Computer running Windows
Hannah Stryker / How-To Geek

Windows uses a “medium” size for its desktop icons by default, but you can make them smaller in just a few clicks. You can even unlock a hidden “extra small” option that makes desktop icons much smaller. Here’s how to do it on Windows 10 or Windows 11.

How to Make Desktop Icons Smaller in Two Clicks

You can use the desktop context menu to make desktop icons smaller. To change desktop icon size to small, right-click your desktop, point to “View,” and select “Small Icons.”

This works on both Windows 10 and Windows 11, as well as older versions of Windows like Windows 7. On Windows 11, you can also press Ctrl+Shift+4 instead.

You can also use this context menu to hide all desktop icons entirely.

How to Make Icons Even Smaller on the Desktop

Windows has some other hidden sizes for desktop icons that don’t appear in the context menu. To shrink desktop icons even further, position your mouse cursor over the desktop, hold down the Ctrl key, and scroll down on your mouse wheel. Keep scrolling to make desktop icons even smaller than the “Small Icon” size in the context menu.

Scroll up and down on the mouse wheel while holding Ctrl to fine-tune your desktop icon size.

You can also scroll up on the mouse wheel to make desktop icons even larger than the “Large Icons” size.

If you’re storing files on your desktop, this will let you quickly access more of them. You may also want to organize your messy desktop and choose which built-in Windows system icons appear on the desktop.

RELATED: You Should Store Files on Your Desktop, Here's Why

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Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He's written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times and Reader's Digest, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami's NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than one billion times---and that's just here at How-To Geek.
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