How to Snap Windows Side by Side on a Dual Monitor Setup
Snap is a great productivity feature of Windows 7 and Windows 8, which we covered only briefly here at 7 Tutorials. On a computer with a single monitor, you can use it both with the mouse and the keyboard but on a multi display setup, it doesn’t seem to work the same way. At least not to snap windows side by side. How do you snap windows if you have two or more displays? This tutorial will show how.
Using Snap on a Single Monitor
For those who don’t know, Snap (or Aero Snap) is a feature of Windows 7 and Windows 8 which enables you to quickly resize and arrange open windows. One of the ways I use it most, is to snap two application windows side by side, each taking half of the display, so that I can work with them in parallel.
To do this, you can use the mouse to drag the title bar of the first window to the left or right side of the screen until an outline of the expanded window appears. Then, release the mouse to expand the window. Now, do the same (but change the side) for the second window. A visual demo of how this works can be found in the video below:
Using Snap on Multiple Monitors
If you try to do the same with the mouse on a multi display setup, it simply doesn’t work. However, snap is available even when working with multiple screens. The trick is that you need to use the keyboard instead of the mouse: the shortcuts for snapping windows side by side are the Windows + Left/Right keys. Let’s see how they work on a dual monitor setup.
I have an Internet Explorer window, in Windows 8, opened on my main display.
Once I press Windows+Left it snaps to the left half of the main display.
Pressing Windows+Right makes it get back to its original position.
Pressing Windows+Right again, makes it snap to the right half of the main display.
Pressing the same combination one more time, takes it to the left half of the secondary display.
Press Windows+Right again and it is shown in its original position, but on the secondary display.
Press Windows+Right one last time and it snaps to the right half of the secondary display.
To revert the process, use Windows+Left.
Pretty cool isn’t it?
Another Cool Trick for a Multi Monitor Setup
Another less known trick for using snap on a multi monitor setup is the Windows+Shift+Left/Right keyboard combination. This makes Windows 7 and Windows 8 keep the position of the active window while switching it between displays.
To exemplify, here is my Internet Explorer window open on the main display.
Pressing Windows+Shift+Right moves the window to the secondary display where it has the same position as on the main display.
Pressing Windows+Shift+Left will make it go back to the main display.
I hope you will find these tips useful. If you want to know other ways you can snap windows on your screen, I recommend viewing this video demo from Microsoft: Snap. If you have any questions on this feature, don’t hesitate to leave a comment.