How to Use Widgets in Windows 11

Use and customize widgets from the widgets board on the taskbar

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What to Know

  • Press Win + W to open the widgets board on the Windows 11 taskbar.
  • Select the default widgets from a widgets gallery and pin them to the board.
  • Select More Options (the three dotted-icon) in the upper-right corner of a widget to customize a widget.

This article will show you how to use widgets in Windows 11. Widgets are small cards that display dynamic content right on the taskbar. You must be logged in with your Microsoft account to use the widgets board. Alternatively, you can use your work or school account.

How to Use Widgets in Windows 11

Open the widgets board to take a glance at widgets for weather, calendar, Microsoft To Do tasks, news, stocks, and photos among others without opening the apps that power the widgets.

  1. You can use three methods to display the widgets panel on Windows 11.

    • Use Win + W keys.
    • Select the widget icon on the left of the taskbar (often represented by a weather widget icon).
    • On touchscreens, swipe from the left to open the widgets panel.

    Tip:

    You can just use the shortcut keys and remove the live weather widget icon on the taskbar. Go to Settings > Personalization > Taskbar > Taskbar items > Widgets > Toggle Off.

    The Windows 11 widgets panel with the weather widget highlighted
  2. You can perform actions on a widget depending on the information it carries. For instance, the Microsoft To Do widget allows you to check completed tasks without opening the main app.

  3. To open the widget's app or source site in Microsoft Edge, select the widget's title.

  4. Open the widget's menu from More Options (three dots) in the upper-right corner and select the Powered by message to see the service powering the information on the widget.

    Source app or site that powers a widget in Windows 11 with Powered by message highlighted
  5. To close the widgets panel, tap anywhere outside the widgets board to close or press the Win + W keys again.

How to Set up Widgets in Windows 11

Windows displays a few widgets by default. But you can personalize the widgets board by adding new widgets you need and removing the ones you don't. Start by opening the widgets panel from the taskbar icon or the shortcut key.

Add a New Widget

Widgets can be added from the widgets gallery. Choose from the limited selection that includes widgets for Family Safety, Outlook Calendar, Microsoft To Do, Traffic information, Photos, Sports, Entertainment, Gaming, and Weather.

  1. Select the + icon (Add widgets).

  2. Select a widget from the ones displayed with the + icon next to it.

  3. Select the Close flyout icon to close the panel.

    Add a new widget in Windows 11 with close flyout icon highlighted

Customize a Widget

Some widgets can be customized to your preferences. For instance, you can specify a location for the weather widget or allow it to detect it automatically. Or, you can search for your favorite teams from a search bar in the Sports widget.

  1. Select More Options on the top-right of the widget.

  2. Select Customize widget from the menu.

  3. Choose your preferences and select Save.

    Customize a widget in W11 with Customize Widget highlighted

Pin a Widget

Keep your favorite widgets on the top of the panel and access them quickly. Pinned widgets have a pin icon on the right.

  1. Scroll to the widget you would like to pin to the top.

  2. Select  More  Options (…) in the upper-right corner of the widget.

  3. Select Pin. 

  4. To unpin a widget, select Unpin widget on the same menu.

    Pin and unpin widgets in Windows 11 with Unpin Widget highlighted

Hide a Widget

Hiding a widget is similar to removing it from view on the widgets board. Once you hide a widget, you must go back to the widget gallery to make it appear again.

  1. Open the widgets panel.

  2. Select More Options (the three-dotted icon) of the widget you want to remove or hide.

  3. Select the Hide this widget option.

    Hide widget in Windows 11 with Hide This Widget highlighted

Move a Widget

You can organize your widgets by moving them around on the board. Place the mouse pointer on the widget header. When the pointer turns into a hand, drag the widget to a new spot on the board.

Resize a Widget

Set the widget size to hold the information you want it to display. Select the three-dotted icon on the widget and choose from the three size options available—Small, Medium, or Large.

Customize the News Feed

The widgets board also displays a news feed collated from your interests. You can personalize it from the widget settings on the board.

  1. Select Widget settings > Personalized feed > Manage interests.

    Manage news interests in the widgets panel with Manage Interests highlighted
  2. Browse your preferred topics and sources from the My Interests page on Microsoft Edge.

  3. Select the plus sign to follow the category in your feed or unfollow it.

  4. Choose the block icon to exclude the news category from appearing in your feed.

  5. Use the search box to find more topics and sources to follow.

    Personalize news interests in the Windows 11 widgets panel with Search bar highlighted

Tip:

Hover over a news story on the widgets board and select the Hide this story (X) button in the upper-right corner to remove stories you don't like. Your feedback helps Microsoft to finetune the stories it displays on the board.

FAQ
  • How do I add widgets on an iPhone?

    To add widgets on an iPhone, tap and hold the home screen until app icons jiggle. Tap the plus sign to view a list of available widgets. Tap Search Widgets to find a specific widget. Tap a widget you want to add, select its options, and tap Add Widget.  

  • How do I make a widget on an iPhone?

    To make a widget on an iPhone, use a third-party app like Widgetsmith. Download the app and tap Add (Size) Widget, and then tap the Default Widget box. Customize your widget and tap Save. Tap and hold the iPhone home screen, tap the plus sign to view widgets, find your new widget, and tap Add Widget.

  • How do I get widgets on Android?

    To add widgets to Android phones, touch and hold an empty space on your phone screen and tap Widgets. Tap the widget you want to add, and then tap outside the widget to add it to your screen.

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