Pin Files and Folders to the Taskbar in Windows 7

How do you keep the files and folders you need within easy reach when using Windows 7? By default, the Recent Documents folder is gone (though you can bring it back from the Start menu Properties dialog box). And I've heard many people complain that you can't pin folders to the taskbar -- you only get one folder there, the generic Windows Explorer.

Yesterday, I told you how to tweak the taskbar with Piles for Windows, a program that puts your new and recently used files in a Jump List on the taskbar. But today I thought it might be a good idea to give a short refresher on how to pin stuff to the taskbar -- which might avoid the need for an add-on like Piles to begin with.

Pinning Programs. To begin with, it's a snap to pin the programs you commonly use to the taskbar. Frequently use Word? Make it stick to the taskbar permanently, so it's always in the same place when you go looking for it. If the program is already running, right-click the taskbar and choose Pin this program to the taskbar. If it's not running, find it in the Start menu, right-click, and choose Pin to Taskbar.

Pinning Files. Any files you have used recently will show up in the program's Jump List. Just right-click the taskbar icon and look in the Recent part of the Jump List. But what if you want to make sure a file appears in the Jump List permanently, whether you use used it recently or not? First, open the file so it appears in the Jump List's Recent section. Then right-click the file and choose Pin to this list. Boom.

Pinning Folders. Folders work a little differently than programs and files, and I think this tends to make people think you can't pin folders to the taskbar. But you can. Just open the folder you want to pin and then back up one level to its parent folder, so you can see the folder icon on your desktop. Drag it to the taskbar -- you should see a tooltip that says Pin to Windows Explorer -- and release. Now, right-click the Windows Explorer folder icon in the taskbar, and you'll see the pinned folder in the Jump List.