How to use Virtual Desks on a Chromebook

ASUS Chromebook Flip C214
ASUS Chromebook Flip C214 (Image credit: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

You may already know how to enable multiple virtual desktops on a more traditional operating system such as macOS, Windows, or even Linux, but did you know that Chrome OS has this handy feature as well? Google added in support for multiple desktops to Chrome OS in late 2019, and we've been using it like crazy to get even more work done on our devices. No matter what size screen your Chromebook has, you can turn it into a multiple display powerhouse in just a few steps.

How to use virtual desks on a Chromebook in one click

In case you didn't realize, Chromebooks have special keyboards with a few different buttons here and there. One of these special buttons is the Show Windows key. On my Asus Chromebook Flip C214, this button appears amongst the function keys, roughly above and between the number 6 and 7 keys.

  1. Take a look at your Chromebook keyboard and press the Show Windows key (it looks kind of like this []]])

Source: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)
  1. On the top right of your screen you should see a link that says + New desk. Click on that.

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)
  1. Now you can drag a window from your current desktop to this new desktop space, and separate out your workflow for more virtual breathing room.

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)
  1. You will then see your window in the second desktop. This process can be repeated to create up to four unique desktop workspaces.

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

How to use virtual desks on a Chromebook via keyboard shortcuts

This process achieves the same effect with keyboard shortcuts.

  1. To create a new virtual desktop space, press the Search button (looks like a magnifying glass) on the left side of the keyboard along with Shift and the = key.

Source: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)
  1. You can move the order of each desktop by pressing Shift along with the Search button and either the left or right square bracket key ].

Source: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)
  1. You can switch between desktops by holding down the Alt button and pressing the Tab button.

Source: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)

Now that you know how to enable and manage virtual desktops on your Chromebook, we're sure that your productivity will soar!

Note: when you sign out, all of your virtual desk windows will merge/converge into a single desk view.

Our top equipment picks

Since any Chromebook's screen can be amplified with a virtual desk, why not save a little money and pick up one of these smaller, more affordable workhorses?

We're partial to the more portable Chromebooks like the C214, as they tend to be lighter and easier to lug around town. However, we also fancy a more premium device now and then like the C434, and those tend to have an aluminum chassis with 14-inch or larger screens.

Additional Equipment

Take care of your Chromebook on the go with these practical and fun accessories.

Daiso Microfiber Hedgehog

Daiso Microfiber Hedgehog (Image credit: Amazon)

Daiso Hedgehog Microfiber Mittens (opens in new tab) ($12 at Amazon)

These cute furry friends will help keep your keyboard and screen looking clean. They come in a three-pack, so you can bring one in your backpack, leave one at home, and one at the office.

Mosiso 13 Laptop Sleeve Official Render

Mosiso 13 Laptop Sleeve Official Render (Image credit: Mosiso)

Mosiso 13-inch Laptop Sleeve (opens in new tab) ($14 at Amazon)

A neoprene sleeve like this can go a long way towards keeping your Chromebook protected. The soft fabric won't scratch your device, and it can even repel water from accidental spills.

Herschel Retreat Backpack Official Render

Herschel Retreat Backpack Official Render (Image credit: Herschel)

Herschel Retreat Backpack (opens in new tab) (From $38 at Amazon)

This stylish backpack has a classic look that is perfect for the gym, a weekend getaway, or carting your Chromebook to the coffee shop. It's also available in a ton of color and size combinations.

Jeramy Johnson
Editor-in-chief

Jeramy is proud to help *Keep Austin Weird* and loves hiking in the hill country of central Texas with a breakfast taco in each hand. When he's not writing about smart home gadgets and wearables, he's defending his relationship with his smart voice assistants to his family. You can follow him on Twitter at @jeramyutgw.