The Windows 11 Widgets: All you need to know

The Widgets on Windows 11 is Microsoft’s latest attempt of bringing you the information and news you want, all in the same place. You can use the Windows 11 Widgets panel to get a quick overview of the data you need, be it the latest weather forecast, your calendar, sports, or traffic updates. Read this guide to find out everything about the desktop widgets for Windows 11 and how using them can make your life easier:

What are Widgets in Windows 11?

The Windows 11 Widgets feature appears to be the love child of the live tiles and the News and Interests in Windows 10. The Widgets panel is designed as a transparent overlay that slides out from the left edge of your screen and displays (from top to bottom):

The Windows 11 Widgets panel

  • the current time
  • a Bing search bar
  • a section showing the added widgets
  • a news section that you can customize according to your interests

You can use the panel to get an overview of the information you want. Then, if you need more details, click or tap on the item that interests you, whether it’s a news article or the current temperature.

How to access the Windows 11 Widgets

The most obvious way of accessing the widgets for Windows 11 is by clicking or tapping on the Widgets button on your taskbar. The icon looks like a blue square with several rectangular shapes in it.

Use the Widgets icon on the taskbar

TIP: If you can’t see this icon, check out our guide on adding and removing icons from the Windows 11 taskbar.

You can also use the keyboard shortcut Windows + W to open the Widgets in Windows 11.

Press Windows + W simultaneously to access the desktop widgets

Furthermore, if you’re using a touchscreen device, you can swipe inward from the left edge of the screen to access the Windows 11 Widgets.

Swipe to the right from the left edge of the screen

The panel closes as soon as you click or tap anywhere else on your screen.

How do I add widgets in Windows 11?

To add more widgets or remove one you don’t like, click or tap on the Settings icon in the top-right corner of the Widgets panel, or use the Add widgets button at the bottom of the widgets section.

How to add more widgets in Windows 11

Either of these actions opens the Widget settings. In the Add Widgets section, you can click or tap on any widget with the + (plus sign) icon next to it to add it to the panel. There are eleven widgets available by default in Windows 11:

Select the widgets you want to add

  • Family Safety - helps you monitor your family’s activities if you’re using the Microsoft Family Safety feature.
  • Outlook Calendar - shows the date within the current week, displaying any upcoming events.
  • To Do - lists any tasks added in the Microsoft To Do app.
  • Tips - provides tidbits of information about using Windows 11 and its default apps.
  • Traffic - shows a small map with the traffic conditions in your general area.
  • Entertainment - displays movies and shows you can purchase from the Microsoft Store.
  • Esports - lists the latest scores and results for gaming sports.
  • Weather - enabled by default, displays the current temperature in your area. Depending on the widget’s size, it can also include other info, like a five-day forecast.
  • Watchlist - included by default in the panel, lists current stock values.
  • Photos - enabled by default in Windows 11, shows images stored in your OneDrive account.
  • Sports - active by default, lists recent scores and results for various sports.

TIP: After adding the widgets you want, you can use drag and drop to arrange them the way you want inside the panel.

How to customize and remove widgets in Windows 11

Each widget has a More options button shown on the top-right. Its icon looks like three horizontal dots (...). Clicking or tapping on it reveals a menu that can display some or all of the following:

Widgets come with More options

  • a section where you can change the widget’s size by selecting Small, Medium, or Large.
  • Customize widget - if available, use this button to personalize a widget’s data.
  • Remove widget - this option instantly removes the widget from the panel in Windows 11.

You can also customize the news articles you get in the Widgets panel. First, access the Widgets settings, as shown in the previous chapter, and then use the “Personalize your interests” link at the bottom to choose what you want to see in your feed.

Personalize your interests for a custom news feed

TIP: We like the Widgets feature and think it’s one of the 8 best features in Windows 11.

Which Windows 11 Widgets are you using?

The Widgets in Windows 11 remind us of the beloved Gadgets from Windows 7, so we’re happy to have them around. What about you? Do you like the Windows 11 Widgets? Which ones did you decide to use? Let us know in the comments.

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