Windows 11 will soon allow third-party Widgets — this is big

Windows 11 Widgets are poised to get a lot more useful later this year, when Microsoft says it will begin allowing developers to build their own Widgets via the software giant’s Adaptive Cards platform.

The news comes to us courtesy of a blog post (opens in new tab) attributed to Microsoft exec Panos Panay, and it’s potentially a big deal. Widgets were a promising Windows 11 feature that proved deeply underwhelming at launch. 

In our Windows 11 review, I criticized Microsoft for not doing more with the operating system’s new Widgets menu, a customizable pane of auto-updating Widgets which pops out from the left side of the screen whenever you mouse over the Widgets icon on the taskbar (or press Windows key + W). On paper, it sounds like a great feature — an unobtrusive smorgasbord of up-to-date information that can be tailored to your needs and summoned with the press of a button.

Windows 11 desktop showing widgets menu open

(Image credit: Future)

But in practice, it’s not a very useful menu because Windows 11 Widgets are too limited to offer great value for most users. There are currently 11 Widgets you can enable (up from 8 at launch) to display up-to-date info about everything from the latest sports scores and news headlines to stocks and the weather. It’s a decent array of information, but none of the Widgets are more useful or quicker to access than a bookmark in your browser to a page with the same data. 

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