Right Click on an empty space on the taskbar and select Autohide from the menu that appears. The taskbar will now only appear when you move the mouse cursor to that edge of the screen where the taskbar is hidden.
You can either click on the taskbar and press ALT-F4 or click on the tiny title bar at the top (or left) of the taskbar and select Exit from the menu that appears. The taskbar is now gone until you shut down your computer. When you reboot your computer it will come back.
Right Click on the start button in the bottom left corner of your screen and select Explore from the menu that appears. Go into Programs then Startup. You should find a shortcut to 'Microsoft Office Shortcut Bar'. Once you delete this entry the taskbar will no longer start automatically every time that you boot your computer.
This article written by Stephen Chapman, Felgall Pty Ltd.