Aug 2, 2018 @ 3:10 pm

How to use Task View in Windows 10 : Features and Usage?

Task View is a powerful virtual desktop feature in Windows 10. It helps you work with virtual desktops, and seamlessly resume Timeline activities and switch between running apps. It looks something like this


Cool, isn’t it?

Windows 10’s Task view is a system feature that provides an excellent user experience while working efficiently with multiple apps. It lets you segregate your project related tasks onto separate desktops and lets you hover between open applications.

Recently with April 2018 Update, Task View introduced Timeline. This feature allows users, to get back on the past activities/tasks on the same or different PC using an MS account.

The following article will give you an idea of how to use these features to your advantage.

Getting Started with Task View

The main intent to create the Task View was to provide a coherent mechanism, to switch between multiple applications. Although, this feature has seen some changes since its inception.

Task view has three key features:

1. Task Switcher

2. Timeline

3. Virtual Desktops

How to Use the Task Switcher?

Its primary utility is to provide users, an experience by quickly switching between all applications, currently running.

Accessing the Task View

There are two ways to access the Task View on Windows 10. One way is, by clicking the Task View button on the taskbar. The other way is by using the keyboard shortcut, Windows key + Tab.

Taskview icon

If you can’t find the taskbar button, then right click on the Windows Search Bar and select the option: “Show Task View button”.

Working with the Task View

While on Task View, you can see all the running applications, in the middle of the screen. You can switch to any of those apps quickly, by just clicking on it.

When you right-click on an app in the Task View, you can access its context menu to perform some common tasks. These tasks include napping the app to the left or right of the screen, moving it to another different virtual desktop, showing Windows across desktops along with an option to rapidly close the application, etc.

Keyboard Shortcuts to Maneuver the Task View

Keyboard Shortcut – Windows key + Tab and Alt + Tab

There is a slight change in the functionality of the keyboard shortcuts: Windows key + Tab and Alt + tab

Both the shortcuts help in accessing a running application from the list. However, the windows key + Tab draws only a preview of the applications running on a particular desktop. Apart from that, it also shows an interface, exhibiting controls to manage virtual desktops, along with enlisting your timeline activities.

Maneuver the Task View

On the other hand – the Alt + Tab shortcut helps in accessing a list of running applications from all the virtual desktops. Moreover, if you keep pressing the shortcut, you’ll be able to toggle through the apps. Eventually, you’ll land on a particular app that will navigate you to an application running on the current desktop.

switch between the apps or programs

How to Use the Timeline?

The Timeline feature is basically an extension of the Task View functionality. It exploits Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure and allows users to resume activities that they left behind in the past.

The activities can be of any kind, including tasks like Microsoft Office, web browsing, an app, etc. These tasks can either be from your PC or any other device connected through your Microsoft account.

Accessing the Timeline

You can access the Timeline with the very same Task View button (Taskbar) or Windows key + Tab shortcut. Here, you can surf through your Timeline, using the scroll bar on the right side.

 Working with the Timeline

This feature sorts your previous tasks and lets you resume, right where you left it off. It even deep links certain content within an app.

Click the item from the list, in order to resume a task. Sometimes, you might not find a particular task you’re looking for. In such cases, try clicking the See all button to access the complete list of activities for that day.

You can find a particular activity, using the scrollbar on the right or the Search button in the top-right region.

You can also delete the activities by right-clicking an item and selecting the Remove option. To do so, select the Clear all option, to delete all the activities for a particular day.

The Timeline differentiates activities originating from other devices, by including the name of the computer that started the task.

You can very easily enable, disable or even, customize the various functionalities of the Timeline. For this, just click through Settings > Privacy > Activity history.

How to use the Virtual Desktops?

Virtual Desktops in Task View feature helps you, to sort related activities into groups. It can create multiple environments that can run different apps, without losing focus of your concerned project.

This handy feature separates official tasks from your personal tasks or while multitasking between different activities.

Accessing the Virtual Desktops

lick the Task View button beside the Windows Search Bar. You can also use the key combo – Windows key + Tab, to access it. This evokes the Task View experience. Now, you can see the Virtual Desktops at the top of the experience.

You can see a preview of each Virtual Desktop, as you hover the mouse above it. With this, you can get a quick peek of the apps running in the various environments.

Working with the Virtual Desktops

Windows 10 allows you to create multiple desktops as you need, by clicking the New desktop button.

Alternatively, a faster method would be to use Windows key + Ctrl + D keyboard shortcut.

You can also discard any desktop. For this, open Task View, and click on the Close(X) button at the top right corner of the Virtual Desktop.

close app or program by clicking on cross

If you want to switch between the Desktops, just click the thumbnail of the Virtual environment that you want to use. Another method would be to use, Windows Key + Ctrl + Left or Windows Key + Ctrl + Right keyboard shortcuts.

Moreover, you can relocate the apps between virtual environments. For this, open the Task View and right click on the desired app. Then select the Move to option and select the Desktop, where you want the app to be moved.

Move or relocate apps to virtual desktop

Otherwise, you can also drag and drop a currently running application to the desired Virtual Desktop. You can also create a new virtual desktop with the app by dropping the app in the (+) button.

click on add sign to drop the app to new virtual desktop

Virtual Desktops surely is a feature to separate activities into groups. But, it does require a particular app to be made available on all Desktops.

If you want to view a specific window/app on all desktops: Go to Task View, right click on the app and select – “Show this window on all desktops” or “Show windows from this app on all desktops”.

Although virtual desktop settings is a quite a straightforward feature, you can always tweak a bit to get the most of it. Just open Settings > Click on devices > Click on Multitasking.


The Task view feature on Windows proves to be a very useful, effective feature. It helps users to manage their personal and as well as multiple projects to be handled effortlessly.