Clever Clogs tip # 717
7 October 2022

Hide icons on a messy desktop (Microsoft Windows) *

Are you the sort of person who stores items on your desktop? I am! OK, I am obviously aware it's not a good place to store files (as they aren't backed up and it slows your computer down) but I use it to keep shortcuts and documents of temporary value within easy reach. The downside is that I end up with a messy desktop, which can be embarrassing or distracting when I run a training session.

I used to drag everything in a folder called "check out", but inspired by Lara Mellor I've fallen in love with hiding and unhiding my icons.

Here's how:

  1. Press WIN + D to display your desktop.
  2. Right-click in an empty area of your desktop. (See below if there isn't any ;).
  3. Select View followed by Show desktop icons.

Bonus tip: If you cannot find an empty space to click, press SHIFT + F10 to open the right-click menu, followed by the letter v, then d (for View Desktop if you need a way to remember it). It can be used to hide and unhide your icons. And remember that if you're using a laptop you might need to hold down the Fn key.

Finally, you might want to check out tip 315 if you want to create a link to a particular folder on your taskbar.

Related tips

  1. How to keep your documents within easy reach: tip_315.php
  2. Open the right-click menu using a keyboard shortcut: tip_560.php
  3. Assign a keyboard shortcut to your desktop shortcuts: tip_239.php
  4. How to find items on a messy desktop: tip_375.php
  5. Enable the F1 - F12 keys on a laptop: tip_710.php

This week's CleverClogsTipTime on LinkedIn

  1. Customize Quick Access Toolbar - Beverley's question
  2. Do you use F2 on your keyboard?

PS It’ll be Information Overload Day next Thursday (20th October) so I will observe it by not sending a tip (which I typically send on a Thursday). If you get emails that day, only open the most important ones and avoid having too many tabs open at the same time.

* Unless stated otherwise this tip is written for Microsoft 365 desktop apps and Windows 10 users, but might also be useful in Office 2010, 2013 and 2016.