How to use virtual desktops in Windows 10 for enhanced productivity

Posted in:

Sometimes when you’re busy at work, school, or even play, an extra desktop might come in handy to separate the things that you’re doing on your screen. Thankfully, Windows 10 has a virtual desktop feature that lets you accomplish just this. What follows is a step by step guide on how to use virtual desktops on your Windows 10 machine for enhanced productivity.

Step One: Go to the Windows 10 taskbar

To create a new virtual desktop, you will first need click on the Task View icon on the taskbar (as seen below.) Next, with the task view interface now open, you should then click the area that says “+ New Desktop” in the lower right-hand corner of the screen (also seen below).

Opening a new virtual desktop
Opening a new virtual desktop

Step Two: Know your shortcuts

Now that you’ve got a new virtual desktop open, you can begin working from within the new space and speed up the process by learning some new shortcuts.

  • If you would like to go back to task view to see your open apps and desktops, all you need to do is press the Windows key and Tab.
  • If you hit the Windows key and Ctrl and D, you can open up a new virtual desktop.
  • To close the current desktop you’re on, you can press the Windows key and Ctrl and F4.
  • To shift between open virtual desktops, you can press Windows logo key and Ctrl and the left or right arrow keys.
Your keyboard is home to a lot of shortcuts
Your keyboard is home to a lot of shortcuts

Step Three: Be careful!

Having virtual desktops is great, but you should be aware of the keys you are pressing while using these shortcuts. While you’re navigating your open virtual desktops, you should remember to press Ctrl and Windows key and the arrow keys and NOT Ctrl and Alt and the arrows key. Doing so may flip the orientation of your display, which can prove to be very annoying.

Step Four: Customize your settings

Windows 10 will automatically show you only the active programs and windows for a particular virtual desktop that is currently open. If want to know what programs you have open regardless of which of the virtual desktop you’re on, you change this by going to the system settings. You can do this by,

  1. Opening the Settings app in the Start menu
  2. Go to System
  3. Go to Multitasking
  4. Go to Virtual desktops
Customizing virtual desktop settings
Customizing virtual desktop settings

So, that’s all it takes to create and use virtual desktops within Windows 10! You can organize them by task for even more productivity, such as keeping all of your streaming video apps in one virtual desktop, your current work in another, and your information sources (e.g., browsers, RSS readers, etc.) in another. Virtual desktops can help you keep everything organized and separate and thus easier to manage as you get things done throughout the day.

Have you ever used this feature? Let us know your thoughts by dropping us a comment below!

< Previous

Microsoft releases Starbucks for Outlook add-in, $5 eGift Card for sharing via Outlook

Microsoft details using the desktop app converter to move desktop apps to Windows 10 UWP

Next >