Wed. Nov 29th, 2023

Key Takeaways

  • Easily switch between virtual desktops in Windows 10 using keyboard shortcuts like Windows+Ctrl+Left Arrow or Windows+Ctrl+Right Arrow.
  • Use the Windows+Tab shortcut to quickly view and navigate between available virtual desktops using the arrow keys and Enter key.
  • Enable four-fingered touchpad gestures in Windows 10 settings to swipe up for Task View, left or right to switch between virtual desktops, and down to show the current desktop.

Virtual desktops are a handy way to juggle multiple workspaces in Windows 10. There are several ways to quickly switch between virtual desktops, including several lesser-known keyboard shortcuts — we’ll cover them all below.

Keyboard Shortcuts to Switch Desktops

To quickly switch between multiple desktops in Windows 10 with a keyboard shortcut, press Windows+Ctrl+Left Arrow to switch to a lower-numbered desktop or Windows+Ctrl+Right Arrow for a higher-numbered one. If there’s a virtual desktop established in the “direction” in which you specify with the arrow keys, the workspace will switch instantly to it.

Virtual desktops shown side by side.

To quickly see the virtual desktops you have available, press Windows+Tab. You’ll then see a screen called “Task View,” which lists the available virtual desktops with thumbnails of each.

Multiple desktops shown at the top.

To use your keyboard to switch between virtual desktops on this screen, press Tab until one of the thumbnails in the top row is highlighted. Then, navigate between them by pressing the arrow keys, followed by Enter. Task View will close, and you’ll see the desktop you chose.

Blender open on one desktop

If you want to add a new virtual desktop via the keyboard, press Windows+Ctrl+D, or just press Windows+Tab to open Task View again. Using Tab and the arrow keys, select “New Desktop,” and then press Enter.

Click the

A new virtual desktop will appear. When you’re done managing your desktops, select one and press Enter, or just hit Escape to return to your desktop.

Using the Taskbar to Switch Between Multiple Desktops

If you’d like to quickly switch between virtual desktops via the taskbar, click the Task View button, or press Windows+Tab.

The Task View button on the Windows 10 taskbar.

Next, click or tap the desktop to which you want to switch.

Multiple desktops on Windows 10.

If you don’t see the Task View button on the taskbar, right-click the taskbar, and then click “Show Task View Button”; it should now have a checkmark next to it.

Right-click the taskbar, then select

Once it’s visible, you can click “Task View” at any time to manage your virtual desktops, which definitely comes in handy!

Trackpad Shortcuts to Switch Between Virtual Desktops

By default, Windows 10 reserves several four-fingered touchpad gestures for switching between virtual desktops. To use them, place four fingers on your trackpad at the same time and swipe them in a specific direction. Here’s what they do:

  • Four-fingered swipe up: Open Task View (same as pressing Windows+Tab).
  • Four-fingered swipe left: Switch to a lower-numbered virtual desktop.
  • Four-fingered swipe right: Switch to a higher-numbered virtual desktop.
  • Four-fingered swipe down: Show the current desktop.

If these gestures don’t work, you may have them disabled in Settings. To enable them, click on the Windows button on the taskbar and then select the Gear icon to open the “Settings” menu. Next, navigate to Devices > Touchpad. Scroll down until you see options for “Four-Fingered Gestures.”

In the “Swipes” drop-down menu, select “Switch desktops and show desktop.”

Four-Fingered TouchPad Gestures in Windows 10 that switch Virtual Desktops

Alternatively, you can also assign these functions to three-fingered gestures on the same Touchpad settings screen.

After that, close the Settings window. If your device supports multi-touch trackpad gestures, you can now use these swipe gestures to control virtual desktops.

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By John P.

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