HomeWinBuzzer TipsHow to Change Desktop Icon Size and Taskbar Icon Size in Windows

How to Change Desktop Icon Size and Taskbar Icon Size in Windows

We show you how to change desktop icon size in Windows using three methods, then go on to show you how to change taskbar icon size.


Desktop icons for many are a core part of how they use their operating system. Their default size, however, doesn't work for everyone.
You may want to make your desktop icons smaller so you can fit more on, or larger if your screen is a high resolution or you have poor eyesight. In this guide we're going to show how to change your desktop icon size in or .
Due to there being a good chance you'll want to change both, we'll also be showing you how to change taskbar icon size in Windows 11 or Windows 10. As well as making your taskbar icons bigger or smaller, this will adjust the size of your taskbar so you have more or less screen space to work with.
We'll be showing you three methods to make desktop icons smaller or bigger, one that uses the mouse, one that uses the keyboard, and one that uses both.

How to Change Desktop Icon Size Using the Scroll Wheel

This method is the quickest way to adjust the size of your desktop icons using a mouse with a scroll wheel. It's especially handy if you prefer not to navigate through menus.
  • Press Ctrl and Scroll Your Mouse Wheel
    Ensure you're viewing your desktop (minimize or close all open windows or use the ‘Show Desktop‘ button). Hold down the “Ctrl” key on your keyboard and scroll the mouse wheel up to increase icon size, or down to decrease it. You'll see the icon size change dynamically, allowing you to adjust to your preferred size instantly.

    Windows 10 - Desktop - Resice Icons Ctrl+Scroll Wheel

How to Make Icons Smaller or Larger on the Desktop via Context Menu

If you prefer using the mouse over keyboard shortcuts, this method provides a simple way to change icon sizes through the desktop context menu.
  1. Right-Click Your Desktop and Select Size
    Right-click on an empty area of your desktop, hover over “View“, and then select either “Small icons“, “Medium icons“, or “Large icons” from the submenu. This method offers three size presets, making it straightforward to switch according to your needs.

    Windows 10 - Desktop - View - Resize Icons

How to Change Desktop View Layout using Keyboard

This keyboard-centric method changes the layout of desktop icons, which indirectly adjusts their perceived size by altering how they are displayed.
  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Number
    Press and hold “Ctrl” + “Shift” on your keyboard, then press a number key (1, 2, or 3) to cycle through different desktop layouts. For instance, ‘1‘ might align icons in a grid, ‘2‘ could list them, and ‘3‘ might display them in tiles. Each layout offers a different visual arrangement and icon size, enhancing desktop accessibility and organization.

    Windows 10 - Desktop - Resize Icons Ctrl+Shift+Number

How to Change Taskbar Icon Size in Taskbar Settings

Adjusting the size of taskbar icons also affects the overall size of the taskbar itself, which can help you optimize screen space usage.
  1. Right-Click the Empty Space on Your Taskbar
    Right-click on a blank area of your taskbar. This action opens a context menu where you can access taskbar settings.

    Windows 10 - Right-Click Taskbar

  2. Select “Taskbar Settings”
    In the context menu that appears after right-clicking the taskbar, click on “Taskbar settings“. This will open the settings window where you can adjust various taskbar options.

    Windows 10 - Right-Click Taskbar - Taskbar Settings

  3. Toggle “Use Small Taskbar Buttons”

    In the taskbar settings menu, find the option labeled “Use small taskbar buttons“. Toggle this option on to make the icons smaller, or off to return them to their larger size. This setting not only changes the icon size but also adjusts the taskbar height accordingly.
    Windows 10 - Right-Click Taskbar - Taskbar Settings - Use Small Taskbar Buttons - On

Related: How to Make the Windows 11 Taskbar Smaller or Bigger

For the Windows 11 taskbar, there isn't a “small icons” or “labels” option to shrink it down. Luckily there is a workaround to make taskbar icons bigger or smaller in Windows 11 using a handy registry hack, which we are showing you in our other guide.

Related: How to Change Icons on Windows 11 and Windows 10

Windows has always had a bit of an icon problem. While like and still have a general “style” for third-party app icons, Windows struggles to remain consistent. Icons can be 3D or 2D and round or square, or simply just bad. In our other guide, we show you how to change app icons, folder icons, and user icons in Windows 11 and Windows 10 by utilizing the Settings app and Registry Editor.
Featured - How to change icons on windows 10

Related: How to Fix Missing Windows Icons and Thumbnails with an Icon Cache Rebuild

icons and thumbnails are a feature we all take for granted until they don't work anymore. Occasionally, Windows 10 desktop icons will go missing or disappear. More commonly, though, users notice that their Windows 10 icons are blank or white. The same applies to those thumbnails which Windows 10 is creating as little previews for images and video files. Just like static program symbols those thumbnails are stored as icons in the icon cache. When they go missing, you will have to reconstruct the icon cache. In our other guide, we show you how to delete and rebuild the Windows icon cache so they display as usual.
Windows 10 How to rebuild the icon cache for thumbnail-previews

Related: How to Create a Desktop Shortcut to Apps, Websites, or Commands

Though these days many prefer to use Start pins rather than create a shortcut on the desktop, they have their place. Knowing how to create a desktop shortcut can open additional avenues for efficiency, allowing you to pin a website or run a command with a double-click. In our other guide, we show you how to create a desktop shortcut in Windows 11 or Windows 10 using fast, simple, and effective methods.
Featured - How to Create Desktop Shortcuts on Windows 10

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions About Windows Icons

Can I customize icon sizes beyond the given presets?

