Do you make heavy use of the Taskbar in Windows 7 for launching programs? If so, you may find a free application, called 7stacks, useful. It allows you to have stacks of icons on the Windows 7 Taskbar, making the Taskbar more useful as a launcher and less cluttered.
This two-part series of posts shows you how to use 7stacks to create a shortcut to a stack of icons on the desktop and pin that shortcut to the Taskbar.
NOTE: 7stacks also works in Windows XP and Windows Vista, where the stacks are added to the QuickLaunch Toolbar.
Download 7stacks from
To install 7stacks, unzip the .zip you downloaded and double-click on the .exe file.
If the User Account Control dialog box displays, click Yes to continue.
NOTE: You may not see this dialog box, depending on your User Account Control settings. See our post, Windows 7 – How to configure UAC (User Account Control), for more information.
The Welcome screen on the setup wizard displays. Click Next.
Read through the License Agreement and select the I accept the agreement radio button. Click Next.
The Select Destination Location screen displays. If you want to install 7stacks to a different location other than the default location listed in the edit box, use the Browse button to select another location. We accepted the default location. Click Next to continue.
The Select Start Menu Folder screen displays. If you want to add the shortcuts for 7stacks to a different Start menu folder than the default listed in the edit box, use the Browse button. We accepted the default Start menu folder. Click Next to continue.
On the Select Additional Tasks screen, you can select the Create a desktop icon check box to put a shortcut to 7stacks on the desktop. This option is not selected by default. Click Next.
The Ready to Install screen displays with a summary of the settings you selected. If you want to change any of the settings, use the Back button. Otherwise, click Install to continue with the installation.
Once the installation is done, the Completing the 7stacks Setup Wizard screen displays. If you want 7stacks to start as soon as you close the setup wizard, select the Launch 7stacks check box so there is a check mark in it. It should be selected by default. Click Finish to close the setup wizard.
If you chose to add a 7stacks shortcut to the desktop, you will see a shortcut called Create a new 7stack. If you didn’t choose to open 7stacks immediately after closing the setup wizard, double-click the shortcut to open 7stacks now, or use the Start menu shortcut to open it.
Select a Folder for the Stack
The Create a new 7stack dialog box displays. The first step is to specify a folder to use for the stack. The SF button allows you to select predefined Special Folders, such as the Start Menu folder or My Documents. The selected folder can contain any type of files, not just shortcuts or program (.exe) files.
As an example, we will create a stack for the Microsoft Office 2007 suite of programs from the Start menu folder containing the shortcuts. To do this, click the Choose Any Folder button to the right of the Folder to use for stack edit box.
The Browse for Folder dialog box displays. Navigate to the Start menu folder containing the Microsoft Office programs, select it and click OK.
NOTE: The path to the Microsoft Office shortcuts on the Start menu should be something similar to the following path. You can find out the path in Windows 7 by right-clicking on All Programs on the Start menu and selecting Open All Users from the popup menu. From there, you can find the Start menu folder for Microsoft Office.
C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Microsoft Office
Select a Type of Stack
Enter a caption for the shortcut to be created in the Caption edit box. Select the type of stack you want from the Stack Type drop-down list. There are three different types of stacks:
- Vertical Stack displays a stack of icons vertically, with or without a text description next to it.
- Grid displays a grid of icons with or without text. This option, without the text, is useful when displaying a large number of items like document folders.
- Menu displays a cascading menu of items, with a very small icon and a name next to it. Hover over the subfolders to browse inside those folders.
This was the first post in a two-part series about using 7stacks to create stacks of icons on the Taskbar in Windows.
In this post, we covered installing and opening 7stacks, selecting a folder for the stack, and selecting a type of stack.
Stay tuned for Part II where we will cover choosing a custom icon for the stack, changing the icon size and the font size, setting additional options, opening the stack from the shortcut on the desktop, pinning the stack to the Taskbar, and setting 7stacks preferences.
by Lori Kaufman