We all get sidetracked from time to time. Either through the power of eye-catching advertising or a promo email from your favorite retailer. Using virtual desktop in Windows 10 allows you to expand your desktop beyond the physical limitations of the space, organize groups of related tasks, and easily switch between them. Tackling what you want to—when you want to—just got a whole lot easier.

Where to find virtual desktop in Windows 10?

Select the Task View (formerly known as Timeline View) icon directly to the right of the Windows Search box.

Screenshot of Task View in Windows 10

+ New desktop will appear in the upper left-hand corner of your screen.

Screenshot of New desktop in Windows 10

Under + New desktop you’ll see all your open applications or windows as well as your Timeline (a history of your recently opened projects).

Screenshot of Timeline in Windows 10

Multiple desktops at your fingertips

Each virtual desktop you create allows you to open different programs. Windows 10 allows you to create an unlimited number of desktops so you can keep track of each one in detail. Each time you create a new desktop, you’ll see a thumbnail of it at the top of your screen in Task View. Select any of your virtual desktops to open it, or skip between desktops by using the keyboard shortcuts, which we’ll discuss later in this article.

Screenshot of multiple desktops in Windows 10

Add or delete a virtual desktop

Select Task View on your taskbar then + New desktop icon in the upper left-hand corner of the screen to initiate a new desktop. See which applications and pages it has open along with its timeline by hovering over it. Use the X at the top of each virtual desktop to delete it when you’re done using it. Any applications that you had open on a virtual desktop that you delete will automatically be moved to your main desktop. To avoid this, make sure to close any open applications associated with a virtual desktop before closing out of the virtual desktop itself.

Screenshot of adding and deleting a  virtual desktop in Windows 10

Customizing multiple desktops in Windows

Right-click on any open window to manage the view of your virtual desktop.

Screenshot of customizing multiple desktops in Windows

Use the snap options to affix a desktop to the right- or left-hand side of your screen. 

Explore other options on this menu:

  • Move to: Moves the selected application to the desktop selected from the menu
  • Show this window on all desktops
  • Show windows from this app on all desktops
  • Close: Closes the page on a selected desktop

Virtual desktop keyboard shortcuts

Open Task View and move back and forth between multiple desktops using keyboard shortcuts. Here are some of the most popular keyboard shortcuts:

  • Windows key + Tab: opens Task View.
  • Alt + Tab: shows all the current applications opened individually. Clicking Tab while holding Alt allows you to move between them.
  • Windows key + Ctrl + Left or Windows key + Ctrl + Right allows you to move quickly between multiple desktops.
  • Windows key + Ctrl + D then click + New desktop: to create a new virtual desktop without using the Task View.
  • Windows key + Tab: allows you to return to Task View.

Multitasking

There are two general settings for virtual desktop in Windows. Press Windows key + I to open Settings. Go to Systems, select Multitasking, then scroll down to Virtual desktops.

Screenshot of multitasking with virtual desktops

Both are automatically defaulted to Only the desktop I’m using but, depending on your preference, you can set each to show on all desktops.

That’s it! Cut down on wasted time and focus like a laser beam when you divide and conquer using virtual desktop on Windows 10.