Windows offers the ability to arrange the opened apps, files, and browsers on your screen based on various layouts of your choice to take avantage of all the available space. Such an action is called “snapping” the windows. In Windows 10, snapping is done manually, through keyboard shortcuts and a dedicated menu option called Snap Assist. With Windows 11, it’s been made much easier using a visual aid feature called “Snap Layouts.” This tutorial will show you how to get snappin’!
Introducing Snap Layouts in Windows 11
While you can snap windows in Windows 10, you don’t get much variety toward the final appearance of the windows. However, with the Windows 11 Snap Layouts feature, you can snap windows covering wider screens and many more possibilities. There is simply no need to drag or resize the windows.
Windows 11 Snap Layouts are a set of predefined templates that arrange the application windows on the screen based on your choice from a “Snap Navigator.” This navigation feature immediately springs into view while you’ hover the mouse around the Maximize button.
Currently, there are six types of layouts for snapping:
- 50:50 – two equally sized windows
- 80:20 – includes a major and minor window screen
- Three-column equal layout – requires a laptop/computer screen which is fully HD-compliant at 1080p (1920×1080)
- 50:25:25 – for three window screens
- 25:25:25:25 – useful for multitasking with four open windows
- Three-column unequal layout
The actual availability of Snap Layouts displays will depend on the size of the display, so you may see more or fewer layouts. In the following screenshot of a Edge browser window, the three-column layout options are missing because it’s not a very wide screen.
How to Use Snap Layouts in Windows 11
Unlike Windows 10, snapping the windows is extremely easy with Windows 11, as it doesn’t require any dragging or resizing of the windows. You only need to move the pointer to the Maximize button of any File Explorer, browser, or other application. The Snap Layouts option will be automatically activated. Select the tiling layout you need.
In the above example of a File Explorer window, the 25:25:25:25 equal layout was chosen. This ensures the File Explorer window occupies exactly a quarter of the screen on the left. If there were other application windows open at the same time, they would also self-arrange into one of the quarters.
For managing the Snap Layouts menu in Windows 11, go to “System -> Multitasking -> Snap Windows.” Check all the available options for the best results.
How to Snap Your Windows in Windows 10
According to Microsoft, there are three ways to snap the open windows in Windows 10: using your mouse, keyboard shortcut keys, and Snap Assist.
1. Snap with Your Mouse
To snap with the mouse, just select the title bar of any application window and drag it all the way to the corners of your screen. When you release the pointer, it will be snapped to that position. The mouse-snapping method is quite time consuming, as it involves dragging and resizing the windows.
2. Snap with Shortcut Keys
If you want an automatic snapping feel in Windows 10 with equally-sized windows, it’s better to use the keyboard shortcut keys: Win + Arrow keys. Go to the open window first, use the keyboard shortcut, and it will automatically fix the program windows.
In the example below, the “left” arrow key was used along with the Win key. This got the Command prompt into the left corner.
Another example shows the snapping of the Microsoft Edge browser window into the right corner of the screen. For this, the Right Arrow key was used along with the Win key. The other application windows are neatly arranged in a scrollable grid layout.
3. Snap with Snap Assist
Windows 10 has a dedicated “Snap Assist” feature, which controls how you want the windows to be split. It can be accessed from the “Snap settings” system settings in the Search box.
Turn the “Snap windows” on for enabling the snapping functionality in Windows 10. Also enable the other options, such as the automatic sizing of available space and the simultaneous resizing of adjacent snapped windows.
Now you just have to click the thumbnail of the window you want snapped using Snap Assist. It will be fixed in a corner. The other windows will be neatly resized beside the first one so that there is no empty space remaining.
Using Snap Layouts in Windows
1. Snap Groups
When you snap windows together, the Windows 11 taskbar will automatically display what is called a “Snap Group.” It consists of a range of apps that have been snapped together as one unit. You can further choose any of the Snap Groups in the taskbar to keep track of what you’ve been using in association with the main app.
2. Optimize Screen Real Estate
Snapping the windows makes a perfect grid out of every available pixel on your screen. This gives you a direct glimpse into many of the open windows. Whether you are working on complex CAD models, coding programs, or high resolution video editing, your ability to visualize things just got better.
3. Instant and Precise Fingertip Control Over the Apps
With Snap Layouts, you no longer waste time minimizing and maximizing the windows. Everything you need is right there on the screen. This does feel counterintuitive at first, as maximizing and minimizing the windows is so integral to the mouse-display interaction. But now with fast and accurate fingertip control, you can interact with the apps more naturally.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I use the Maximize button along with Snap Layouts in Windows 11?
Yes, you may continue to click the Maximize button in Windows 11 to resize the current window, just like in previous Windows versions. However, to use the Snap Layouts feature, you only need to hover near the Maximize button.
2. How do I disable the Snap Layouts feature in Windows 11?
The Snap Layouts feature in Windows 11 feels very natural and does not force itself upon the user. You can still completely disable it from “System -> Multitasking -> Snap Windows” by unchecking all the options.
3. How do I split my screen into three or more customized windows?
Splitting the screen into three parts natively in Windows requires a wider screen resolution (at least 1920×1080), and when you hover near the Maximize button, you will see the options. However, if you want a more customized layout with three or more resizable screens, use a Windows functionality called PowerToys with FancyZones.
Read on to learn how to customize the way you split your screen in Windows – it’s especially useful in gaming. Also learn how to use the multiple desktops feature for different configurations.