We've already mentioned the new Jump Lists feature in Windows 7 as one of our favourite features, and today we'll take a closer look at how you can use them to save time.
For those of you that haven't yet tried out Windows 7: when you right-click on a taskbar button in Windows 7, a menu slides out with recent documents and application tasks. You can even access it with the left mouse button if you choose.
Display More Items on Jump Lists
Before we even dive into all the great things you can do with Jump Lists, you'll probably want to increase the number of recent items that show up on the list. You can easily do so by heading into the Taskbar properties, choosing the Start Menu tab, and then clicking the customise button. At the bottom of this window you should be able to choose the amount of items you want to show up in the Jump Lists—though you might want to play with the setting a bit to see what works best for you.
Quick Access to Media
Having quick access to your music is essential for a productive work environment, and the Jump Lists feature lets you access your frequently used media, hit the next button, or pause whatever is playing when the boss walks in — right from the taskbar button. Windows Media Player users have this functionality built in, as does anybody using iTunes 9, but foobar2000 or Winamp users aren't left in the cold either, with the same functionality available through plugins.
Open Private Browsing or Bookmarks Easily
When you want to quickly open up a new Private Browsing window, you really don't want to have to open up the browser, find the button for private browsing, and then switch the browser to private mode — you want an instant way to open it up, and Jump Lists give you exactly that. Internet Explorer has this feature baked in, and Google Chrome added this functionality recently as well, and while Firefox users are currently left out, you can use an add-on application called Winfox to at least add Jump List support under Windows 7, though private browsing is currently left out.
Pin Document Templates to the Taskbar
Reader Stephen showed us how to pin Outlook templates to the taskbar for quick access when emailing the same thing over and over, but the same technique works for just about any application—you can create a template document in your favourite application, and then simply drag it to the taskbar button to pin it to the Jump List. Then, the next time you need to use the template you can simply right-click on the taskbar button to open it up. It's a huge time-saver, especially if your job involves a lot of repetitive tasks.
Pin Applications To the JumpList
You can't, by default, pin applications to a Jump List—that's what the start menu is designed for—but with an add-on application called JumpList Launcher, you can do just that. Simply pin the launcher to your taskbar, and then use the settings to add all of your favourite applications. You can create separate groups, and consolidate many of your taskbar launcher buttons to save space when you want quick access to an application, but don't necessarily want it taking up space on your taskbar. If the JumpList Launcher doesn't do it for you, you should take a look at how StandaloneStack can do application launching and file browsing right from your taskbar.
Pin Folders and Searches To the Taskbar
Perhaps the biggest time-saver for me is the ability to pin your most frequently used folders to the taskbar, but most people don't realise you can actually pin a search as well. Simply open up the Windows 7 search, put in your search criteria, and then drag the icon from the location bar down to the Windows Explorer taskbar button to pin the search there. I've got a habit of losing that file I was just working on, so I've created a search that finds recently modified files and pinned it to the start menu — this way I never completely lose that document again.
Have you also taken a shine to the Jump List feature? Tell us in the comments how you've put it to good use.
The How-To Geek is wearing out the right mouse button ever since he switched to Windows 7.