Let’s be honest – not everyone can afford a multi-monitor setup. But what if we tell you it’s possible to own an infinite number of desktops without having to spend a single penny?
Well, the exact terminology we are referring to here is ‘virtual desktop’. Basically, this is a unique feature that allows you to create and organize different workspaces for multitasking purposes.
Interestingly, the virtual desktop setting is available on almost every operating system with just variations in their names. If you’re a Mac user, you’ll call it Spaces, and when it comes to Chrome OS, it’s Virtual Desks. Similarly, Windows also support this feature, and it’s called Multiple Desktops, while for Linux users, it’s Workspaces.
How to Create Multiple Virtual Desktops
Whether you’re an office worker or a college student, it’s a bonus point to know about the virtual desktop feature. Undoubtedly, this will come in handy in creating multiple work environments dedicated to specific tasks.
Moreover, keeping one set of applications on one desktop and another set on a different one lets you switch between programs quite easily. This way, all your tasks, as well as the workspace, become much more organized.
So, without further delay, let’s jump into the two easy ways on how to create multiple virtual desktops on Windows 11.
Using Task View
Before moving ahead, we recommend checking the Windows taskbar. Do you see the multiple-screen icon right beside the Instant Search? If not, it’s likely because you haven’t enabled it. So, here’s how you can turn it on:
- First, open the Settings application on your PC using the Windows + I hotkey.
- Now, move to Personalization > Taskbar.
Alternatively, you can right-click on the empty area of the taskbar and choose Taskbar Settings, which will take you to the same window.
- Here, toggle on the Task View option.
Once you’ve enabled Task View, it’s time to create multiple virtual desktops. Kindly follow the below guide on how you can do it the right way:
- Move to the Windows taskbar and hover over the Task View icon. Here, you’ll see just one desktop labeled ‘Desktop 1’.
- Now, select the New Desktop option. This will snap in a new desktop right next to your present desktop.
- Repeat this process to add multiple virtual desktops. Note that each desktop is created to the right adjacent position by default.
Alternatively, you can use the Windows + Tab keys to launch the Task View window. Likewise, you can also swipe up using three fingers on the trackpad to open it. Here, from the bottom of the screen, click on New Desktop.
Directly Using Shortcut Keys
If you’re someone who prefers using shortcuts over every Windows task, you’d be glad to know that there’s a dedicated hotkey for creating a virtual desktop. Well, all you have to press are the Ctrl, Windows, and D keys.
Basically, using this shortcut will create and show the new desktop. Now, you can start a new work while the old tasks keep running on your old desktop.
To create multiple of these, use the same hotkeys, and the newer virtual desktops are added next to the previous one. After that, you can change their position, move apps, or even delete one.
Organize Your Virtual Desktops
Once you’ve created multiple virtual desktops, it’s vital that you manage them. Regarding the same, this section features a detailed guide on switching between desktops, moving files, changing backgrounds, and more. So, without further ado, let’s jump right into them.
Switch Between Multiple Desktops
Just creating multiple virtual desktops isn’t enough. You’ll definitely want to know how to switch between them, which is relatively easy:
- Select or hover over the Task View icon on the taskbar or directly use the Windows + Tab keys to launch the window.
- From the bottom of the screen, select the desktop you wish to switch to.
Alternatively, you can press the shortcut key, Ctrl + Windows + Left/Right arrow, to switch between the multiple desktops. Using the left arrow key will take you to the virtual desktop on the left of the current one. And pressing the right arrow will switch you to the one on the right.
Moreover, you can even allow the open windows from all the desktops on your taskbar. This way, you can easily open an application from the taskbar itself, and the desktop also gets switched. Here’s how you can configure this:
- Open the Settings app and go to System > Multitasking.
- Expand Desktops and look for On the taskbar, show all the open windows option.
- Here, pick On all desktops. Now, the apps opened on all your other desktops will pop up on the taskbar.
- Pick your desired program, and this will also switch the desktop.
