By default, the taskbar on Windows 10 is a little transparent and changes with the color that you select. It already looks pretty slick, but you can achieve an even cooler effect by increasing its transparency. Sadly, there is no built-in way to make your taskbar completely transparent.
The built-in way
Windows 10 does include an option to add or remove taskbar transparency, but the effect is almost unnoticeable. Here’s a quick guide to disable (or enable) the default transparency setting for the taskbar (and a couple of other elements):
- Press Windows key + R to open up a Run box. Then, type or paste “ms-settings:personalization” and hit Enter to open the Personalization menu.
- In the Personalization menu, select Colors from the menu on the left-hand side.
- In the Colors menu, scroll down to the More options menu and enable the toggle associated with Transparency effects.
As you can see, this built-in option only adds a slight degree of transparency which is unfortunate since a lot of users are left looking for a full transparency effect. Depending on the image that you’re using as a background, the difference might not even be noticeable.
If you’re looking for a way to make your taskbar transparent or translucent, you’ll be pleased to hear that there’s a number of third-party tools and registry hacks that will help you achieve this effect. Sure, every method involves a certain degree of tweaking, but it’s nothing too technical.
Keep in mind that whatever method you end up using, it’s important to set a background image that actually allows you to spot the differences. Setting images that are mostly composed of bright pictures are usually better.
Note: Since all the workarounds featured below are using different approaches, the visual effect might differ from method to method. Feel free to try them all for yourself or check out the screenshots taken by us in order to decide which method is closer to what you have in mind.
Method 1: Enhancing the taskbar transparency with a registry hack
This method involves using Registry Editor to change the value of UseOLEDTaskbarTransparency. As opposed to the built-in way to achieve taskbar transparency, this hidden option will make the effect a lot more obvious. It’s still not total transparency, but it’s certainly better than the built-in option – which sparks questions on why this option wasn’t implemented in the Settings interface.
Here’s a quick guide to enhancing the taskbar transparency via Registry Editor:
- Press Windows key + R to open up a Run box. Then, type “regedit” and hit Enter to open Registry Editor.
- In Registry Editor, use the left-hand side pane to navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Explorer \ Advanced.
- With the Advanced folder selected, right-click on the right- hand side panel and choose New > DWORD (32-bit) Value and name the newly created entry UseOLEDTaskbarTransparency.
- Double-click on UseOLEDTaskbarTransparency, set the Base to Hexadecimal and the Value Data to 1.
- After you hit OK, you can safely close Registry Editor.
- The changes aren’t visible just yet. To complete the process we’ll need to change some settings in the Personalize menu. To do this, open a Run box (Windows key + R), type “ms-settings:personalization” and hit Enter.
- In the Personalization menu, select Colors from the left-hand menu, scroll down to More Options, enable Transparency effects and make sure that the boxes associated with Start, taskbar, and action center and Title bars are also checked.
Note: If the options are already enabled, disable and re-enable them again.
- Finally, reboot your device to see the changes. As you can see, the transparency is a little higher, but some people might still consider this effect insufficient.
If you want even more transparency, move down to Method 2 or Method 3.
Method 2: Making the taskbar fully transparent using TranslucentTB
TranslucentTB is an user-developed tool that can be used to transform your taskbar into a totally transparent (or translucent) bar. Aside from Windows 10, this tool will also work with Windows 8 and Windows 7.
Note: Keep in mind that while we tested the tool yourself and found no issues with it, indie third-party tools like these are not properly tested and might not work properly on every build.
Here’s a quick guide to using TranslucentTB to make your taskbar fully transparent:
- Visit this link (here) and download the TranslucentTB zip file. Once the archive has been downloaded successfully, use an extraction tool like WinZip or WinRar to extract its contents somewhere convenable.
- Navigate to the location where you extracted the contents of the archive and double click on TranslucentTB.exe. Immediately after you open it, you should notice that your taskbar has hanged to a translucent state.
- The default state is translucent, but you can change it to a totally translucent state by going into your notification tray and right-clicking on the TranslucentTB icon. If you set it to clear, it will transform your taskbar into a totally transparent one.
Note: Keep in mind that if you leave it like this, you’ll have to open TranslucentTB everytime you start your computer in order to achieve a transparent or translucent effect. If you want the aesthetic change to become permanent, right-click on the TranslucentTB in the notification tray and click on Open at Boot.
If you’re looking for a different option to make your taskbar transparent or translucent, move down to Method 3.
Method 3: Making the taskbar fully transparent with TaskbarTools
TaskbarTools is yet another user-developed tool that has surfaced on Reddit. Even if it’s heavily inspired by TranslucentTB, this application is written in C# and does a few things even better.
Here’s a quick guide to using TaskbarTools to make your taskbar transparent or translucent:
- Visit this link (here) and download the ZIP archive associated with the latest released version.
- Use WinZip, WinRar or a similar decompression tool to extract the contents of the archive in an accessible folder.
- Navigate to the location of the extracted TaskbarTool files and double-click on taskbartool.exe.
- After a short waiting period, you should see a window pop-up associated with Taskbar Tools. You can then begin playing with the different accent states and see which option is closer to what you have in mind. You can combine the Accent State with different Gradient Colors to create some pretty interesting effects.
Note: If you like the functionality of TaskbarTools and would like your settings to remain saved, hit the Options button and make sure that the checkboxes associated with Start Minimized, Apply Settings When Started and Start with Windows are enabled.