How to Use Windows 11 Widgets on Your Desktop

How to Use Windows 11 Widgets on Your Desktop


Widgets are a new feature in Windows 11 that allow you to view information from various apps at a glance. They sit on the side of your desktop and cycle through things like news, weather, your calendar, photos, and more. Widgets help keep you informed without having to open a bunch of different apps.

In this guide, I will walk you through everything you need to know to use widgets on your Windows 11 desktop, including how to add them, customize them, and manage them.

Enabling and Accessing Widgets

Widgets are enabled by default in Windows 11, but you may need to turn them on if they are not already visible.

How to Enable Widgets

  1. Open the Start Menu and click on the Settings icon to open Windows Settings.

  2. Click on Personalization in the left sidebar.

  3. Under the Personalization header, toggle Widgets to the On position.

Once widgets are enabled, you can access them by clicking the widget icon on the taskbar, or by pressing the Windows key + W shortcut on your keyboard. The widget panel will then slide out from the left side of your screen.

Customizing Where Widgets Appear

By default, the widget panel appears on the left side when opened. However, you can customize this by:

  1. Right clicking an empty area on the taskbar.

  2. Selecting Taskbar settings.

  3. Under the Taskbar behaviors section, use the Widgets dropdown to select whether you want widgets on the left or right side of the screen.

Adding and Removing Widgets

The widget panel comes pre-populated with some default widgets, but you can easily customize what you see.

Adding Widgets

To add a widget:

  • Open the widget panel and click the + icon at the top.
  • This will show you all available widgets that you can add.
  • Click on any widget to add it to your panel.

Some widgets you may want to consider adding include:

  • Calendar – See your schedule.
  • Weather – Check your local weather forecast.
  • Sports – Get live scores for your favorite teams.
  • Photos – Cycle through your photo collection.
  • To Do – Manage your Microsoft To Do tasks.
  • Maps – View nearby traffic and landmarks.

Removing Widgets

If you no longer want a widget:

  • Hover over the widget in the panel and click the X icon that appears in the top right corner.
  • This will remove that widget from your panel.

Customizing and Managing Widgets

Once you’ve added widgets, you can further customize them to display the information you care about and keep them organized.

Resizing Widgets

To resize a widget:

  • Hover your mouse over the bottom edge of the widget until you see the resize icon.
  • Click and drag up or down to adjust the height of the widget.

Making widgets taller allows them to show more information at a time.

Rearranging Widgets

To change the order of widgets in the panel:

  • Click and drag a widget up or down and release it in the position you want.

Place important widgets at the top so you see them first.

Widget Settings

Many widgets have settings you can customize:

  • Hover over a widget and click the Edit button that appears.
  • This will open the settings for that widget.

For example, you can choose:

  • The city to display for the weather widget.
  • The calendar to show in the calendar widget.
  • The news sources to include in the news widget.

Refreshing Widgets

To get the latest information in your widgets, you can refresh them by:

  • Hovering over the widget panel and clicking the Refresh icon at the top.
  • Or clicking the refresh icon on an individual widget.

Refresh periodically to see new headlines, updated weather, calendar changes, etc.

Controlling Widget Permissions

Widgets pull data from different apps and services to populate their information. You can control what widgets have access to by going to:

  1. Settings > Privacy & security > Widgets.
  2. Toggle permissions on or off for each widget.

Turn off widget permissions you don’t feel comfortable granting.


Widgets provide an easy way to get information at a glance right on your Windows desktop. Take advantage of them to view news, weather, reminders, photos and more without having to open extra apps. Customize your widget panel by adding and removing widgets, resizing them, reordering them and refreshing their data. Adjust widget settings and permissions to control what you see. In no time, you’ll have a widget panel tailored to your needs.



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