Windows 10 Multiple Desktop Keyboard Shortcuts

While many of you are probably exclusively Mac users, there are many of us on the Windows platform.  If you’ve made the jump to Windows 10, and haven’t yet explored the multiple desktops feature, I recommend you do so.

Multiple desktops are great for staying organized when you’re juggling a lot of projects.  I can have one for all my email and social media windows, another for Lightroom and image processing, and yet another for InDesign and Bridge where I’m working on an album design.

To access the multiple displays interface, simply click the icon on your taskbar that looks like three overlapped rectangles:win-10-multiple-desktop-interface-icon

You’ll see something similar to this:

Windows 10's multiple desktops interface.

If you’re a keyboard user, you can access this same interface by clicking Win + Tab.

Notice the “+ New Desktop” option in the lower right.  You can click this to make a new desktop, or you can select from the existing desktops across the bottom.

There are a few other useful keyboard shortcuts.  If you’d like to make a new desktop and go directly to it without using this interface, press Win+Ctrl+D.  If you’d like to switch to the next desktop to the left, click Win+Ctrl+Left Arrow.  You can also do the same with the right arrow.  To remove / close the desktop you’re currently in, press Win+Ctrl+F4.

So how does Windows handle applications across multiple desktops?  Windows 10 shows an underline under the task bar icon of applications that are running.  If you have Photoshop open on Desktop 1, then it will not appear open on Desktop 2.  However if you try to launch it from Desktop 2, rather than spawning a second Photoshop, it simply auto-switches you to Desktop 1 where it’s already running.

If you try to close a desktop that has an application running (say Adobe Bridge, for example,) then Bridge simply gets relocated to the next open desktop.

While working on this article, I noticed another interesting behavior.  I have Skype running on Desktop 1.  On Desktop 2, Skype does not appear to be running.  However when Skype generated an alert from someone leaving a text message in one of my channels, suddenly Skype did appear to be running on Desktop 2 with it’s alert visible.   The application did not suddenly appear on Desktop 2, but the icon and alert became visible on the task bar, where they had not been before.  Clicking the Skype icon on the task bar on Desktop 2 then took me back to Desktop 1.

Have you explored multiple desktops yet?  Do you find them useful?  Comment below!

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