How to Ungroup and Separate Icon Shortcuts in Windows 11 Taskbar

The Windows 11 taskbar provides quick access to commonly used applications and windows. By default, taskbar buttons for the same application are grouped together. While this saves space, it can make it harder to distinguish between different windows of the same application. Thankfully, Windows 11 includes options to ungroup taskbar buttons.

Why Ungroup Taskbar Icons

Here are some of the benefits of ungrouping taskbar icons in Windows 11:

  • Easily identify different windows of the same application instead of just the app name
  • Rearrange individual windows between groups based on current task instead of by app
  • See window titles to quickly switch between instances of the same app
  • Prevent accidental closing of the wrong window
  • Customize the layout exactly how you want it instead of by app

Enable Taskbar Ungrouping in Windows 11

Follow these steps to ungroup taskbar icons in Windows 11:

  1. Right-click an empty area on the taskbar and select Taskbar Settings
  2. Scroll down and expand Taskbar behaviors
  3. Locate Combine taskbar buttons and change to Never
  4. Click Apply

The taskbar button labels and individual icons should now be visible.

Customize Ungrouped Icons

With the taskbar icons ungrouped, you can now customize the layout exactly how you want:

  • Rearrange icons – Simply drag and drop icons into your preferred position
  • Create groups – Drag one icon over another to group by task
  • Rename icons – Right click the icon > Select Rename to set custom text
  • Adjust spacing – Use a third party tool like Taskbar Groups to add gaps between groups

Fix Issues with Ungrouping

If ungrouping causes display issues or you want to revert the changes:

  • Set Combine taskbar buttons back to Always
  • Right click the taskbar > Select Refresh
  • Sign out and sign back in to your Windows account

Pin New Shortcuts to Taskbar

You may want to add new shortcuts to the customized ungrouped taskbar. To do this:

  1. Locate the application you want to pin
  2. Right click the icon > Select Pin to taskbar
  3. Drag and drop the pinned icon into your preferred position

The shortcut will now always be visible on your taskbar for easy access.

Additional Customization Options

For further customization of the Windows 11 taskbar, you can tweak additional settings:

  • Show desktop button
  • Notification area icons
  • Date/time formatting
  • Taskbar appearance
  • Auto-hide behavior

Third party tools like StartAllBack, StartIsBack, and ExplorerPatcher also provide enhanced taskbar customization options beyond what Windows 11 natively allows.


Ungrouping application icons on the Windows 11 taskbar helps distinguish between windows and customize exactly how you want it laid out. Enable the uncombine taskbar buttons option, rearrange icons to suit your workflow, pin new shortcuts, and utilize both built-in and third-party settings for optimal taskbar personalization. With these tips, you can tune the Windows 11 taskbar to best fit your usage needs.