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How to Use Snap Layouts in Windows 11 – Guide
Organize your desktop just the way you like it with new Windows 11 Snap Layouts feature. Our expert walkthrough helps you master this useful UI tool.
Windows 11 may be best known for its centered taskbar and rounded window edges, but you may find that the new Snap Layouts feature (sometimes also called Snap Assist) is a more useful UI innovation. Windows, as its name implies, has long been excellent at managing and rearranging program windows, but Snap Layouts takes the operating system to the next level. Using them is simple, as we’ll explain.
How do snap layouts work?
To start using this new productivity tool, just hover over the Maximize icon in the upper-right corner of the program window. As you do this, you will see a variety of layouts.
Please note that not every app supports this feature. In my tests, Firefox and Spotify programs only showed the old Maximize option. However, you can still place them inside a Snap Layout after starting the process with an app that supports the feature.
The options available will depend on the dimensions of the screen; in my 15 inch surface test Laptop 3 running Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22000.176 with the display scale set to the recommended 150%, I only got the four options shown above, with two-, three-, and four-window arrangements. Microsoft recently announced a new layout option, three equal windows side by side or stacked, but it didn’t show up on mine. laptop, as it was only designed for large screens over 24 inches.
Then you hover your mouse cursor over the layout diagram in the way you want to fit your current application. The location will be highlighted with a color. This is the default blue, but use whatever color you choose in Settings > Customization for your accent color.
After tapping where you want the current window to remain, you’ll see the full layout on screen with the other available locations shown using flowing design acrylic effects that blur the background. All other running applications are shown as options to fill in placeholders.
Tap the app you want in each box in succession or simply go back to the resized window to leave the desktop as it was. Note that, as in Windows 10, you can resize the fitted windows and the neighboring window will shrink or fill in the resulting area to keep everything tidy. You cannot drag thumbnails to another location. Instead, Windows makes you fill in each of the spaces, one at a time. After filling in all the dots, your screen will look like this (below):
An alternative way to use Snap Layouts is via the keyboard. Use the Windows – right arrow key (or any direction you want to move the window) to move and resize a window in half. If you don’t want a half-screen adjustment, you can use the Windows key and arrow combination on the next screen. For example, to make a window fit exactly in the upper right quadrant of the screen, use the Windows key – Right arrow followed by the Windows key –Up Arrow. Actually, this already works on Windows 10, but on Windows 11 you get the new Snap Layout look and feel. feature mentioned below.
Also like in Windows 10, you can drag a window title bar to a corner or edge of the screen to get up exactly half or a quarter of the screen space, but with Windows 11 you don’t need to drag it to the edge or corner: an acrylic outline of the snap position appears just before you reach an edge or corner.
Once you’ve created a Snap Layout, you can see the position of an app within that array (provided the app supports Snap Layouts) through its taskbar thumbnail, along with the icons of the other apps in that group:
How do you disable snap layouts?
If you don’t support Snap Layouts, go to Settings > Multitasking System. Here, you can configure the settings for Snap Layouts, including turning them off completely and going back to Windows 10 windowing conventions. Note that you can’t snap windows to the sides or corners with Windows keyboard shortcuts.
You can also turn off all features mentioned above via a series of checkboxes (below), such as the option “When I drag a window, let me adjust it without dragging to the edge of the screen”.
One drawback is that there is no way to use Snap Layouts via a touch screen. I like to just tap something on the screen instead of moving a mouse or trackpad to point it at a button. As Microsoft is also big on touchscreens, including them on all Surface devices, I hope they will address this issue at some point.
more windows Features
A related update in Windows 11 is that when you arrange windows the old-fashioned way by dragging a window title bar to the side or corner of the screen, it also has a new, more useful look and feel. As you can see below, when you drag a window’s title bar to a corner of the screen, you see the four-up layout complete with fluid design acrylic effect:
AN final note on the bright side of windows: I’m delighted that Microsoft is offering users the ability to enable the Title Bar Window Shake – a feature formerly known as Aero Shake, and one that I use several times a day. It looked like Microsoft was abandoning this feature with Windows 11, but you can see the option to enable it in the Settings screenshot above.
For advanced repairmen
If Snap Layouts doesn’t offer enough customization for you, or if you want similar functionality in Windows 10, check out the Microsoft PowerToys. This experimental set of utilities offers a tool called FancyZones, which virtually duplicates Snap Layout with even more customization.
After installing PowerToys, FancyZones is enabled by default, and you can simply hold down the Shift key while dragging a window to get layout options (you can customize the keyboard or mouse actions that trigger FancyZones).
From the news www.pcmag.com
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