Microsoft is finally bringing third-party widgets to Windows 11

Microsoft is finally bringing third-party widgets to Windows 11

Microsoft is kicking off its Build 2022 developers conference today, and while new features in Windows 11 are definitely not a focus for the show, there is one thing that’s new. Later this year, the OS will allow third-party developers to offer widgets.

This is a notable change, albeit not one that’s surprising. In fact, if you follow Windows development closely, it’s something that we were actually expecting to happen at some point. While Windows 11 only supported first-party widgets at launch, the internal plan was that third-party widgets would arrive eventually, even if Microsoft didn’t say it publicly.


As it stands right now, there are only 11 widgets that are available in Windows 11. They consist of weather, sports, gaming, photos, watchlist, entertainment, traffic, To Do, Outlook Calendar, Family Safety, and tips. The weather widget even shows the temperature and weather in the taskbar, although you can’t currently swap out that information with quick info from another widget.

Widgets in Windows 11 live in their own panel, which used to be in the middle of the taskbar with everything else, but now exists at the bottom-left corner of the screen. Of course, if you’re coming straight from Windows 10, your muscle memory will think that the Start button is over there, but now that’s in the middle.

Anyway, the widgets panel isn’t changing, at least as part of this announcement. You’re just going to be able to add more different kinds of widgets to it.

Developers will be able to build out widgets in Win32 and PWA apps, and they’ll be using the Adaptive Cards platform.

Microsoft recently added search to the desktop for Windows Insiders on the Dev channel. This could lead to a future where we’ll actually be able to put widgets on the desktop, similar to how Windows was over a decade ago, but we’ll have to wait and see about that one.

About author

Rich Woods
Rich Woods

Managing Editor for XDA Computing. I've been covering tech from smartphones to PCs since 2013. If you see me at a trade show, come say hi and let me ask you weird questions about why you use the tech you use.

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