Quick Tip: Add the Flip3D feature to the Windows 7 Taskbar

Using only a simple desktop shortcut, you can add Flip3D functionality to the Windows 7 Taskbar. Mark Kaelin shows you how to make it happen.

Windows Vista had a graphical feature for switching between open applications called Flip3D, which was located on the Taskbar. However, for some reason that feature is absent from the Windows 7 Taskbar. If you like to get it back, all you have to do is create a desktop shortcut with a specific command and pin it to the Taskbar.

Note: Flip3D is still part of the Windows 7 interface via a keyboard shortcut: [Windows key] + [Tab]. But by pinning a shortcut to the Taskbar, you will be able to get the feature with the mouse, which can come in handy if you aren't in a good position to get two hands on the keyboard. This blog post is also available as a TechRepublic Photo Gallery and TechRepublic download.

Create the shortcut

To start, right-click on an empty part of the Windows Desktop and navigate to New | Shortcut, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A

Create a shortcut on the Windows Desktop.
In the location box of the shortcut (Figure B), type in this command:
RunDll32 DwmApi #105

Figure B

Type this command: RunDll32 DwmApi #105.
Click the Next button, give your new shortcut the name Flip3D (Figure C), and click Finish.

Figure C

Name the shortcut Flip3D.
Your new shortcut has a generic icon, so it is a good idea to give it an icon that has some meaning. Right-click the shortcut and navigate to the Properties configuration screen, as shown in Figure D. Click the Change Icon button.

Figure D

Open the Shortcut Properties screen.
On the Change Icon configuration screen (Figure E), browse to the Windows directory and select explorer.exe as your icon source. I used the Flip3D icon, but you can use any icon you wish. After you choose your icon, click OK twice to close the Properties screen.

Figure E

Choose an icon for your Flip3D shortcut.
You should have a shortcut on your Windows Desktop that loads the Flip3D feature. To make the feature more useful, drag the shortcut to the Windows 7 Taskbar and pin it there, as shown in Figure F.

Figure F

Flip3D is a single-click away in Windows 7.

Now, when you click your new Flip3D icon from the Windows Taskbar, your open applications will fly up into a three-dimensional flip book. Using the mouse wheel, you can scroll through them and pick the one you would like to make active.