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

  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. 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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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

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

  1. 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?

  2. 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.

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

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

  4. 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?

    1. Hi Vanessa

      It seems your question needs a bit of clarification. Usually the Desktop icons do not move by themself so THEY ARE FREEZED if you want to use this terminus. In what case or scenario do you mean to have their positions freezed because otherwise they would lose it?


  5. what I don’t understand is I change my font settings in Settings, and scaling as big as I can go for my tablet, and I even make the font larger changing the system font, but the font in Winaero for all the settings, is still so small, and the only font that gets bigger is the TITLE BAR font with the main menu at the top. I have commented on this over and over. This is the only program I have that has too small of font. I would donated a long time ago, like years ago, if you would have made it so we can see the font size larger or make it larger, like other freeware programs do.

  6. icon font changes BOTH font of desktop icon text AND file explorer FONT in win 11!!!
    Not desired behaviour. Allow to choose one or the other.

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