How to work with Windows 11 Widget Panel.

Windows 11 has introduced a brand new widgets panel, where you can access a number of the latest information using a series of topical boxes (called Microsoft Information Cards). It consists of two sections: a top section that offers widgets for the weather, sports, your latest photos and other personalized topics, and a news section that offers clickable headlines from a variety of sources.

Here’s how to get the most out of existing Windows 11 widgets.

Access your widgets

To access the widget, select the widget icon in the taskbar (this is what the square looks like divided into white and blue). You can also hit the Windows + W keys or, if you’ve got a touch screen, swipe left.

You’ll probably see a variety of starter widgets at the top that will give you information about sports scores, weather, stock prices, and any images in your OneDrive account. There’s also a search field and a button that lets you add new widgets. Under it, you can scroll down to find multiple news sources.

Adjust your widget.

You can change your widget panel in different ways.

  • To move your widget around, long press on the top of the widget until you see an open hand. (This is the opposite of a “pointing” hand, which enables you to click on a link.) You can then change your position on the panel.
  • To resize a widget, remove it from your panel, or customize it, click on the three dots in the upper right corner. The choice you see depends on the widget. For example, the weather widget can be small, medium, or large, and you can customize it to set the default location and work in Fahrenheit or Celsius. Can The photo app, meanwhile, is only medium or large in size and has no other features.

The three “more” dots allow you to adjust the size of the widget, customize it, or remove it.

  • Click the widget name in the upper left corner, and you’ll be taken to a separate page where you can access more information.
  • If you want to see the current selection of available widgets, click the “Add Widget” button between your widget and the news feed. It’s not a big list right now – I’ve made 11 counts, all available from Microsoft. Hopefully, however, additional third party entries will come.

Windows 11 doesn't have many widgets yet, but that may change.

Windows 11 doesn’t have many widgets yet, but that may change.

News feed

The news section is below the “Add Widget” button. It is headed by a “Top Stories” section that highlights several headlines, followed by individual stories. Both come with Facebook-like icons that you can link to each story (including thumbs up, heart, “surprised,” “thinking,” “sad, or angry”).

On every news with the appropriate icon of your mood

You can “react” to every news item with the appropriate mode icon.

Select three dots next to each heading, and you can see more or less similar stories, hide stories from this source, save them later (in other words, bookmark them), or Report it Any bookmarked story will have a gray square around these three points.

Personalize your interests.

The “Add Widget” button also provides a link (in the lower left corner) that lets you tell the widget app what you are and what you are not interested in. Select a news story and “Manage interests.”

You can influence what appears in your news feed.

You can influence what appears in your news feed.

Either way, you’ll end up on the Microsoft Start Page – basically, the Settings page for Edge Browser. Using the “My Interests” tab, you can tell Windows what kind of news you want or don’t want. On the left side of the page, you can choose from the categories of News, Sports, Travel, Health, etc. As you click on each of these categories, you’ll find a list of specific topics in the main window. For example, if you select “Entertainment,” you can choose from topics such as “Celebrities,” “Music,” or “Books,” among others.

Other tabs you can choose from include “Profile” (what you call “Microsoft News Community”), “My Savings” (your saved stories), and “History” (a list of stories that You read the last 48 hours), and “Experience settings.” You want to move on to this last one: it lets you choose the language of your feed (default is English) or toggles many features on and off, including these Facebook-like reaction icons. You can also toggle some basic information cards, such as finance or weather.

If you are not in community response mode, you can remove them.

If you are not in community response mode, you can remove them.

Currently, Windows 11 Widget seems more curious or a way to take a quick break than real tools. However, if and when third party widgets become available, the widget pane can be really useful.

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