If you are anything like me, you use and love Virtual Desks on your Chromebook. As I type this right now, I’m in a situation where I’m writing away from my desk and only have my single screen in front of me. Sure, this 16-inch QHD panel is a large palette to work from, but there’s no replacement for those extra screens in a workflow when it comes time to get some real work done.
Using Virtual Desks, you can recreate the feeling of multiple monitors with only your Chromebook and I’m one who does this with great regularity. At this moment, I have a desk for messages, a desk for creative tools (like Corel Vector and Squoosh), a desk for media, and a desk for website statistics. With a keyboard shortcut ( SEARCH + [ or ] ) or a 4-finger swipe on my trackpad, I can move to the desk I need quickly and keep those desktops clean, organized, and ready for use.
An early limitation on this feature was the fact that you could only create 4 desks in total. Not too long after the introduction of Virtual Desks, Google expanded that number to 8, and I’ve not really pushed up against that limitation since that point. But it seems many of you out there just might be, because the limit of Virtual Desks is getting ready to jump from 8 up to 16 very soon.
Thanks to some digging by our friend @cr_c2cv over on Twitter, the ability to add twice as many desks is now live in the Canary Channel and will likely roll down the channels to Stable Channel in the next few updates. In addition to the new number of desks available, Google is adding a simple scroll control to allow the user to cycle through the open, active desks in the upper desk bar. It’s a simple change, but the UI change works well from the look of it.
For some of you, this may not be a huge deal. But it feels like there are quite a few of you out there that could really benefit from this upgrade. Especially with smaller screens, the addition of more desks could really make a big difference in overall useability. Instead of having tons of open windows on a single desk, you will be able to put each window in a full-screen layout in its own desk. It’ll be a handy addition for sure once that number of available desks grows to 16.
Right now, ChromeOS Canary is on version 109, so it could take a few more update cycles before we see this feature update hit the Stable Channel for most users. We’ll be keeping an eye on it and there’s always the possibility that it could show up far sooner than version 109, and if we do see it make that sort of move, we’ll be sure to let you know. Stay tuned.