- Connecting multiple audio devices is pretty common for most Windows users.
- There are several methods you can use to switch audio output device on a Windows 11 device, including through the sound settings, volume mixer, and audio icon in the taskbar.
- You can also use third-party programs to assign a keyboard shortcut to swap audio output devices on Windows 11.
Do you have more than one audio device attached to your computer? No problem! With Windows 11, you can easily switch between them using one of several methods shown below.
Whether you want to switch to a different set of speakers, headphones, or another audio output device, the process is simple and straightforward.
In this guide, let me walk you through the steps for switching audio output on a Windows 11 device so that you can choose the best audio output option for your needs.
Let’s get started!
Table of contents:
- How to switch audio output device from the taskbar
- Change audio output device using the Settings app
- Use Volume Mixer to switch output device in Windows 11
- How to switch audio output device with the keyboard shortcut
- Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
- Easily swap audio output device on Windows 11 – conclusion
How to switch audio output device from the taskbar
Just as with older versions, you can select an audio output device from the taskbar, specifically, from the Quick Settings panel.
Here’s how to switch audio output devices from the taskbar:
- Click on the “Volume” icon on the taskbar.
- Press the sideways arrow icon next to the volume bar.
- Select the audio output device of your choice.
- Windows immediately switches to that audio output device.
Steps with more details:
The first thing to do is open the Windows 11 Quick Settings panel. To do that, click the “Volume” icon on the taskbar. You can also use the “Windows logo key + A” keyboard shortcut to open the Quick Settings panel.
After opening the Quick Settings panel, click the side arrow icon next to the volume slider bar. In recent versions, the arrow icon also shows the current audio output device icon. For example, since I’m using headphones, the Quick Settings panel shows the headphones icon right before the sideways arrow.
You will see a list of all the available audio output devices in the Quick Settings panel as soon as you click the arrow icon. Select an audio output device of your choice, and Windows will instantly switch the audio output to the selected device.
Change audio output device using the Settings app
As you might expect, you can change the audio output device directly from the Windows 11 Settings app. This method lets you access audio device properties to modify additional settings like changing the audio format, choosing audio enhancements, mono audio, enabling spatial audio, and more.
Here’s how to change the audio output device using the Settings app:
- Open the Windows 11 Settings app.
- Click “System” on the left sidebar.
- Go to the “Sound” page in the Settings app.
- Expand the “Choose where to play sound” section.
- Choose the audio output device of your choice.
- With that, Windows 11 switches the audio output immediately.
Steps with more details:
To open the Windows 11 Settings app, you can either click on the Start menu and select the “Settings” icon, or you can search for “Settings” using the search bar located on the taskbar.
Once the Settings app is open, you will see a list of categories on the left sidebar. Click on the “System” category and then click on the “Sound” option. This will open the Sound page, which contains various settings related to your audio devices and sound.
On the Sound page, you will see a section called “Choose where to play sound.” Click on it to expand it. You will see a list of connected and available audio devices.
Click on the device of your choice from the list to switch the audio output device.
Windows 11 will switch the audio output immediately, and any audio you play will output through the selected device.
Use Volume Mixer to switch output device in Windows 11
Windows 11 has a built-in Volume Mixer that allows you to swap audio output devices.
Here’s how to swap audio output devices using Volume Mixer in Windows 11:
- Right-click on the volume icon on the taskbar.
- Choose the “Open volume mixer” option.
- Select a device from the “Output device” dropdown.
- With that, Windows 11 immediately switches the audio output device.
Steps with more details:
First, locate the volume icon on the taskbar. This is usually located in the bottom-right corner of the screen, right before the clock. Once you have found the volume icon, right-click on it and select the “Open Volume Mixer” option. This will open the volume mixer window, which allows you to adjust the volume levels of individual apps and devices.
In the volume mixer window, you will see a dropdown menu labeled “Output device.” This dropdown menu allows you to choose the audio output device you want. Simply select the device of your choice from the “Output device” dropdown menu.
With that, Windows 11 will immediately switch the audio output device to the one you selected. Any audio that you play will be output through the selected device.
How to switch audio output device with the keyboard shortcut
You can assign and use a keyboard shortcut to change audio output devices in Windows 11. It’s convenient if you frequently switch between different audio output devices, such as headphones and speakers. To make it happen, we will use a free, portable, and open-source software called “Audio Switcher.”
Here’s how to switch audio output devices with a keyboard shortcut.
First, head over to the official GitHub page and download the “Audio Switcher” application. Being a portable application, there is no need to install the software.
Audio Switcher download link: https://github.com/xenolightning/AudioSwitcher_v1/releases
After downloading the application, double-click on the exe file to open it.
Once the Audio Switcher application is open, we need to enable a few options. For that, go to the “Settings” tab and select the following options.
- Close to Tray — closing the application minimized it to the system tray.
- Start when Windows starts — Start the application as soon as Windows starts. That way, you can use the hotkeys to switch audio output devices.
- Enable quick switch mode – This option lets you change audio output devices from the context menu that appears when you right-click on the application icon on the system tray.
Next, go to the “Hot Keys” tab. This is where you can assign shortcuts for specific audio output devices. Click the “Add” icon at the bottom of the window.
Select the primary audio output device from the “Output” dropdown menu.
After that, select the “Hot Key” field and press the keyboard shortcut you want to assign. In my case, I want to switch to my primary audio output device as soon as I press the “F8” key. So, I pressed the “F8” key. Click on the “Add” button.
The hot key setting is added to the list as soon as you press the button.
Press the “Add” icon again.
Use the “Output” dropdown menu and “Hot Key” fields to add a secondary output device. In my case, I configured it to switch to my laptop speakers when I pressed “F9.”
Follow the same steps to add as many output devices as possible.
Finally, close the application.
From now on, press the assigned keyboard shortcut to switch between audio output devices. For example, in my case, pressing F8 and F9 keys will switch to my primary and secondary audio output devices, respectively.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Here are a few frequently asked questions about switching audio output devices on Windows:
Yes, you can change audio output device from the taskbar. Click on the taskbar volume icon, click the “Sideways arrow” icon, and choose the audio device of your choice.
Windows has no built-in option to swap between audio output devices with a keyboard shortcut. However, you can use a third-party application like Audio Switcher to assign keyboard shortcuts to switch audio devices.
Yes, you can use different audio output devices for different apps via Windows 11 Volume Mixer window. To open it, right-click on the taskbar volume icon and select “Open Volume Mixer.”
If your audio output device is not showing up in the list, you may need to check that it is properly connected and not disabled. You should also ensure the device is turned on and functioning properly. If the issue persists, you may need to update the audio drivers for the device or run the audio troubleshooter in Windows.
To change the audio output to HDMI, click on the taskbar volume icon, click the “Sideways arrow” icon, and choose the HDMI audio output device from the list.
Easily swap audio output on Windows 11 – conclusion
In conclusion, switching audio output devices in Windows 11 is a simple process that can be done through the Settings app, the volume mixer, or using a keyboard shortcut. Whether you need to switch between headphones and speakers or use different audio output devices for different apps, there are multiple methods available to choose from.
I hope this simple and easy Windows how-to guide helped you.
If you are stuck or need help, send an email, and I will try to help as much as possible.