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!


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

  1. Alexandre

    Can you do this automatically in Winaero Tweaker?

    1. Abhishek Kumar

      Winaero Tweaker already has the option.

      1. izri

        Where? Cant find it.

  2. Sal

    I’m running Win 10 Pro 1803 on a desktop PC

    In Winaero Tweaker Under Advanced Appearance and Settings > Icons, if I change the font to anything higher than the default size of 9, then characters with descenders like g or y get cut off. Anything above font size 11 and the underscore disappears. I’ve tried this with Segoe UI, Arial Unicode MS, Arial, Calibri … any font I try this happens.

    Is there a particular font to use that works, or is there another setting that increases the allowable space for the characters so that a higher font will work properly?

  3. Frank Doerger

    Thank you for sharing your time and knowledge.
    Can you please tell me how to increase the size of ICONS in Firefox’s Bookmarks?
    Thank you.

  4. karthik

    i want to Uninstall Winaero tweaker
    i have uninstall winaero tweaker but the style of handwritting
    please i want my normal style

    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      1. install Winaero tweaker back again
      2. reset the font options you have changed
      3. uninstall it!
      You are done.

  5. Albert Venosa

    I have tried several suggestions found on the Internet, but I cannot freeze my desktop icons where they are now in Windows10. How do you do this in Winaero?


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