Most of Windows 11’s key changes are visual, but there are some new features we haven’t seen in previous versions. Widgets technically existed before, but its implementation here is very different to the Live Tiles within Windows 10’s Start menu.
Whether you’re using it to check the news and weather or find information more personal to you, Widgets provides a useful overview of your online life. If you take some time to customise it, Widgets can be a powerful way to keep tabs on things that are important to you. Here are three ways to do just that, plus how to remove it from your
Windows 11 experience.
Add and remove your favourites
When you first open Widgets, it will show you four main apps – Weather, Watchlist (for stocks), Sports and Photos. Relevant information here is sourced from MSN news, as are the range of news articles displayed below.
Adding something to the list is as simple as clicking the “Add widgets” button, then + icon next to the app you’d like to see.
If you use either the Microsoft To Do app or Outlook for email, adding these widgets will automatically display your to-do list and upcoming events.
Widgets also offers direct integration with
Microsoft’s Family Safety feature, which allows you to monitor your child’s screen time across Windows, iOS and Android devices. The version within Widgets provides a brief overview of details such as screen time, online activity and current location. It also offers one-click access to the Family Safety portal.
However, you’ll have to remove widgets individually. Just click the three dots in the top-right corner of each, then choose ‘Remove widget’.
Change the size or information displayed
Within that same three-dot menu, you’ll find the option to make each widget small, medium or large in size. As you’d expect, the bigger widgets can show the most information.
Depending on the app, you may also see a ‘Customise widget’ option here. This allows you to make changes to basic information such as location or add specific stocks/sports teams, but its functionality is fairly limited.
Tailor your news feed
Much of the Widgets panel is dedicated to news articles, so it’s worth spending some time to get it looking how you want it.
The first way is to add specific areas of interest via the
Microsoft website. You can head directly to the site (make sure you’re already signed in to your Microsoft account), or go via the Widgets screen itself by choosing Add widgets > Personalise your interests. There are a huge range of topics available here, from general subjects such as news and sport to specific people, teams and locations.
While the top stories widget can’t be customised directly, clicking the three dots next to any of the articles below lets you fine tune your preferences. This lets you indicate whether you’d like to see more or less of stories like this, as well as options to hide or save articles for later. You can also react with one of six emojis – engagement like this makes it more likely similar stories will appear in the future.
Remove the button from the taskbar
The Widgets panel isn’t for everyone, especially as a permanent fixture on the taskbar. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to remove it:
- Open Settings
- Select Personalisation > Taskbar
- Under ‘Taskbar items’, you’ll see a toggle next to ‘Widgets’. Click it to remove Widgets from the taskbar
However, do note that there is no other way to access Widgets if they’re disabled.
Add third-party apps – coming soon?
Being limited to a selection of Microsoft’s stock apps makes Widgets far less appealing. If third-party developers were supported, it could transform the feature for the better.
Fortunately, it looks like that could be coming in a future Windows 11 update. As
Windows Latest first reported, the third-party widgets are expected to be added by Microsoft in the
2022 feature update. This isn’t likely to be available until July at the earliest, but may be available to members of the Windows Insider Program sooner.
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