Back in the days of Windows 7, you could quickly change the default icon spacing for your desktop by going to the operating system’s Appearance and Personalization settings page. However, this option is missing in newer versions of Windows.
If you are using Windows 11 or Windows 10, this article will show you how to change desktop icon spacing by tweaking the system registry or relying on third-party desktop customization software .
Important: Make a backup of the system registry
Changing desktop icon spacing in Windows 11 and Windows 10 involves editing the system registry. However, modifying it incorrectly can lead to serious problems, so we recommend that you back it up before proceeding.
For comprehensive step-by-step instructions, check out this guide to backing up and restoring the Windows registry.
Modify registry to change desktop icon spacing
You can modify the horizontal and vertical screen spacing in Windows 11 and 10 by changing the values of the two related entries in the system registry. The steps below will help you locate and edit them.
1. Press Windows + CHEAP to open Run box.
2 types regedit and press enter.
3. On the Registry Editor window, copy and paste
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics Go to Registry Editor’s address bar and press Enter.
4. You will find two registry entries that affect the default desktop icon spacing on the right side of the window:
- IconSpacing: Affects horizontal icon spacing.
- IconVerticalSpacing: Affects the vertical icon spacing.
Default value is –1125 for both entries, while the range can be between –480 arrive –2730.
Note: Increasing the value reduces the distance because the values are negative while lowering it increases the distance.
5. Make changes to one or both keys and select ALRIGHT to save your changes.
For example, the screenshot below shows the horizontal screen icon spacing after modification IconSpacing The registry entry has a value of -2000.
Note: Changing the horizontal spacing also affects the bounded areas of the icons. That affects how the text appears below them.
Also, the screenshot below shows the vertical screen icon spaced with IconVerticalSpacing set to -2000.
Importance: To update your Windows 11 or 10 desktop with the changes, you must either log out and log back in to your user account or restart your computer.
If you want to revert the changes, just open the Registry Editor again and set IconSpacing and IconVerticalSpacing the key to -1125.
Use third-party desktop customization software
If you don’t want to review the system registry in Windows 11 or Windows 10, you can use third-party desktop customization apps to modify the default desktop icon spacing. Icon spacing on screen and DesktopOK are two free programs that can help you with that.
Icon spacing on screen
Desktop icon spacing is lightweight and easy to use and allows you to change the default desktop icon spacing on Windows.
After download the appjust run the executable and use the sidebars Horizontal and Vertical to modify icon spacing if needed. Then check the box next to All data has been saved and All other windows closed and choose Application. That will prompt File Explorer to restart automatically, and your changes will reflect immediately.
If you want to roll them up, open Advanced menu and select Set default.
DesktopOK is another application that not only allows you to change the default icon spacing on the Windows desktop, but also provides many additional options, including adjusting icon size, font, saving icon layout according to screen resolution etc
After downloading DesktopOK, extract it and run the executable. On the DesktopOK window that appears, open Tools menu and select Windows figures.
On the Windows Metrics window, use the sidebars Horizontal distance and Vertical distance to make the required changes to icon spacing. Changes will be applied immediately. If not, select Restart Explorer to force restart File Explorer.
Choose Default next to the two sliders if you want to switch back to the default spacing.
Set your preferred desktop icon spacing easily
The instructions above will help you set the screen spacing in Windows 11 and Windows 10 the way you want. As a reminder, cluttering the registry can cause problems, so be sure to back it up before making additional changes. If you want to play it safe, use one of the two apps above.
So with that, here’s what you can do to Rock up your screen by fully customizing the icons.