If you’ve been around our website, YouTube channel or podcast for any amount of time, you likely know by now that I love using the virtual desks feature on my Chromebooks. They help me stay productive, organized and on-task in my daily workflow. By dividing my windows and apps into different desks, I can easily keep things nice and tidy between messages, creative work, writing, and other tools I keep open on a regular basis.
With all the new options we have in the virtual desks feature, I’ve long felt they are a complete package with little need of new abilities. After all, we can already create up to 8 total desks, drag-and-drop them, drag-and-drop windows/apps between the desk, navigate with multiple keyboard shortcuts, and even move through the desks with a 4-finger swipe. Though there’s little else I really need from this fully-formed feature, there are still small improvements that could make the experience less clunky and what we’ve uncovered today is one of those things.
Drag a window to create a new desk
Thanks to a commit in the Chromium Repositories, we found a new tweak to the virtual desks feature that will solve a pain point that users frequently have. Take a look at the commit and then we’ll talk about how this will speed up productivity.
The process here looks pretty straightforward: if you have a window/app you want to drag to a new desk that has yet to be created, you’ll soon be able to just grab that window from the overview mode, drag it over to the new desk creation button, and a new desk will form with your window inside.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to do this. Even though I have quite a few desks always open, there are countless times where I open a new app or window and want it on a desk that isn’t already taken. This usually means I go to move it, stop, drop it, create the new desk, navigate back to the desk where the window is, then drag it into place.
For me, when I’m just trying to quickly sort something and get back on task, this is just another annoyance that makes me leave the window where it doesn’t belong, which then makes me lose track of where I left it when I need to return to it. First world problems for sure, but this new feature will really be useful for any time you have an app or window that needs its own space quickly. With this new change, you’ll simply be able to hit that overview mode, drag it to a fresh new desk, and get back to what you were doing.
The feature has already been merged for a little over a week, so I’d expect to see it hit in the next version or two of Chrome OS. As a quick reminder, those next versions are M96 and M97, due out by November 30 and January 6, respectively. While it may stay behind a flag for a bit, I’d wager we’ll see this land as a stable feature by the early parts of 2022 at the latest. I know I’ll be glad when it gets here!