Windows doesn't natively support precise customization beyond its preset small, medium, and large icon options. However, for more granular control, you can tweak your display settings by changing the scale and layout under display properties or utilize third-party software like Iconoid or DesktopOK which offer additional customization features.

How does changing display settings affect icon sizes?

Altering display settings such as the scale factor and resolution in your system's display settings directly affects overall UI elements including icon sizes. Increasing the scale factor enlarges icons, beneficial for visibility on higher resolution displays, while increasing resolution without altering scale settings might shrink icons, which helps provide more desktop space.

Can icon size adjustments impact system performance?

Icon size adjustments are typically low on system resource usage and do not significantly affect system performance. However, using excessively large icons with high-resolution images on a system with limited graphical processing power might slightly degrade performance or response times.

Is it possible to individually resize icons on the desktop?

Windows does not provide functionality to resize individual desktop icons differently; changes to icon size affect all icons on the desktop uniformly. If individual customization is necessary, third-party software could be considered to achieve specific visual setups.

Will changing the icon size affect its quality?

Icons in Windows are vector-based, which means they can scale up or down with minimal quality loss. However, extreme scales, particularly large ones, can result in icons appearing less sharp or pixelated if the original icon design does not support high resolutions.

Can I increase the size of icons in File Explorer?

Yes, within File Explorer, you can adjust icon sizes by navigating to the “View” tab and selecting from options like “Extra large icons“, “Large icons“, “Medium icons“, and “Small icons“. This allows for greater control over how content is displayed, tailoring visibility to your preferences.

What should I do if some icons don't change size?

If certain icons fail to resize after adjusting settings, ensure all applications are closed and refresh the desktop by right-clicking and selecting “Refresh“. If problems persist, rebooting your machine or rebuilding the icon cache using command line tools might resolve the issue.

Is it possible to customize taskbar icon spacing?

Directly adjusting the spacing between taskbar icons isn't supported natively in Windows. However, advanced users can modify the Windows Registry for finer adjustments, or utilize third-party tools designed for taskbar customization.

How to restore taskbar settings to default after customizing icon sizes?

Reverting customized taskbar settings doesn't have a one-click reset in Windows. You'll need to manually switch any adjustments like “Use small taskbar buttons” back to their original settings through the taskbar settings menu accessible by right-clicking the taskbar.

Can I apply different icon sizes to different monitors in a multi-monitor setup?

Icon sizes can be adjusted per-monitor in a multi-monitor setup by selecting each specific desktop you want to modify, then right-clicking and choosing the appropriate icon size or using the Control key with the mouse scroll for dynamic resizing.

How do I sort desktop icons after resizing them?

After resizing desktop icons, you can sort them by right-clicking on the desktop, selecting “Sort by,” and then choosing from several criteria including name, size, item type, or date modified to organize the icons based on your preferences.

How do I make folder icons smaller or larger?

To resize folder icons on the desktop or in File Explorer, you can utilize the same methods as for adjusting any desktop icon size—either through the desktop context menu size options or through the “View” ribbon in File Explorer for more precise controls.

How do I revert icon sizes to their default settings?

To reset desktop icon sizes to their default, right-click on your desktop, select “View,” and choose “Medium icons“. To revert the taskbar icon size, go to Taskbar Settings and disable the “Use small taskbar buttons” option to return to standard sized taskbar icons.

Are there keyboard shortcuts to adjust taskbar icon size?

Windows does not have keyboard shortcuts for adjusting the taskbar icon size directly. Modifications require accessing the taskbar settings through the context menu by right-clicking on the taskbar.

How do I resize shortcuts and application icons on the desktop?

Shortcuts and application icons can be resized using the same methods as other desktop icons. Use either the Ctrl + Mouse Wheel method for a quick adjustment or right-click the desktop, navigate to “View,” and select a desired size setting to uniformly adjust all desktop icons.

Ryan Maskell
Ryan Maskellhttps://ryanmaskell.co.uk
Ryan has had a passion for gaming and technology since early childhood. Fusing the skills from his Creative Writing and Publishing degree with profound technical knowledge, he enjoys covering news about Microsoft. As an avid writer, he is also working on his debut novel.
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