Windows has always been a great environment for multitasking, with the ability to run multiple applications at once and switch between them with relative ease.
In Windows 10, Microsoft has tightened the catch mechanism and expanded its functionality. These days, the latest version of Windows 10 offers a number of ways to split your screen into multiple windows and get real work done, with better support for higher resolution displays and multiple monitors.
One of Windows 10's major contributions to split-screen multitasking is its Snap Wizard, which makes it easier for you to select an open application window when choosing which applications to arrange on your screen. How to use it:
Step 1: Select the window that you want to align with one half of the screen and drag it to the edge.
step 2: A translucent outline to which it will snap will appear. When you're happy with it, let go and your window will click into place. Alternatively, you can press the Windows key and the left or right arrow key to align the last selected window to one side of the screen.
Step 3: If you have other windows or applications open, when the selected window snaps into place, you'll be presented with a number of options that allow you to fill the other half of the screen. Click on one and it will automatically snap to the other window.
Once you have your windows in place, you can easily resize them by dragging the divider. However, there is a limit to how thin a window can be to avoid creating windows that are so small that they are unusable.
Would you like to do this faster on your keyboard? There is a shortcut for splitting windows that is very useful once you get used to the process: in an active window, press the Windows logo key, then press either the left or right arrow key. This should automatically assign one side of the screen and split the window there. Do the same for a new window and you'll have a split screen set up in no time!
Snap more than two windows
If you have a large or high resolution display, you can take advantage of all of that extra screen real estate by snapping more than two windows into place. With Corner Snap, you can snap up to four different windows into place.
Step 1: Drag and drop your first window into the corner where you want it to snap into place. Alternatively, you can press the Windows key and the left or right arrow followed by the up or down arrow.
Step 2: If you do the same with a second window on the same side, two windows will snap into place. The corner snap is then activated. Similar to snapping just one window, you have the option of filling the empty area with a third one.
Step 3: To bring the fourth window into play, drag the third window to the corner, then choose another application from the snap wizard to complete the four-window setup.
Note that a 2020 update to Windows 10 updated this design with four windows and all the latched windows act as a single window. This may not sound like important, but it comes in handy when you need to do something else, such as For example, open an additional app or file while you work with your locked windows. These are now staying together, waiting for you to return.
Disable Snap Assist and adjust the settings
If Snap Assist gets in your way, it's easy to turn it off.
Step 1: Look for Settings in the Windows search bar. Click on the relevant entry.
Step 2: Select the system icon and click Multitasking in the left menu.
Step 3: The quickest way to turn the Snap Assistant off is to simply click the Shift button below the Snap windows until it's in the "Off" position. If you don't want to completely disable the Snap Wizard, but don't want some of its features to be enabled, you can hold the Snap window toggle to the On position, and then clear the check boxes next to one or more of the following options:
- When I align a window, it automatically adjusts it to fit the space available
- As you snap a window, show what I can snap next to it
- When I resize a snapped window, I'm resizing an adjacent snapped window at the same time
Customize grids with a third-party app
Are you looking for something that is a little more customizable for complex projects? There are third-party apps out there that allow more specific, grid-like changes to your windows, so you can get all of your favorite tools exactly where you want them, and in the right size. The Windows 10 native option is great, but if you want a little more we recommend taking a look at AquaSnap.
AquaSnap lets you create and customize as many split windows as you need. The snap function works similarly to the Windows version, but it's a bit more flexible and comes with some nice additional tools like snapping small windows and other tricks. AquaSnap is generally free to download and use, although there are premium versions of it. The free tier continues to offer many of the same features as the Premium Professional version, including window docking, window snapping, window stretching, and window transparency, to name a few.