How to split your screen in Windows

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Windows is designed for multitasking. Yes, that means you can open and switch among different apps and windows. But it also means you can arrange those windows so they all appear on the screen together. 

The trick to this maneuver lies in positioning your open windows so that each one takes up a certain amount of space without obscuring each other.

Both Windows 10 and 11 offer a feature called Snap Assist to help you set up multiple windows on the screen and snap each one into place. 

The process is more flexible and versatile in Windows 11, as you can split your screen using specific layouts and zones. 

Also: Yes, you can still get a free Windows 10 upgrade. Here’s how

Let’s see how this plays out in both versions.

How to split your screen in Windows

Before we check out Snap Assist in Windows 10, let’s look at a couple of other ways to organize your open windows.

First launch a few different apps. Don’t worry about how they’re arranged on the screen. One way to organize open windows is to stack them, which puts them into columns with one window placed vertically on top of another. The layout will vary based on how many windows are open and the size of your monitor. Right-click on the taskbar and select the entry for Show windows stacked. All windows are arranged one on top of the other.

Windows stacked on desktop

Screenshot by Lance Whitney

Next, you can view your windows side-by-side. This is similar to stacking them, but here the windows are organized more as rows. The layout will vary based on how many apps are open and the size of your monitor, so you may see little or no difference between stacked view and side by side view. Right-click on the Taskbar and select Show windows side by side. Your open windows display in rows one next to the other.

Windows side by side on desktop

Show windows side by side.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney

Potentially more effective is Snap Assist. With Snap Assist, you can precisely arrange your open windows, so they each take up a specific area on the screen. For example, Snap Assist is a helpful way to display two windows side by side, especially if your screen is crowded with multiple windows.

First, make sure Snap Assist is enabled. Go to Settings > System > Multitasking. Confirm that the switch for Snap windows is turned on. Leave all the options under the setting checked.

Snap Assist enabled

Screenshot by Lance Whitney

Choose one of two windows that you want to arrange on the screen. To snap that one to the right, hold it down by the title bar, and move it to the right until you see a faint vertical bar down the middle of the screen. Then release your mouse. Alternatively, select the window and then press Win+Right Arrow Key to snap it to the right. You can also snap it to the left by dragging it there or selecting it and pressing Win+Left Arrow Key.

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The other side of the screen will display thumbnails for all your other open windows. Just click the window for the app that you want to view side by side with the first window.

Snapping two windows on desktop

Screenshot by Lance Whitney

You can snap three and four or even more windows, depending on the size of your monitor and your screen resolution. To snap three windows, pick the first one you want to arrange. Drag it to the right or press Win+Right Arrow Key. Select the second app, and it appears on the left side.

Return to the first app and press Win+Up Arrow Key to snap it to the upper right. Go back to the second app and press Win+Down Arrow Key to snap it to the lower left, and then Win+Right Arrow Key to snap it to the lower right. From the thumbnails on the left, click the app you want to see on the left side.

Snapping three windows on desktop

Screenshot by Lance Whitney

To now snap a fourth window, select the window on the left and press Win+Up Arrow Key. Then select the thumbnail for the fourth window, and it snaps into place on the bottom left.

Snapping four windows on desktop

Screenshot by Lance Whitney

Multitasking in Windows 11

Windows 11 is better at multitasking and splitting your screen thanks to visual and practical improvements to Snap Assist. To confirm that Snap Assist is enabled, go to Settings > System > Multitasking. Make sure the switch is on for Snap windows. Leave all the options below it checked.

Enabling Snap Windows in Settings

Screenshot by Lance Whitney

Open four different apps in Windows 11. Pick any window and hover your mouse pointer over its Maximize icon. As you hover over the icon, you’ll see previews for four or more different layouts. The number of layouts will vary depending on your screen resolution and the size of your monitor. On my 13-inch laptop, for example, I get four layouts.

Also: How to control Windows 11 with your voice

Let’s say you want to snap two of the open windows so they appear side by side. The first layout will position them side by side with each window taking up the same width. Hover your mouse over that layout and then click one of the two zones in that layout. Clicking the zone on the left will position your current window on the left side of the screen, while clicking the zone on the right will position it on the right side of the screen.

Choosing the layout for windows on desktop

Screenshot by Lance Whitney

You’ll now see large thumbnails for the other three windows on the other side of the screen. Click the window that you want to see side by side with the first window.

Snapping two windows on desktop

Screenshot by Lance Whitney

Next, hover your mouse pointer on top of the Maximize button for either open window. This time, choose the second layout and select the larger zone. This one provides more width to your current window and places it on the left side of the screen. Then click the thumbnail for the app that you want to view on the other side of the screen.

Choosing a different layout on desktop

Choose a different layout.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney

Next, let’s try snapping three windows. Again, hover your mouse pointer over the Maximize button for one of the two displayed windows. Hover over the third layout and select one of the three zones depending on where you want to place the current window.

Also: How to screenshot on a laptop (Dell, Lenovo, Mac)

The thumbnails for the other three windows appear in one of the two remaining spots. Click the window you wish to see in that spot.

Choosing another layout on desktop

Screenshot by Lance Whitney

The two remaining thumbnails appear in the third open spot. Click the thumbnail for the window you want to see in that spot.

Snapping three windows on desktop

Screenshot by Lance Whitney

Next, you can snap all four open windows. Again, hover over the Maximize icon for any open window. Hover over the fourth layout and click one of the four zones.

Choosing a different layout on desktop

Choose a different layout.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney

The other three windows appear in a different spot. Click one of those windows to snap it to that spot. The other two windows then appear in a third spot. Click one of them to snap it to that spot. 

Also: Windows 11’s screenshot tool gets a screen recorder

The remaining window appears in the fourth spot. Click that window to display it in that spot.

Snapping four windows on desktop

Screenshot by Lance Whitney

Finally, another way to multitask and split your screen in both Windows 10 and 11 is to use the PowerToys tool called Fancy Zones. With this tool, you can create and apply specific types of layouts to view all your open apps and windows.



Original Article

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