Microsoft shares the secret to making Windows 11 widgets

Windows 11 Widgets Fullscreen
(Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft recently shared guidelines and advice for creating widgets for Windows 11.
  • At the moment, the widgets panel of Windows 11 is limited to first-party content from Microsoft, but that is set to change soon.
  •  Developers will be able to build widgets as companion experiences to Win32 apps and PWAs later this year.

Windows 11 includes a widgets panel that lets you easily digest and interact with content from the web. At the moment, that panel is limited to first-party apps from Microsoft, but that is set to change later this year. Microsoft confirmed back in May 2022 that developers will be able to create widgets as companion experiences for Win32 and PWA apps. Now, the company has shared guidelines and advice for creating widgets.

Microsoft's widgets overview page (opens in new tab) breaks down the benefits of using widgets, explains how they work, and defines the terms developers need to know to create them (via Neowin). For example, some developers may not know that it's possible to create multiple widgets for a single app.

Microsoft's widget principles

  • Glanceable
    • Users can take a quick peek to get the most value out of the widget. They only need to click on it if they want richer details or deeper interactions.
  • Dependable
    • Surface frequently used information instantly to save users time in repeating those steps. Drive consistent re-engagement to your app.
  • Useful
    • Elevate the most useful and relevant information.
  • Personal
    • Provide personalized content and build an emotional connection with customers. Widgets should never contain ads. Customers are in control of their widget content and layout.
  • Focused
    • Each widget should generally focus on one main task or scenario. Widgets are not intended to replace your apps and websites.
  • Fresh
    • Content should dynamically refresh based on available context. It is up to date and provides the right content at the right time.

Third-party widgets will be powered by Microsoft's Adaptive Cards platform. Widgets will work even when an app is closed. Microsoft hasn't shared a release date for third-party widget support apart from saying that it will come "later this year."

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).