Snap Layouts in Windows 11 give you six options for organizing your desktop.
Two windows split 50/50
Two windows split 70/30
Treble windows are divided into thirds
Three windows split 50/25/25
Four windows split into quarters
Three windows split 25/50/25
This is likely easier to see than to read. You can initiate a Snap Layout by hovering your mouse over the maximize icon of a window.
You can also use Windows + Z to open the Snap Layout menu. This shortcut is crucial because some apps like Steam and Discord have customized their title bars so that the maximize buttons don’t trigger the popup in the same way as most Windows apps.
Click one of the Snap Layout icons and it will start. Each screen region will display the windows that you have currently open. Clicking on any of the icons will place it. Animations are also very nice.
The 70/30 layout is what I use most. It closely matches how I used to layout my screen before Snap Layouts became popular. I prefer having two Chrome windows, one for Twitter, one for my calendar, and other secondary tasks. Although I might experiment with the 50/25/25 Split, I am not always going to need all the vertical space in my secondary window.
Snap Layouts are more useful for the larger and better resolution of your monitor. The evolution of Microsoft’s snap functions is a reflection of the way that PCs have changed over the past two decades. Most people used CRTs and low-resolution LCDs in Windows XP. They only used one maximized window. Windows 7 was released with 1080p monitors. This meant that we could use at least two windows simultaneously, so snapping was an excellent shortcut. Although I still have a 1440p monitor, anyone with a huge 4K screen can use the quadrant view.
Snap Layouts allow you to place windows in the exact positions you desire, but they are not rigid. You can hover your mouse over any area where windows touch to get a bar that allows you to dynamically resize them.
You can also grab the edge of a window with your mouse, just as in Windows 10. This will allow it to snap into place. Each of these methods works well together, and they aren’t particularly difficult. There are many customization options available under System > Multitasking. You can disable Snap Layout features such as windows automatically resizing. Windows 11 defaults to preventing you from shaking a window to minimize the rest of the screen. This is something I accidentally did many times, as well as once in Windows 10.
While Snap Layouts may not be worth upgrading Windows 11 for to, they are the feature that I most expect to use over the next few decades. This is exactly what I want in a Windows 11 release.
Learn how to use it It can be challenging to master snap layouts at first. This is especially true when it comes time to choose which app to use. Once you have mastered snap layouts you will find it much easier to check your Twitter or Slack accounts, while simultaneously working on a document and watching a video. While it may be a bit more difficult to keep two apps open at once on a small screen, it is worth trying out different layouts to find your preferred method.