsoon.



INFREQUENTLYASKEDQUESTION

TheRadioToolbar

Didn'tthereusedtobeanothertoolbartheradiotoolbar?HowamIsupposedto

tuneinmyfavoriteInternetradiostations?

It'sgonefromWindowsXP.Whenyou'reinthemoodforalittleclassicalmusic

asyoucrunchnumbers,usethenewMediaExplorerbarpanelinstead(Section

3.1.2).



NOTE

Tofigureoutwhataniconrepresents,pointtoitwithout

clickingsothatatooltipappears.Toaccessthecontrolsthat

accompanyit,trybothleft-clickingandright-clickingthetiny

icon.Often,eachclickproducesadifferentpop-upmenufilled

withusefulcontrols.



Despitetheexpansionofitsname,you'llprobablydiscoverthat

thisareaismuchsmallerthanitusedtobe.OnanewPC,for

example,youmayfindlittlemorethanthecurrenttime.



NOTE

Bydouble-clickingthetimedisplay,youopentheDateand

TimeControlPanelprogram.Andifyoupointtothetime

withoutclicking,atooltipappearstotellyouthedayofthe

weekandtoday'sdate.



That'sbecauseMicrosoft'sXPanti-cluttercampaignreacheda

feverpitchwhenitcametothiscomponentoftheoperating



system.ThedesignersofWindowshadnoticedthatsoftware

companieslargeandsmallhadbeenindiscriminatelydumping

littleiconsintothisarea,sometimesforprestigemorethan

utility.

Therefore,Microsoftlaiddowntwopoliciesconcerningthis

criticalpieceofscreenrealestate:

EvenMicrosoft'sownusualjunkthespeakericonforvolume

control,thedisplayiconforchangingscreenresolution,the

batteryiconforlaptops,andsoonisabsentonafreshXP

installation.Ifyouwanttoaddthesecontrolstothe

notificationarea,youmustdoityourself,usingthe

correspondingControlPanelprogramsasdescribedin

Chapter9.

Notificationareaiconsthatyoudon'tuseoftenwillbe

summarilyhiddenafteracoupleofweeks.SeeFigure3-12

fordetails.



Figure3-12.Ifyouseea
tellingyouthatithashiddensomeofyour

notification-areaicons.Clickthisbuttonto

expandthenotificationarea,bringingallof

thehiddeniconsintoview(bottom).



3.4.2WindowButtons

Everytimeyouopenawindow,whetheratthedesktoporin

oneofyourprograms,thetaskbarsproutsabuttonbearingthat

window'snameandicon.Buttonsmakeiteasytoswitch

betweenopenprogramsandwindows:Justclickonetobringits

associatedwindowintotheforeground,evenifithasbeen

minimized.

ThetaskbaristheantidoteforCOWS(ClutteredOverlapping

WindowSyndrome).Infact,ifyouworkwithalotofwindows,

you'llrunsmackintooneofthebiggestandmostvisible

changesinWindowsXP:taskbarbuttongroups.

Intheolddays,openingalotofwindowsmightproducethe

relativelyuselessdisplayoftruncatedbuttons,asillustratedin

Figure3-13.Notonlyarethebuttonstoonarrowtoreadthe

namesofthewindows,butthebuttonsappearinchronological

order,notsoftware-programorder.



Figure3-13.Top:Theoldtaskbarwasn'tmuch

helpinmanagingabunchofwindows.Middle:

Nowadays,acrowdedtaskbarcombinesits

buttons.Bottomleft:Clickoneofthesebutton

groupstoseethelistofwindowsit'sconcealing.

Bottomright:Right-clicktooperateonall

windowsatonce.



ThenewWindowstaskbardoestwothingsthatnoWindows

taskbarhasdonebefore.First,whenconditionsbecome

crowded,itautomaticallygroupsthenamesofopenwindows

intoasinglemenuthatsproutsfromthecorresponding

programbutton,asshownatbottominFigure3-13.Clickthe

taskbarbuttonbearingtheprogram'snametoproduceapopupmenuofthewindownames.Nowyoucanjumpdirectlyto

theoneyouwant.

Second,evenwhenthereisplentyofroom,WindowsXPaligns

thebuttonsintohorizontalgroupsbyprogram.Soyou'llseeall

theWord-documentbuttonsappear,followedbyalltheExceldocumentbuttons,andsoon.



NOSTALGIACORNER

TurningOffNotificationAreaAuto-Hiding

Ingeneral,thetemporaryremovalofnotificationareaiconsyouhaven'tusedin

awhileisanobleambition.Mostofthetime,youtrulywon'tmissanyinvisible

icons,andtheirabsencewillmaketheiconsyoudousestandoutallthemore.



Still,youcantellWindowstoleaveyourtrayalonetoleaveeverynotification

areaiconinfullviewallthetime.Todoso,right-clickablankareaofthe

taskbar;fromthedrop-downmenu,chooseProperties.Atthebottomofthe

resultingdialogbox,turnoffthe"Hideinactiveicons"checkbox,andclickOK.

