How to create virtual desktops with Windows 11

Virtual desktops are nothing new to Windows. In Windows 10, it was simple to create a separate desktop so that, for example, you could have a desktop for one project and a second for another, or one for your work and a second for your personal apps.

However, in Windows 11 there was an upgrade. Now you can also have a different wallpaper for each desktop, making it easier to distinguish from each other (and give you a different vibe depending on how you use it). And there are a number of other features that make using virtual desktops easy and efficient. Note that some of these were introduced in Windows 10, but together with new features in Windows 11, they make for a handy toolkit.

Create a virtual office

To create a new virtual office:

  • Hover over or click on the “Task View” icon in your taskbar (this is the one that looks like a square superimposed on another).
  • Click on the “New office” thumbnail.

After clicking on the “Task View” icon, you can create a new desktop.

You can also use the key combination Win + Ctrl + D; in this case, you will immediately find yourself in your new office.

You can now place different applications on your separate desktops. Switch between desktops by clicking on the “Task view” icon. (You can also move around using the familiar Alt-Tab key combination, which will take you to all apps on one desktop, and then to apps on the next.)

To delete an office:

  • Hover over or click on the “Task View” icon.
  • Hover over the virtual desktop you want to remove and click the “X” in the upper right corner.

Customize your desks

With Windows 11, you can now customize your desktops, making it easier to dedicate them to a separate function. There are several ways to do this.

Choose a different wallpaper

You can have a different background for each virtual desktop. It’s quite simple:

  • Click on the “Task View” icon in the task bar.
  • Right click on the desktop you want to edit.
  • Click on “Choose background”.

After clicking the “Task View” icon in the taskbar, right-click on a desktop thumbnail to change its background.

After clicking the “Task View” icon in the taskbar, right-click on a desktop thumbnail to change its background.

This will take you to the Personalization> Background page, where you can choose an image for your background, a solid color, or run a slideshow. You can then browse your photos to choose which image or images to use and decide what type of adjustment you want for your image (for example, you can mosaic or stretch the image).

The Background page allows you to use a predefined background image or upload your own.

The Background page allows you to use a predefined background image or upload your own.

Name your office

Your desks will automatically be given the rather boring titles of “Office 1”, “Office 2”, etc. You can change this easily by giving each office a name.

  • Click or hover over the “Task View” icon.
  • Click on the name of the desktop you want to change.
  • Type the new name.

After selecting the “Task View” icon, you can change the name of your desktops.

Reorganize your offices

You may want to change the order of the desktops to make it easier to remember which one to use and when. It is also very simple.

  • Click or hover over the “Task View” icon.
  • Click and hold on the desktop you want to move and drag it to its new position.

Change the order of your desks by clicking and dragging.

Change the order of your desks by clicking and dragging.

Use the same app on different desktops

If you’re already using an app on one desktop and opening it on another, you’ll be using a different version of that app. For example, you can use Chrome to check Twitter on one desktop and search on another. (Be aware that some apps may not yet work this way – for example, when I tried to open Notion on a second desktop, my computer jumped to the desktop where it was already open.)

While this is convenient, you might want to run the same application with the same data on both or all of your desktops. (Note: This isn’t new to Windows 11, but it’s good to know.) To do this:

  • Click on the “Task View” icon.
  • Right click on the app you want to use on the other desktop.
  • Select “Show this window on all desktops” if you want to duplicate a single window from this application.
  • Select “Show windows of this application on all desktops” if you want to duplicate a window that you use in this application.

Use “Show this window on all desktops” to use the same application and content on your other desktops.