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The Incredible Floating Task Pane

Friday, August 10th, 2007 by | Filed Under: MS Office Help

The Incredible Floating Task Pane

Okay, so maybe not incredible, but if you’re someone who likes to use the task pane, you may think it’s at least a “pretty neat” little feature.

Whatever your choice of descriptive words for the task pane, it’s probably a good idea to be informed about your options. One of these options is the ability to move it around the program window.

When it first opens, it’s docked on the right hand side of the screen.

The thing is, it does take up quite a bit of space and for some people, that’s just not acceptable!

What to do? What to do?

You could choose to lose the task pane altogether, but then you also lose its useful attributes.

So, let’s explore a couple of different options.

One thing you could do is “float” the task pane over the program window (instead of in the docked position). Once it’s floating, you can use your mouse and the task pane edge to resize it to meet your needs, just like with any other window.

How can you make it float, you ask?

Well, it’s unbelievably easy! Simply go to the title bar of the task pane and double click.

Immediately, the task pane undocks from the program window, it resizes itself a bit and then “floats” over the file.

Now, it’s just a matter of resizing and relocating the task pane to meet your needs!

Don’t worry too much if you choose to make the task pane shorter. You’ll be happy to know that it immediately adds arrows for super quick scrolling up and down through the choices.

Simply place your mouse pointer over the arrow you need and you’ll find that the task pane begins to scroll without so much as a click.

Feel free to relocate the task pane anywhere in the window that suits your needs as well, but remember, should you move it too close to either the right or left side, it will redock itself. (You could also redock the task pane by double clicking on the title bar again. That way, it will return to the size and position it had when it was last docked).

Now, is there a way to save some space if you prefer a docked task pane?

Why, yes! (Of course, why else would I bring it up?!)

The MS Office Suite allows you to narrow the task pane by simply running your mouse pointer slowly over the edge of the task pane connected to the file working area. When you get a double sided arrow, click-hold-and-drag the edge of the task pane to make it either more narrow or wider.

So, maybe that task pane isn’t such a “pain” after all, huh?! If I can size and locate it how I need it to be, I just might find it to be beneficial.

Oh yeah, one more thing. For anyone who may wonder, the task pane remembers where it was and it will be exactly where you left it the next time you open the program.

I love it when things stay where I put them!

~ April

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