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How to Use Multiple Desktops on One Screen in Windows 11

The virtual desktop feature in Windows 11 helps you organize and work on different things on one screen.

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Sarah Jacobsson Purewal Freelance Writer
Sarah is a freelance writer and CNET How To blogger. Her main focus is Windows, but she also covers everything from mobile tech to video games to DIY hardware projects. She likes to press buttons and see what happens, so don't let her near any control panels.
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Rae Hodge was a senior editor at CNET. She led CNET's coverage of privacy and cybersecurity tools from July 2019 to January 2023. As a data-driven investigative journalist on the software and services team, she reviewed VPNs, password managers, antivirus software, anti-surveillance methods and ethics in tech. Prior to joining CNET in 2019, Rae spent nearly a decade covering politics and protests for the AP, NPR, the BBC and other local and international outlets.
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Sarah Jacobsson Purewal
Zachary McAuliffe
Rae Hodge
Alison DeNisco Rayome
3 min read
Windows 11 update on a laptop

We'll show you how to use virtual desktops on Windows 11.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Using virtual desktops in Windows 11 can be highly advantageous, particularly for anyone with a single-monitor setup. If you're still working from home due to the pandemic and juggling several different projects on the same computer, multiple desktops can be a life-saver. 

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The Task View pane in Windows 11 allows you to add virtual desktops quickly and easily. You can manage the view of your virtual desktop and move applications to different desktops, show windows on all desktops or close pages on a selected desktop. Here's how to do it. 

How to add a desktop in Windows 11

Multiple desktops open in Windows 11

Different desktops open in Windows 11.

Microsoft

To add a virtual desktop, open up the new Task View pane by clicking the Task View button (two overlapping black and white rectangles) on the taskbar, or by pressing the Windows Key + Tab

If you don't see the Task View button in your taskbar, right click the taskbar and click Taskbar settings. Then go to Task View and toggle the switch to On.

Now, in the Task View pane, click New desktop to add a virtual desktop. The "Add a desktop" button will appear as a gray tile with a plus symbol. Click that tile for your new desktop.

You can also quickly add a desktop without entering the Task View pane by using the keyboard shortcut Windows Key + Ctrl + D.

How to switch between desktops in Windows 11

To switch between virtual desktops, open the Task View pane and click on the desktop you want to switch to. You can also quickly switch desktops without going into the Task View pane by using the keyboard shortcuts Windows Key + Ctrl + Left Arrow or Windows Key + Ctrl + Right Arrow

How to rename desktops in Windows 11

Renaming desktops can help keep your workspace organized. To rename your desktops, open the Task View pane, right-click a desktop and click Rename. Now you can have all your work on one desktop while your music plays on another.

Moving desktops in Windows 11

Renaming and changing desktop backgrounds is easy in Windows 11.

Microsoft

How to change desktop backgrounds in Windows 11

Changing the background of each desktop can help distinguish between workspaces. To do this, open the Task View pane, right-click a desktop and click Choose background

How to move windows between desktops in Windows 11

To move an application from one desktop to another, open the Task View pane and then hover over the desktop containing the application you want to move. The applications on the desktop you're on will pop up. You can click and drag applications from one desktop to another through the Task View pane, or you can right-click an application, click Move to and then click which desktop you want to move the application to.

How to close a desktop in Windows 11

To close a virtual desktop, open up the Task View pane and hover over the desktop you want to close until an X appears in the upper-right corner. Click the X to close the desktop. 

You can also open Task View by clicking Windows Key + Tab. Then, use your arrow keys to select a virtual desktop and clicking the Delete key on the virtual desktop you want to close.

For more on Windows 11, check out how to download Windows 11 for freehow to tell if your computer is compatible with Windows 11 and the best Windows 11 features.