Use multiple desktops in Windows 10 to simplify work

Multiple desktops is like having multiple monitors on a single monitor. Windows 10 makes this feature very easy to use. Learn it in 4 minutes.

multiple desktops in Windows 10

The Need

We work on many things at the same time. Mails, spreadsheets, business applications and so on. Moving between applications is difficult and wastes time. To simplify things, we should be able to segregate all related windows (applications) together.

For example, all Mail related windows should not mix up with my business applications. Often we keep many emails open and confuse ourselves.

The solution is to use multiple desktops in Windows 10.

How to create multiple desktops

You already have one desktop. To add another desktop, press the Windows key and Tab key together. This will show all open applications. If all the application do not fit on the screen, up down scroll arrows will be shown at the bottom.

On the bottom right corner it will show a New Desktop ( no 1 in the picture above) button. Now a new desktop is added. At this time, it is empty.

You have two choices. Go to the empty desktop and open whatever applications inside it. Or you can drag (no 2 and 3 above) and drop the existing windows into the new desktop.

That’s it. You can create as many desktops as you need.
Windows Ctrl D is the shortcut

How to switch between desktops?

Windows Key – Tab combination and click on the desired desktop.

Ctrl Windows Right arrow and Ctrl Windows Left arrow

How to use it in practice?

I will tell you how I use it. You can then customize it to your needs. I always have one desktop for Outlook – containing the Inbox, Calendar and Tasks in separate windows.

Another desktop is for blogging activities. This one usually has Open Live Writer (the blogging software that I use), PowerPoint and OneNote containing my blog ideas.

Third desktop is task driven. If I am working on some document, related documents will be opened here. Often, we require multiple related Excel files.

Or if I am working working on video editing I have Camtasia or Adobe Premier, PowerPoint, SoundForge in one separate desktop.

In short, your work load determines the way you use the desktops.

Closing desktops

Closing a desktop does not close the applications contained in it.

The open applications just merge with the first desktop.

DO NOT create too many desktops

Although technically possible, if you create too many desktops, it is as bad as having too many applications (windows) open. Therefore, it defeats the purpose.

Technical notes about multiple desktops

This is not a new concept. Many tools have been there for years. But now that it is in Windows 10, it is easier to use.

It does have some limitations like inability to drag drop between the desktops, custom wallpaper and so on. However, use this feature to segregate your work and it works perfectly.

2 Responses

  1. Nice post and a welcome addition to Win10 , about time, but still prefer multiple monitors to increase my desktop real estate.

    1. Hi Rish Uttam
      Thanks for the feedback.
      Of course, multiple monitors are good. But even if you have multiple monitors, typically it will not exceed 2 monitors. Even in that case, you may have three kinds of work to segregate – which requires virtual desktop monitors.

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