4 ways to make your desktop icons smaller or bigger in Windows

If you are a Windows user, it’s almost impossible not to use desktop icons. They’re one of the easiest ways of opening apps and files, without having to dig into the file system of your Windows computer or device. However, that’s true only if you can see them clearly so that you can click on them. By default, Windows 10, Windows 8.1, and Windows 7 display desktop icons in a preset medium size. Although that’s the right choice in most situations, for some people, the default medium size could seem too large or too small. If you want to know how to make desktop icons smaller, so more of them will fit on your screen, or larger so that you see them better, read this guide:

Changing the desktop icons size is done the same way in all modern versions of Windows

All the methods shared in this guide work the same in Windows 10, Windows 8.1 and Windows 7. For simplicity, we’ll use screenshots taken only in Windows 10. Before we begin, we’d like to show you what the desktop icons look like when displayed in various sizes: small, medium, and large. Here’s a sample with shortcuts of different sizes in Windows 10:

In Windows 8.1 and Windows 7, the icons sizes are the same as in Windows 10. Let’s see the ways in which you make them smaller or bigger, depending on what you want.

1. Make your desktop icons smaller or bigger, by using the right-click menu

One of the easiest ways to change the size of your desktop icons in Windows is to use the right-click menu. Right-click (or tap and hold, if you have a touchscreen) somewhere on the empty space on your desktop. The right-click menu is displayed instantly, and it should look similar to this:

In the right-click menu, click or tap View. The first three options you’ll get are Large icons, Medium icons, and Small icons. The current view is signaled by a dot near its name. Click or tap on the size you want, and your desktop icons are changed accordingly.

2. Make your desktop icons smaller or bigger, by using your keyboard and mouse

Another way to change the size of your desktop icons is to use your keyboard and mouse. That means you need to have these two peripherals connected to your PC, so it’s mostly limited to those who use a desktop PC or a laptop. It’s less likely that you’ll use it on a tablet or a 2-in-1 Windows device.

First, go to your desktop and minimize or close all opened apps. To make your desktop icons smaller, press and hold the Ctrl key on your keyboard, and scroll your mouse wheel downwards.

To make your desktop icons larger, press and hold the Ctrl key on your keyboard, and scroll your mouse wheel upwards.

3. Make your desktop icons smaller or bigger, by changing your screen’s resolution

A third and more radical way of changing the size of your desktop shortcuts in Windows is to modify the resolution used by your display. More specifically, what you’ll need to do to make desktop icons smaller, is to increase your display resolution. If you want larger icons on your desktop, you will have to lower your screen resolution.

Take heed, though, that changing the resolution will not only alter the size of your desktop shortcuts but of everything else shown on the screen. That means apps, text, icons, everything. Don’t do this unless you want to make everything smaller, or bigger.

If you want to modify your display resolution, follow the steps shown in this tutorial: Change your display's screen resolution and make text and icons bigger.

4. Make your desktop icons smaller or bigger, by scaling the text, apps and other items

Finally, the fourth method we know for changing the size of desktop icons involves changing the scaling of your display. What scaling does is increase or decrease the size of text, apps, and other items, including desktop icons, so that they can be easily seen by the person using the computer.

To make your desktop icons smaller, decrease the display scaling. To make your desktop icons bigger, increase the screen scaling.

If you don’t know how to make these changes, read the last part of this guide: Change your display's screen resolution and make text and icons bigger. It will show you how to make the required settings in Windows 10, Windows 8.1, and in Windows 7.

Conclusion

Desktop icons are one of the fastest ways to open anything on a Windows computer or device. And now you know how to make them smaller or bigger so that you see them better and you are more productive when using them. Before you close this tutorial, we would like to know if you prefer your desktop icons small or large? Do you have many icons and shortcuts on your desktop? Tell us in the comments below.