How to change Desktop icon spacing in Windows 10, Windows 8.1 and Windows 8

In earlier Windows versions like Windows 7, Windows Vista or Windows XP, the user was able to adjust the distance between icons on the Desktop. There was an option in Advanced appearance settings which was eliminated in Windows 8 and above. If you need to adjust the icon spacing but your operating system does not offer a GUI option for this task, here is how can do it.

Changing the Desktop icon spacing is important even for touchscreen users to make the icons wider apart.
To change Desktop icon spacing in Windows 10, Windows 8.1 and Windows 8, follow these steps.

  1. Open Registry Editor.
  2. Go to the following Registry path:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics

    Tip: See how to jump to the desired Registry key with one click.

  3. You will see a string (REG_SZ) value named IconSpacing. It is responsible for horizontal icon spacing. Its value data uses the following formula:
    -15*horizontal spacing between icons in pixels

    For example, by default it is -1125, which means 75 pixels (px):

    -15*75 = -1125

    If you want to increase it, just calculate a new value. For example, to set it to 100 px, you need to set the IconSpacing value data as follows:

    -15*100 = -1500

    Windows 10 change icon spacing

  4. Repeat the same trick for the IconVerticalSpacing value, which is responsible for vertical spacing.
  5. Now, sign out from your user account and log in back. Right click the Desktop and uncheck "Align icons to grid". Then tick it back.align icons to grid The icon spacing will be changed!

After: after

That's it. To undo this change, all you need to do is set IconSpacing and IconVerticalSpacing parameters to -1125 and you are done.

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