Move Apps Between Different Desktops
Indeed, there can be times when you want to use the same program on different desktops. In such a case, you can go through the below steps to learn how to move these apps from one workspace to another:
- Launch the Task View window using Windows + Tab.
- Right-click on the app you wish to switch and select Move to.
- Here, choose the desktop where you want the app to move.
- You may also select New Desktop to create a new virtual desktop, and the program should open here.
Alternatively, you can quickly drag and drop the application to switch between the multiple virtual desktops. For example, if you want to move the program from Desktop 2 to 1, here’s what you’ll need to do:
- Navigate to the Task View window and hover your mouse pointer on Desktop 2.
- Once you see all the apps opened on this virtual desktop, hold on to the desired application.
- Then, carefully move the window to Desktop 1. This will snap the application inside the destination desktop.
Also, you can allow a particular application to remain on all the windows. To do so, simply right-click the app on the Task View window and pick the Show this window on all desktops option.
If you’re constantly using the shortcut key to switch between desktops, you probably want the desktops to stay aligned in the correct position for easy navigation.
For example, if you’re switching from Desktop 1 to Desktop 3 continuously, you’ll have to press the shortcut key twice. Instead, you can swap the position of Desktop 2 and 3, which will help you navigate to the workspace much more quicker:
- Use Windows + Tab to enter the Task View menu.
- Here, right-click on the desktop you want to swap.
- Now, choose Move Left or Move Right. This should change the positions of the two desktops.
Well, this can be time-consuming if you have created many workspaces. So, an alternative technique to swap desktops is to drag and drop:
- In the Task View window, press and hold the desktop you’re trying to locomote.
- Now, drag and place it in the desired position. While doing so, you can notice that the other desktop slides to the left/right.
- Finally, release or drop it, which should snap the desktop in the right place.
Rename Your Virtual Desktop
By default, each workspace is named Desktop 1, Desktop 2, and so on. Indeed, this can be confusing when you have set up a large number of virtual desks.
While Windows 10 didn’t integrate the renaming feature, the latest version (Windows 11) allows you to do so. Kindly follow the below instructions on how to do it:
- In the Task View window, right-click the desktop you wish to rename.
- Here, pick the Rename option.
- Now, input your desired name and hit the Enter key.
Alternatively, you can directly click on the text and activate the edit field. For example, if you’re renaming the first workspace, move your mouse to Desktop 1 and tap on it.
Interestingly, Windows also allows you to change each desktop’s background to provide an aesthetic appearance on each of your workspaces. One way to do this is by moving to each desktop, launching the Display Settings, and setting the desired wallpaper.
However, there’s a much easier process using the Task View window, and below are the required steps for doing just that:
- Right-click on the desktop and pick Choose Background. This will directly take you to Settings > Personalization > Background.
- Expand the Personalize your background option and choose one of the four options (Picture, Solid Color, Slideshow, Windows spotlight).
- Then, select your desired background.
- Now, repeat the process for all the other virtual desktops.
Delete a Virtual Desktop
If you created a whole lot of virtual desktops by mistake or want to reduce the number of workspaces, you might be wondering how to delete one. Please follow the below process to close or remove the desired desktop:
- Firstly, open the Task View window and right-click on the desktop you wish to remove.
- Now, pick the Close option.
Alternatively, you can directly press the close icon to delete the desktop.
Furthermore, there’s also a shortcut key to close the current desktop you’re using. To do so, press Ctrl + Windows + F4 together, which should do the trick.
Note: Deleting a desktop will transfer all its open applications to the workspace on its adjacent left.
Creating multiple virtual desktops lets you organize different projects for different scenarios. Hence, it’s a must-know feature for every Windows user. Below are all the shortcut keys that can come in handy while trying to set up or manage your multiple virtual desktops:
|Windows + Tab||Opens Task View|
|Ctrl + Windows + D||Creates a new virtual desktop|
|Ctrl + Windows + Left Arrow||Switch from the current virtual desktop to its adjacent left|
|Ctrl + Windows + Right Arrow||Switch from the current virtual desktop to its adjacent right|
|Ctrl + Windows + F4||Deletes a virtual desktop|