The Active Network


Internet Explorer Tips


Some of IE4's coolest shell enhancements are the new and improved Start Menu and Taskbar.

The ability to add Toolbars to the taskbar is a great example of this. In addition to the "normal" task bar (which I'll refer to as the "Programs" bar), you can add an Address Bar, Quick Launch bar, a Desktop shortcuts bar, a Quick Links bar, and a generic folder bar. The Address Bar is the same as that on Windows Explorer. Folder bars display the contents of the folder you choose (for instance, if you choose Toolbars | New toolbar, and select the Windows folder, you'd get the contents of the Windows folder in a toolbar!) To do this, just right click on a blank area of the toolbar (or the handle) and choose Toolbars | <the toolbar you want to add>.

Even cooler, however, is how you can customize these new toolbars. Although the Programs bar isn't very customizable, the other ones are. Let's use the Quick Launch bar for an example. Right click a blank area of the Quick Launch toolbar (or the little handle). View | Large / Small allows you to change the size of the icons. Show text allows you to add captions to the icons on the toolbar. Show title allows you to toggle whether "Quick Launch" appears on the toolbar itself. These options are applicable to the other toolbars, of course (except for the Programs bar).

Additionally, after you start playing with all your toolbars, you can resize them to whatever you please. Obviously, the toolbars in the Taskbar work just like those in the IE coolbar; by dragging the handle, you can resize them, put one under the other, etc. Even cooler is the ability to make a toolbar autonomous from the Taskbar (this won't work with the Programs bar or the Quick Launch bar though). Just drag a toolbar off the Taskbar onto the Desktop. The toolbar will open in its own window, which you can resize and customize to your heart's content.

To top this all off, you can even pile your autonomous toolbars on top of each other (took me a while to find this myself :). Again, this won't work with the Programs bar or the take a toolbar from the Taskbar and drag 'n drop it Quick Launch bar. To do this, first, be sure that you already have an autonomous toolbar on the Desktop. Then, onto the window of the autonomous toolbar. Voila! From here, you can resize, etc.

Start Menu

The enhanced Start Menu now gives you more control over your shortcuts. Most obviously, you now have the ability to directly manipulate shortcuts in your Programs folder, etc. Try dragging a shortcut around; then, right click a shortcut and you have your usual options =). You'll probably also notice the Favorites menu and the new options on the Find submenu (first implemented with the FindX PowerToy).


That's all the time we have today =). Spend some time customizing the toolbar to your liking, and have fun! If you've got any questions, feel free to email me Byron here at ActiveIE! Have fun, and enjoy IE4!


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