The Windows 10 Taskbar is highly configurable, offering personalization options that include making it transparent. But there is a trick or two out there that enable you to give the Taskbar an even higher level of transparency.
This allows you to create a futuristic look where only the icons show up against your wallpaper.
Let’s find out what options you have to make you Taskbar highly translucent, or completely transparent in different versions of the operating system, including Windows 10.
How to Make Your Taskbar Transparent
By default, if you enable transparency using the built-in settings in the OS, Windows 10 will give the Taskbar a small amount, and change it with the color that you select. It looks pretty slick as it is, but there are a few different ways to achieve even cooler effects.
Sadly, no settings are provided out the box to make your Taskbar completely transparent. But luckily, a couple of excellent programs are available that let you go the distance here.
We’ll learn how to change the various levels of transparency for your Taskbar in Window:
- Set Taskbar transparency via Settings
- Add more transparency to the Taskbar using the Registry
- Make your Taskbar completely transparent with TranslucentTB
- Use TaskbarTool to make the Taskbar fully transparent
Although Windows offers a built-in option to make the Taskbar transparent, it is possible to improve the level of translucency using a quick Registry edit. Better yet, a couple of free, lightweight programs are also available that can blur your Taskbar, give it a Fluent Design feel, even tint it.
Time to check out all our options.
Set Taskbar transparency via Settings
Your first destination, if you want to add transparency to your Taskbar, is the settings panel. Microsoft has added an option in the Settings app to make the Taskbar transparent, though the effect itself is almost unnoticeable.
We’ll change the transparency options using Settings, in a new way using the Run box to directly get to the Personalization section of the panel.
- Press the Windows + R keys to open the Run box.
- Here, type or paste ms-settings:personalization and hit Enter.
- The Personalization menu will open.
- Select Colors from the panel on the left-hand side.
- Scroll down to where it says Transparency effects, and toggle on the switch alongside it.
- When on, the Taskbar is see-through. When off, it will be opaque.
This is how you can enable or disable the default transparency setting for the Taskbar, as well as a couple other elements of the operating system.
But as mentioned above, this method only adds a slight degree of transparency . In fact, the difference may not even be noticeable, depending on the image that you are using as your background. Unfortunate, as most users are looking for a full transparency effect.
Luckily, a registry hack does the trick.
Add more transparency to the Taskbar using the Registry
You can also achieve a more translucent effect by tinkering with the Registry in the OS. This option will make the effect a lot more obvious, a definite improvement over the option available in the Settings app. That said, it will still not be total transparency.
If this is your first time editing the Registry, be sure not to change any other settings or values within the Registry Editor, as that can mess up your Windows installation.
- Hit Start, type Registry Editor and open it.
- If the UAC asks for permission, select yes to allow.
- The Registry Editor will now open, with two segments. A sidebar on the left, and the main window on the right.
- Navigate to the following registry key using the panel on the right:
- Right-click to create a new DWORD (32-bit) Value, and you will see a new, unnamed entry appear in the Advanced subkey.
- Rename it UseOLEDTaskbarTransparency, capital letters and all.
- Now, double-click it to open its properties page.
- In the Value data box, change the value to 1, and click OK.
That’s it, you can now close the Registry Editor.
To have the changes take effect, you can either restart your computer, or open up the Colors tab on your Personalization settings pane. You will see a few new options here.
- Automatically pick accent color from my background
- Show color on Start, taskbar, action center, and title bar
- Make Start, taskbar and action center transparent
Toggle all three off and back on, and the high transparency setting that you have configured in the Registry will be activated. The effect will be more noticeable on certain styles of wallpapers, so you might want to experiment with your background images and choose ones that work best.
To turn it back off, simply set the UseOLEDTaskbarTransparency value to 0, or delete it altogether, and then force the change using the above toggles in the Settings again, or restarting Windows.
This registry edit still does not achieve full Taskbar transparency, but it nevertheless is a super tweak that most users will like. Makes one wonder why Microsoft has not added this option by default in Settings, but at least the registry modification is easy enough.
To achieve 100% Taskbar transparency, though, you have choices of a couple of neat little programs.
Make your Taskbar completely transparent with TranslucentTB
Time to turn to the community for a little help. TranslucentTB is tool developed by a Reddit user that can transform your Taskbar into a totally transparent bar. It works perfectly fine on all versions of Windows 10, as well as Windows 8 and Windows 7.
Here’s a quick guide to make your Taskbar fully transparent using TranslucentTB.
- Download the TranslucentTB executable file from the link above, and save it on your system.
- Navigate to the location where you placed the downloaded file, and double-click on the TranslucentTB-setup.exe file to install the program.
- Once installed, open it from the Start Menu, and you will see a message, and an icon in the system tray.
- The default state is translucent, but you can change it to a totally transparency state by going into your notification tray and right-clicking on its icon. Setting it to Clear will transform your Taskbar into a totally transparent one.
- Leaving the options like this will have you open TranslucentTB every time you start your computer in order to achieve this aesthetic effect. If you want the change to become permanent, right-click on TranslucentTB in the notification tray and click on the Open at Boot option to have it on all the time.
Earlier version of the program only gave you a translucent Taskbar, but the latest version comes with a ton of different visual customization options.
Out of these two programs, TranslucentTB is by far the most approachable, both in terms of usability and feature set. Though it could still use some user interface improvements, the developer has done a good job enhancing the UI with each subsequent release.
If you’d like to use a different yet similar tool, then you have another option available.
Use TaskbarTool to make the Taskbar fully transparent
TaskbarTool is another handy tool developed by a Reddit user that makes the Taskbar fully transparent. This is a program written in C#, and can not only set the Taskbar to have completely transparency, but also add blur, and set colors. You can even make it look like that popular Windows 7 Glass effect.
Usage of TaskbarTool is straightforward and simple.
- Download the TaskbarTool ZIP file for the latest version from GitHub.
- Use a decompression tool like WinZip or WinRAR to extract the content of the archive in an accessible location, like on the desktop.
- Navigate to that folder and double-click on exe.
- After a short waiting period, the program will open, and you will see a small window popup that allows you to experiment with and change a few options.
- Pay around with the different options to land on something closer to what you have in mind. You can combine Accent State with different Gradient Colors to create all kinds of interesting effects.
- If you like the functionality, and want to finalize your settings, save them by hitting the Options button, and then ensuring that the checkboxes associated with Start Minimized, Apply Settings When Started, and Start with Windows are enabled.
TaskbarTool may have been heavily inspired by TranslucentTB, but it does offer a unique, simpler way of personalizing your Taskbar.
The only letdown is the UI, which can be as confusing as it can be intimidating at the start. But press a few buttons here and there, and you’ll find your Taskbar changing look and style. Mix and match the effects to your liking.
Both programs continue to evolve, and chances are that future versions may include additional features and better documentation. The author of TranslucentTB, released a new version a few months back in August 2018, with a handful of improvements and fixes.
The Windows Taskbar is fairly easy to customize, either via toggles in Settings, or via a trick in the Registry Editor. However, if you want to truly personalize and get a 100% transparent style, you’ll have to download and install either of the two programs listed above, and nail that perfect look and feel.
Shawn is a WindowsChimp Staff writer, who is a fan of making lists and does the same on this site. He has a Contemporary Writing degree and been in technology niche since last 3 years.