Sometimes you need to quickly see your desktop in Windows 10, but you don’t want to tediously minimize every open app window or move them around and lose their layout. Fortunately, there are several ways you can quickly see the desktop, then pick up where you left off. Here’s how.

How to display the desktop using the taskbar button

Let’s say you’re casually browsing your favorite website and multiple windows are open like this:

Windows 10 desktop with Windows app

If you want to see something on your desktop quickly without disrupting your window layout, click on the small area to the right of the small vertical line at the far right of the taskbar.

The Show desktop button in Windows 10

That’s right – that little slice of the taskbar is actually a “Show Desktop” button. Once you click on it, your app windows will temporarily disappear and you will see the desktop.

Windows 10 desktop without a Windows app

This taskbar button works like a toggle switch. If you click it again, your Windows will reappear where it was before.

Windows 10 desktop with Windows app

Very useful. If you don’t like using this little button, it’s possible to create your own “Show Desktop” shortcut that you can place on the Quick Launch toolbar or pin it to the taskbar itself. You can also display the desktop using a few other methods which we’ll cover next.

Soon: How to move the “Show Desktop” icon to the Windows Quick Launch or Taskbar

How to peek at the desktop using the taskbar

Windows 10 includes a second way to quickly view the desktop called Aero Peek. To use it, first find the small “Show Desktop” button on the far right of the taskbar. It looks like this:

The Show desktop button in Windows 10

Right click on the “Show Desktop” button and a small menu will appear.

This menu has two options. The first, “Show Desktop”, is an action. If you click on it, you will see the desktop as if you had clicked with the left mouse button. The second option, named “Peek At Desktop”, is a toggle setting. If you click on it, a check mark will appear to its left.

Windows 10 Show desktop button context menu - Check next to Peek at Desktop

After that, if you hover your mouse cursor over the “Show Desktop” button, you will see a quick desktop preview with approximations of the current application windows displayed as translucent outlines.

Windows 10 desktop preview

When you move your mouse away, your application windows reappear. Once the novelty wears off and you want to turn off Aero Peek, right-click the “Show Desktop” button again and uncheck the “Peek At The Desktop” option.

Soon: How to Instantly Create Aero Peek Display on Windows

How to display the desktop by right clicking on the taskbar

You can also display the desktop quickly by right-clicking on the taskbar. When a menu appears, select “Show Desktop”.

Right click on the taskbar in Windows 10 and select Show Desktop

As with the above methods, all windows in your application will be temporarily hidden. To bring them back, right-click on the taskbar again. This time select “Show open windows”, and they will come back as before.

Right click on the taskbar in Windows 10 and select Show Open Windows

How to display the desktop using a keyboard shortcut

If you’d rather use a keyboard shortcut to temporarily hide your app windows and show the desktop, press Windows + D. Like the “Show Desktop” button, this shortcut works as a toggle. To bring your app windows back, press Windows + D again.

Other adventures showing the office

If you have a mouse or pointing device with additional buttons, it is usually possible to assign the “Show Desktop” function to a button. For example, you can configure the middle scroll wheel button this way, and when you want to quickly see your desktop, just click the button. The configurations vary depending on the mouse utility software (or drivers) you are using. However you set it up, you’ll probably feel like you’re using Windows 10 more efficiently. Enjoy!