Save and Load programs and layouts with a single hotkey with TaskLayout

TaskLayout is a program for Windows that enables you to save and load programs and their layout on the screen with a single hotkey.

I use several applications whenever I research and write articles for Ghacks. I run Firefox and Chrome, the password manager KeePass, the screenshot taking tool SnagIt and Mozilla Thunderbird.

Until now I have loaded all of these programs individually which worked well but was somewhat repetitive.

With TaskLayout installed and configured, I can open them with a single hotkey exactly the way I want them to on the Windows system saving me quite some time in the process.

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TaskLayout in detail


TaskLayout is a portable program that you can run from any location on your device once you have downloaded it and extracted the contents of its archive.

It loads an icon to the system tray by default which opens the Layout editor on double-click or by using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-Alt-L.

Here you find listed all programs that are currently loaded on the system. It is a good idea to load all programs that you want to add to the layout file and hit refresh afterwards to make them appear.

Apart from selecting programs in the main window, you may use the add button to add programs to the layout file that are not loaded.

The add dialog offers plenty of options including setting window state, position and width and height of the program.

Before you hit okay to save the layout, you may want to adjust window positions and states first as TaskLayout will restore the exact layout once you invoke its functionality.

The last step is to set a “restore layout hotkey” shortcut in the interface which you use to restore the layout. You may also set a close layout hotkey which can be useful if you only use the programs for a given task but not afterwards, or to set the layout to be refreshed in specific intervals (hours, minutes or even seconds).

TaskLayout starts programs one after the other based on the selection in the Layout editor. You can move app positions to prioritize the start of programs, or disable synchronous loading to load all programs at once.

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The free version of TaskLayout has three severe limitations.

  1. A layout file cannot be run on Windows start.
  2. It is not possible to open layout files that you have saved previously by double-clicking on them.
  3. Whenever you load TaskLayout it does not display the most recent layout file.

The paid version is available for a one-time lifetime license for $49.95.

Closing Words

You can still invoke the hotkeys that you have set up previously though to load layouts this way. All that is needed for that is to launch TaskLayout first, for instance by auto-starting the program with Windows or launching it manually instead.

The program can be quite useful if you need to load a set of programs regularly and want them to be loaded based on specifications such as window positions and sizes.


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About Martin Brinkmann

Martin Brinkmann is a journalist from Germany who founded Ghacks Technology News Back in 2005. He is passionate about all things tech and knows the Internet and computers like the back of his hand. You can follow Martin on Facebook, Twitter or Google+

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