Sometimes you need to quickly see your desktop in Windows 10, but you don’t want to tediously minimize each open application window or move them around and lose their layout. Fortunately, there are several ways you can quickly see the office and then pick up where you left off. Here’s how.
How to view the desktop using the button on the taskbar
Suppose you are browsing your website casually and multiple windows open like this:
If you want to see something on your desktop quickly without disturbing the layout of your window, click on the very small area to the right of the small vertical line at the far right of the taskbar.
That’s right, this little slice of the taskbar is actually a “Show desktop” button. Once you click on it, your application windows will temporarily disappear and you will see the desktop.
This taskbar button works like a toggle switch. If you click it again, your Windows will reappear where it was before.
Very useful. If you don’t like using this little button, you can create your own “Show Desktop” shortcut that you can place on the Quick launch toolbar or pin it to the taskbar itself. You can also view the desktop using a few other methods, which we’ll cover next.
How to take a look at the desktop using the taskbar
Windows 10 includes a second way to look at the desktop quickly called Aero Peek. To use it, first find the tiny “Show Desktop” button at the far right of the taskbar. It looks like this:
Right click on the “Show desktop” button and a small menu will appear.
This menu has two options. The first one, “Show desktop”, is an action. If you click on it, you will see the desktop as if you had left click on the button. The second option, named “Peek At Desktop”, is a toggle setting. If you click on it, a check mark will appear to its left.
After that, if you place your mouse cursor over the “Show desktop” button, you will see a quick glance at the desktop with approximations of the current application windows that appear as translucent outlines.
When you move your mouse away, your application windows reappear. Once the novelty wears off and you want deactivate Aero Peek, right-click the “Show desktop” button again and uncheck the “Watch desktop” option.
How to display the desktop by right-clicking on the taskbar
You can also quickly view the desktop by right-clicking on the taskbar. When a menu appears, select “Show desktop”.
As with the above methods, all of your application windows will be temporarily hidden. To bring them back, right-click the taskbar again. This time select “Show open windows” and they will return as before.
How to display the desktop using a keyboard shortcut
If you prefer to use a keyboard shortcut to temporarily hide the windows of your applications and display the desktop, press Windows + D. Like the “Show desktop” button, this shortcut works like a toggle. To bring back the windows of your application, press Windows + D again.
Other adventures to show the office
If you have a mouse or pointing device with additional buttons, you can usually assign the “Show desktop” function to a button. For example, you can configure the middle scroll wheel button this way, and when you want to see your desktop quickly, just click the button. Configurations vary depending on the mouse utility software (or drivers) you are using. Whichever way you set it up, you’ll likely feel like you’re using Windows 10 more efficiently. Enjoy!