Controlling the Taskbar on Multiple Monitors

by Eric Wyatt
(last updated March 30, 2020)

Using multiple monitors on your computer has many benefits, such as increased desktop space, or being able to use multiple applications at once. When you initially connect a second monitor to your computer (if your computer allows it) Windows will detect the secondary screen and extend your desktop to that screen. When Windows extends your desktop to the second monitor, by default it also places the Taskbar at the bottom of your second screen as well as the first. You can control how Windows handles the Taskbar on a secondary monitor, all from the system preferences.

To adjust how the Taskbar is used on multiple monitors, press the Windows key and type (without quotes) "Taskbar Settings", then press Enter. This launches the Taskbar options of the Settings dialog box. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The Taskbar tab of the Settings window.

In the Multiple Display section, you will find three options to configure the Taskbar on your multiple displays:

Show Taskbar on All Displays – This toggle controls whether the Taskbar is shown on both monitors or not. In the "On" position the Taskbar is shown in the same location on each monitor. In the "Off" position, the Taskbar only appears on the primary monitor.

Show Taskbar Buttons On - This drop-down allows for one of three options: All Taskbars, Main Taskbar and Taskbar Where Window is Open, and Taskbar Where Window is Open.

  • All Taskbars – All app/program buttons will be shown identically on both screens.
  • Main Taskbar and Taskbar Where Window is Open – Buttons will show on the Primary Monitor, as well as on the monitor on which the window is open. For example, If the window is only on the primary monitor the corresponding Taskbar button is not shown on the secondary monitor. However, if you move the window to the second monitor, the corresponding Taskbar button appears on the second monitor.
  • Taskbar Where Window is Open – The third option only displays the Taskbar buttons on the monitor on which the window is currently open.

Combine Buttons on Other Taskbars – This setting determines how Windows combines buttons and their corresponding labels on additional Taskbars.

  • Always, Hide Labels - This hides the corresponding label for each button in the Taskbar.
  • When Taskbar is Full - Windows displays the labels for each corresponding button as long as there is enough room on each Taskbar. If the Taskbar is too full the system automatically shifts to hiding the labels.
  • Never - Your computer will always show the button and label and will not hide or display the button even if there is not enough space.

Once you have configured your Taskbar settings you can close the Settings dialog box. Your changes take effect immediately. With the Taskbar settings set up the way you prefer you can have your desktop space configured to show the information that makes the most sense for your needs.

 This tip (13754) applies to Windows 10.

Author Bio

Eric Wyatt

Eric Wyatt is a swell guy (or so his friends tell him). He is a formally trained designer and branding expert, bringing a wide range of skills to his Tips.Net articles. ...

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