How to Use Snap Layouts in Windows 11
Use Snap Layouts in Windows 11 (Guide)
How to Use Snap Layouts in Windows 11: Microsoft finally released Windows 11 on 5th October. As its name implies, Windows has long been excellent at rearranging and Managing program windows, but Snap Layouts elevate the Operating System to the next level. And it can be better known for its rounded window borders and centered taskbar, but you find that the new Snap Layouts feature (also called Snap Assist) is a more helpful UI innovation. It is easy to use, as we will explain.
How did Snap Layouts work?
Now started with this new productivity tool, you move the mouse over on the Maximize icon in a program at the window’s upper-right corner. When you do so, you will see various layouts options.
Keep in mind that this feature is not supported in every application. In my tests, the Spotify and firefox programs just showed the old Maximize option. However, we can still position them into a Snap Layout after starting the process with an app that supports the feature.
The options will be based on your screen dimensions; in my test, 15-inch Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 runs on Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22000.176, and its display scale is set to the recommended 150%, we got the four options shown above, that comes with the arrangements of two, three, and four windows. Microsoft previously announced a new layout option, three equal windows stacked or side-by-side, but that doesn’t appear on the laptop since it’s only designed for large screens of over 24 inches.
You then move the mouse cursor over the layout diagram onto the shape you want to fit into your current application. It will highlight the spot with a color. Here it’s the default blue color, but you can choose whatever you want in Settings > Personalization for your Accent color.
After you click on the spot where you want the current window to living, you see the full on-screen layout with the other available spots shown using Fluent design Acrylic effects that blur the background. However, the other running apps are shown as options for filling the placeholders.
Please tap on the app you want in each box in succession, or return to your re-sized window to leave the desktop as it was. Please note that, as with Windows 10, you can re-size snapped windows, and the neighboring windows will shrink or fill on the resulting area to keep everything tidy. You cannot drag the thumbnails to another spot. Instead, you can fill the Windows each spot one at a time. After you fill all the spots, your screen will something look like that are given (below):
Using Snap Layouts via the keyboard is an alternative way. Use Windows Key (Right Arrow or whichever direction you want to snap the window towards) to move and re-size a window in half. If you do not want a half-screen snap, here, you can use the Windows Arrow key combination on the next screen. For example, if you want the window to fit precisely in the top right quadrant of the screen, use the Windows Right Arrow key followed by Windows Key–Up Arrow. It works into Windows 10, but in Windows 11, you will get a new Snap Layout look, and the feature is mentioned next.
However, as in Windows 10, you can drag a window title bar to a corner or edge of the display to take up precisely a half or a quarter of the screen real estate, but with Windows 11, If you do not need to drag it to the edge or corner: The Acrylic outline of the snap position appears well before you get to an edge or corner.
After creating a Snap Layout, then you can see the app’s position within that arrangement (while the app supports Snap Layouts) from its Taskbar thumbnail, with icons for the other apps in the Group:
How Do You Turn Off Snap Layouts?
If you can not stand Snap Layouts, go to Settings > System Multitasking. There, you can configure the settings for Snap Layouts, which include completely disabling them and back to the windowing conventions of Windows 10. Please note that you do not get the ability to snap windows to the sides or corners with Windows keyboard shortcuts.
We can also turn off all the individual features mentioned above with a series of checkboxes (given below), such as the “When I drag a window, let me snap it without dragging it to the screen edge” option.
One drawback is there is no way of using Snap Layouts via touch screen. I like simply clicking something on the screen other than moving a trackpad or mouse to aim it on a button. Since Microsoft will be big on touch screens, including them on all Microsoft’s Surface devices, I did hope that they did address this issue at some point.
More Windowing Features
The related update in Windows 11 is that when you manage windows the old way, drag a window title bar to the corner or any side of the screen to have a new, more helpful look. As it’s given below, when you drag a window title bar to the corner of the screen, now you see the four-up layout complete with a Fluid design acrylic effect:
Now, the final windowing side note on the plus side: I’m thrilled that Microsoft offers users the features to enable Title Bar Window Shake—a feature formerly known as Aero Shake, and one I use several times a day. It seemed like Microsoft was abandoning this capability with Windows 11, but here you can see the option to turn it on into the Settings screenshot above.
For the Advanced Tinkerers
If Snap Layouts do not offer enough customization for you, or If you want similar functionality in Windows 10, then check out Microsoft PowerToys. This utility suite offers a tool called FancyZones, which is pretty much duplicates the Snap Layout with even more customization.
After installing FancyZones, PowerToys is enabled by default, and you can hold down Shift to drag a window to get the layout choices (so you can customize the mouse and keyboard actions that trigger FancyZones). You can even create custom layouts:
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