Ifthatseemsalittledrastic,don'tmisstheCustomizebuttonjusttotherightof

thatcheckbox.Itopensalistofeverytrayiconthatwouldnormallyappear,ifit

weren'tforWindowsXP'sefforts.ClickintheBehaviorcolumntoproduceapopupmenuforeachitem.Choosethestatusyouwantforeachindividualtrayicon:

"Hidewheninactive,""Alwayshide,"and"Alwaysshow."Finally,clickOK.



Despitethesedramaticchanges,mostofthefollowingtimehonoredbasicsstillapply:



Tobringawindowtotheforeground,makingittheactive

window,clickitsbuttononthetaskbar.(Ifclickingabutton

doesn'tbringawindowforward,it'sbecauseWindowshas

combinedseveralopenwindowsintoasinglebutton.Just

clickthecorrespondingprogram'sbuttonasthoughit'sa

menu,andthenchoosethespecificwindowyouwantfrom

theresultinglist,asshowninFigure3-13.)

Tohideanactivewindowthat'sbeforeyouonthescreen,

clickitstaskbarbuttonagreatfeaturethatalotofPCfans

miss.(Tohideabackgroundwindow,clickitstaskbarbutton

twice:oncetobringthewindowforward,againtohideit.)

Tominimize,maximize,restore,orcloseawindow,evenif

youcan'tseeitonthescreen,right-clickitsbuttononthe

taskbarandchoosetheappropriatecommandfromthe

shortcutmenu(Figure3-13,bottom).It'sarealtimesaver

tocloseawindowwithoutfirstbringingitintothe

foreground.(Youcanstillright-clickawindow'snamewhen

itappearsinoneoftheconsolidatedtaskbarmenus

describedearlier.)

Toarrangeallvisiblewindowsinanoverlappingpatternas

showninFigure3-14,right-clickablankspotonthe

taskbarandchooseCascadeWindowsfromtheshortcut

menu.



Figure3-14.Whenyou'vecascadedyour

windows,clickanytitlebartobringits

windowtotheforeground.Afteryou'veclicked

afewtitlebarsandworkedinseveral

windows,you'llneedtochooseCascade

Windowsagaintorearrangeallyouropen

windows.(Byright-clickingaconsolidated



taskbarbutton,youcancascadeonlythe

windowsofoneprogram.Ifyouwantto

cascadeallwindowsofallprograms,rightclickablankpartofthetaskbar.)



Toarrangeallnon-minimizedwindowsinneatlittleboxes,

eachgettinganequalrectangularchunkofyourscreen,

right-clickablankspotonthetaskbarandchooseTile

WindowsVerticallyorTileWindowsHorizontallyfromthe

shortcutmenu.

Tominimizeallthewindowsinonefellswoop,right-clicka

blankspotonthetaskbarandchooseShowtheDesktop

fromtheshortcutmenuorjustpresstheWindowslogo

key+D.



NOTE

Whenthetaskbariscrowdedwithbuttons,itmaynotbe



easytofindablankspottoclick.Usuallythere'salittlegap

neartherightend.Youcanmakeiteasiertofindsome

blankspacebyenlargingthetaskbar,asdescribedonthe

facingpage.



Ifyouchangeyourmind,thetaskbarshortcutmenualways

includesanUndocommandforthelasttaskbarcommand

youinvoked.(Itswordingchangestoreflectyourmost

recentaction"UndoMinimizeAll,"forexample.)

Toclosethewindowsfromdifferentprogramsallatonce,

Ctrl-clicktheirtaskbarbuttonstoselectthem.Thenrightclickthelastoneyouclicked,andchooseCloseGroupfrom

theshortcutmenu.



3.4.3TheQuickLaunchToolbar

AttheleftendofthetaskbarjusttotherightoftheStart

buttonisahandfuloftiny,unlabeledicons.ThisistheQuick

Launchtoolbar,oneofthemostusefulfeaturesinWindows.See

Section3.5.1fordetailsonthisandothertoolbars.



3.4.4CustomizingtheTaskbar

You'renotstuckwiththetaskbarexactlyasitcamefrom

Microsoft.Youcanresizeit,moveit,orhideitcompletely.Most

peopledon'tbother,butit'salwaysgoodtoknowwhatoptions

youhave.



3.4.4.1Movingthetaskbar



Youcanmovethetaskbartothetopofyourmonitor,or,if

you'reatruerebel,toeitherside.

Todoso,firstensurethatthetoolbarisn'tlocked(whichmeans

thatyoucan'tmoveorresizethetaskbaroranyofitstoolbars,

forthatmatter).Right-clickablankspotonthetaskbarto

producethetaskbarshortcutmenu.If"Lockthetaskbar"is

checked,selectittomakethecheckmarkdisappear.



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