How to Split Screen in Windows and Be More Productive
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(Pocket-lint) – Windows has plenty of ways to boost your productivity and simple tricks to make your life easier. One of them is split-screen, which lets you keep Windows side-by-side and easily switch between apps, browsers, and more.
There are way more of these tools than you might think, including multiple desktop options, Snap layouts, and app groupings.
Stay with us to learn about the different split screen options and how to use them.
How to Separate Apps in Windows
Windows 10 and Windows 11 both offer the ability to “snap” apps, which is to make them stick to a part of the screen and automatically scale them to a certain size, so you can then snap to apps. other apps in different positions and create a side-by-side split-screen layout.
It’s remarkably easy to do and very intuitive once you get the hang of it:
- Place your cursor on the top edge of the first app you want to move.
- Click the left mouse button on the edge and hold it down.
- Drag the app to the side of your screen, i.e. towards the edge of the monitor.
- You should then see an opaque outline that fills the screen behind the app.
- Release the mouse button.
This action should have fixed the app to one side of your screen. You can then drag another app to the other side of the screen in the same way, which will pin it to the other side, so that the two apps are side by side in a split-screen view.
If, while doing this, you find that the app you dragged has shrunk to a quarter of its normal size, congratulations, you’ve discovered another way to split the screen. If you want to have four apps, one in each corner, follow these steps:
- Hover your cursor over the top edge of the first app you want to snap.
- Click with the left mouse button and drag it to the upper right corner of your screen.
- Release the button and a view of your other open apps will appear.
- Click on the other app you want to appear below it.
- Watch it appear.
- Repeat this process with the other apps on the left side of the screen.
If you want to avoid this, drag the app to the environment of the screen.
How to resize windows in split screen
When you have placed windows in a split-screen view, it is possible to resize them. You may want one window to be larger than the other. It’s also easy to do.
With apps side by side, place your cursor in the middle and you will see the resize icon appear. Click on it and drag it in either direction. This will minimize one window and maximize the other. Do the same until you are happy with the size of each window.
Quick capture with hotkeys
Windows keyboard shortcuts make it even easier to quickly snap apps and create a split-screen view.
Take the following steps to quickly capture apps:
- Make an application “active” by clicking on it.
- Then press and hold the Windows key on your keyboard, then use the left or right arrows to move it left or right.
- Click on a second app and repeat the process with the opposite arrow to move it the other way.
Other shortcuts are useful here:
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- Windows key + D minimizes all currently displayed applications.
- Windows key + up arrow maximizes the current active application.
- Windows key + down arrow Minimizes the active application.
If you have a two-screen or three-screen setup, you can keep pressing the Win key + left/right arrow key to move an app to each screen until it’s in the right position.
How to Use Instant Layouts in Windows 11
With Windows 11, Microsoft has made multitasking and split-screening with different windows even easier.
Snap Layouts is a special feature that makes the process even easier:
- Press Windows key + Z on your keyboard
- A window appears with different layout options
- Click on the one you like and select where you want the current app to appear on your screen.
- Then click on the next application to place it in the next place.
- Repeat the process until all the apps are distributed on the screen as desired.
This gives you several options for the size and position of your applications. Whether it’s two apps side by side or one big app with two small ones.
Optimized Snap Groups
With Windows 11, you also get what’s known as Snap Groups. Windows recognizes that you’ve used two (or more) apps side-by-side and intelligently groups them together.
If you hover over the affected app in the taskbar (e.g. Edge in the screenshot above), you’ll see icons appear with the separate app as an option to maximize it (bring it to the front ) on its own or to bring it to the fore as a group.
This is handy because if you’re working on two apps in split screen and need to click on another app for a few minutes for some reason, but then want to get back to the group, you can do that easily. This means that you don’t have to click on two apps individually again, but you can simply bring the group of apps back to the front.
Written by Adrian Willings.