June 25, 2021

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Snap two windows side-by-side in Windows

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Updated: 03/06/2020 by Computer Hope

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Smart Window, also called Snap, is a feature of Microsoft Windows that lets you automatically position two windows side-by-side, without having to manually resize them. Smart Window is also useful if you don’t want to use Alt-Tab to switch between 2 windows.

Tip

Smart Window was introduced in Windows 7, and is also available in Windows 8, 8.1, and 10. If you are running an earlier version of Windows, such as Windows XP or Windows Vista, see our tips to split and arrange open windows.

Enable Snap Windows in Windows settings

If you’re running Windows 8 or 10, first make sure the Snap Windows feature is enabled in the Settings.

  1. Access the Settings by opening the Start menu and click the gear icon ⚙ on the left. Alternatively, hold down the Windows Key and press i.
  2. In the Settings menu, click System.
  3. On the left, click Multitasking.
  4. On the right, make sure Snap Windows is set to On.

Snap windows using the mouse

Follow these steps to snap windows using your mouse.

  1. Click-and-drag on the top title bar of the first window, so your mouse pointer hits either the left or right side of your screen. Let go of the window when you see the outline of the window resize to half of the screen.
  2. Choose the other window you want to view on the side of the first window. Click-and-drag the second window to the opposite side of the screen until the mouse pointer hits the side of the screen and resizes.

Snap windows using the keyboard

Follow these instructions to snap windows using your keyboard.

  1. Press the Windows key and press either the Right or Left arrow, moving the open window to either the screen’s left or right position.
  2. Choose the other window you want to view to the side of the window in step one. When using the Windows key for this step, as described in step one above, use the opposite (right or left) arrow button that you used in step one.

How to un-snap windows after snapping them

After you snap one or more windows, you can follow these steps to return them to a normal window view.

  1. Click-and-drag the window, so the mouse pointer hits the top of the screen and let go to put the window back to regular size.
  2. If you want to view a single window, click a blank spot at the top, and while holding the mouse button down, shake the window you want to view. The shaking action will minimize all other windows to the Taskbar. To re-open windows that were minimized, click and shake the window you’re using.
  3. Press the Windows key on your keyboard, and at the same time, press either the up arrow or the down arrow. The up arrow maximizes the window, and the down arrow will minimize the window.

Additional information

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