Working with multiple apps simultaneously can be time-consuming and inconvenient at times. Thankfully, Microsoft offers several ways to organize apps on the desktop. The software giant has already delivered a robust multitasking experience on Windows 10, and with Snap assist on Windows 11, Microsoft took it to the next level. Whether you work on a laptop, or monitor or have a multi-screen setup, here’s how to use split screen on Windows.
Unlike macOS, you don’t need to use third-party apps to view apps side-by-side on Windows. The feature is built right into the OS. Snap assist isn’t entirely new, though. It has been available since Windows 7 days. However, the feature was limited to snapping only two windows side by side. Windows 10 improved the support for up to four apps, and Windows 11 takes it even further with snap layouts and app suggestions.
Method 1: Arrange apps using Snap Assist
Snap Assist offers one of the effective ways to enable split screen on Windows 10 and 11. Let’s check it in action.
- When a bunch of app windows are open, select an app you want to arrange on the screen. Click on the title bar and move it left or right until you see a blank window taking up half the screen. Release your fingers from the trackpad or mouse.
- Check the other half of the display with your opened apps. Select an app window to enable a split screen.
- Move the cursor right in the middle and check the vertical bar. Select and move it to the left or right to resize the window.
- Based on your monitor size and display resolution, you can also snap three or four app windows side by side. Select the title bar on an app window and drag it to the top/bottom right or left corner. Release your mouse.
- Repeat the same for other opened apps and drop them to other corners of your screen.
While the trick above gets the job done, it’s not the most user-friendly way to split screen on Windows. Instead, we recommend using keyboard shortcuts to split app windows on the desktop.
Method 2: Use keyboard shortcuts to split screen in Windows
If you don’t want to deal with the drag-and-drop method, mesmerize keyboard shortcuts to snap app windows in no time.
- Keep an app window in focus and press Windows + left/right arrow keys to pin it on the left or right side of the screen.
- Check app suggestions on the other side and use the arrow keys to switch between them. Hit enter and check the split screen in action.
- You can also snap three or four app windows using the keyboard shortcuts. Select an app and press the usual Windows + left/right arrow keys. Then, press Windows + up/down arrow keys to pin at the top or bottom corner.
- Check the display thumbnail for other apps and click on it to arrange them.
- Once all four app windows are open, select an app and press Windows + left/right keys to move it to the left or right side.
As always, you can move the cursor over the thin separator between apps and resize the app window to your preference. Once you get used to keyboard shortcuts, you won’t return to the usual drag-and-drop method. This one is quicker and much better than the traditional method.
Method 3: Snap Layouts and Snap Groups in Windows 11
Microsoft has fixed many Windows 10 shortcomings with the Windows 11 update. The company has introduced Snap Layouts and Snap Groups, which are built on top of Snap Assist, giving you a new way to use split screen.
- Open an app on the desktop and hover the cursor over the maximize icon. The system shows ready-to-use snap layouts.
- Select a relevant option to arrange the current app window.
- Check app suggestions for other layouts and click on a relevant window to place it side by side.
You can also drag an app window and move it to the top of the screen. You should notice snap layouts appearing at the top. Drop the app window to a relevant location and add another app in the split view.
Windows 11 also comes with another neat add-on called Snap Groups. It remembers and saves your snap layouts. You can open all your apps in your preferred layout with a single click only. Go over our separate guide to learn more about Snap Groups.
What to do if these options aren’t available
If you’re not seeing the options above, you may have disabled multi-tasking features in Windows 11. Here’s how to re-enable them:
- Hit the Windows + I keys to open Settings. Select System from the side menu.
- Scroll to Multi-tasking.
- Enable the Snap windows toggle and expand it.
- Enable the checkmark beside all the options.
Now, you are all set to use Snap Layouts on Windows 11.
Get work done in style
If you want more control over your active apps, use FancyZones from PowerToys. It’s basically a Snap assist on steroids and offers preset layouts, better customization and more. Developed by Microsoft, PowerToys carries a bunch of tools to elevate your Windows setup. You can check our dedicated guide to learn our top five PowerToys features. Hopefully, Microsoft will implement some of them in the upcoming Windows 12.