How to use Windows 7 Jump Lists

One of the major improvements in Windows 7 is the Taskbar. It introduces a new approach to using it with more flexibility and power built in while remaining familiar and easy to use. In this article, we take a look at one of the unique benefits of using the improved Taskbar.

What is Jump List?

A Jump List is a contextual menu built into applications pinned on to the Start menu or the Taskbar when you right click on a program or folder or hover a recent item on the Start menu. Jump List functionality varies across programs, some might include standard functionality while others might include unique functionality specific to that application. Common functionality includes recently accessed files, some Jump Lists will include a Task you can actually ‘Jump into’ when you start the program.

How to access a Jump List for a program on the Taskbar?

For this example, I am going to be using Microsoft Word pinned to the Taskbar. Say I have a document I would like to access that I was recently working on? All I need to do is right click the Microsoft Word shortcut and it will display a list of the most recently accessed documents, see below:


Another lovely feature of Jump list items with a program such as Microsoft Word is that when you hover over the item itself, it provides a description of its location.

Windows 7 Quick Tip: How to Show More Recent Documents on a Jump List

How to access a Jump List for a program on the Start Menu?

Again we are going to be using Microsoft Word. In this case, I have Microsoft Word as a recent program item on the Start menu, if I want to access a document, all I have to do is hover its icon and the menu will expand to reveal the most recently accessed documents. See below:


Jump List Unique Functionality

Programs such as Internet Explorer 8 offers unique Jump List capabilities, in addition to accessing my recently visited websites, I can even Start a private mode session which will provide a secure browsing site that does not leave any cached information behind when you end your web browsing session.


Unique Jump List benefits in Internet Explorer

With the recent release of Internet Explorer 9, Microsoft is introducing greater synergy between the desktop and web. One of the great ways of doing that is by building app centric functionality into Internet Explorer 9 ready websites. When You pin a shortcut to one of your favorite websites on the Windows 7 Taskbar, you will be able to access Jump List functionality too. Take a look at just a couple websites that support it:


Windows Live Hotmail and Twitter Jump Lists

How to Pin Hotmail To Your Windows 7 Taskbar

Windows Media Player

Media Player also provides some basic Jump List functionality for accessing recent media such as videos or audio. You can even access your recent Play Lists or your last Play Lists you listened to.


How to Pin an item to your Jump List

You will notice that the Jump List share similar functionality with the ‘Recent Items’ menu. They do, but it’s the personalized experience you are able to have with each application to gain better and quicker access to capabilities built into the program. Another highlight is pinning items to your Jump List. For instance, I work on a lot of drafts in Windows Live Writer that I do not immediately publish. Often times, there is a file in that Jump List I would like to have immediate access to, but the more documents I create, this will push the older documents off the Jump List. A quick work around for that is to Pin the documents I consider my favorites I can always have access to.


To pin a file, just right click the application, hover over the item, and click the thumb tack next to the file name. You will now notice a new category called Pinned with your file listed.


If you would like to remove an unwanted Item on one of your Jump List, just right click it and click ‘Remove from this list’

Power User tips:

You can keep the contents of your Jump List private if you often work with sensitive information, especially on shared or public computers.


To clear lists
  1. Click to open Taskbar and Start Menu Properties. (Or right click on your Taskbar and select properties.)
  2. Click the Start Menu tab.
    • To prevent recently opened programs from appearing in the Start menu, clear the Store and display recently opened programs in the Start menu check box.
    • To clear recently opened files in the Jump Lists on the taskbar and Start menu, clear the Store and display recently opened items in the Start menu and the taskbar check box.
  3. Click OK.

You can also drag files from a Jump List into another program. For example, suppose I am authoring an email message and I would like to attach a document I have listed on my Microsoft Word Jump List?

Jump List attach

To do this, right click the Jump List, select the Item on the Jump List, hold down your left mouse button, then drag and release into the body of the email message.


The document will be automatically attached.

These are some of the powerful ways you can start using Windows 7 efficiently and take advantage of its productive capabilities.

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