It is the 21st century, computers are more powerful than ever and perform multiple tasks at once just like the user operating it. I don’t remember a single instance when I had just one window open on my laptop; whether it be watching a movie in the corner of my screen while researching cool new topics to write about or going through raw footage in my explorer to drag onto the Premiere timeline quietly running in the background. Screen space is limited, with the average being 14 to 16 inches, most of which is usually wasted. Hence, splitting your screen visually is more practical and effective than switching between application windows every other second.
Dividing or splitting your screen can seem like a daunting task at first as there are a lot of movable aspects involved, but trust us, it is easier than it seems. Once you get the hang of it, you will never even bother to switch between tabs again and once you get comfortable with your chosen layout you wouldn’t even notice yourself effortlessly moving between windows.
5 Ways to Split Your Screen in Windows 10
There are multiple methods to split your screen; some incorporating amazing updates brought about by Windows 10 itself, downloading third-party applications specifically built for multitasking, or getting used to some cheeky windows shortcuts. Each method has its own advantages and limits but they are definitely worth a try before you head to the taskbar to switch tabs.
Method 1: Using Snap Assist
Snap Assist is the easiest method to split a screen in Windows 10. It is a built-in feature and once you get used to it you will never go back to the traditional method. It is less time consuming and doesn’t take a lot of effort with the best part being that it divides the screen into neat and tidy halves while still being open to adjustments and customizations.
1. First things first, let’s learn how to turn on Snap Assist on your system. Open your computer’s Settings by either searching through the search bar or pressing ‘Windows + I’ key.
2. Once the Settings menu is open, tap on the ‘System’ option to proceed.
3. Scroll through the options, find ‘Multi-tasking’ and click on it.
4. In the multi-tasking settings, turn on the toggle switch located under ‘Snap Windows’.
5. Once turned on, make sure all the underlying boxes are checked so you can start snapping!
6. To try snap assist, open any two windows at once and place your mouse on top of the title bar.
7. Left-click on the title bar, hold it, and drag the mouse arrow to the left edge of the screen until a translucent outline appears and then lets it go. The window will instantly snap to the left side of the screen.
8. Repeat the same step for the other window but this time, drag it to the opposite side (right-side) of the screen until it snaps into position.
9. You can adjust the size of both windows simultaneously by clicking on the bar at the center and dragging it to either side. This process works best for two windows.
10. If you need four windows, instead of dragging a window to the side, drag it to any of the four corners until a translucent outline covering that quarter of the screen appears.
11. Repeat the process for the rest by dragging them one by one to the remaining corners. Here, the screen will be divided into a 2×2 grid.
Then you can proceed to adjust individual screen size as per your requirement by dragging the middle bar.
Tip: This method also works when you need three windows. Here, drag two windows to adjacent corners and the other one to the opposite edge. You can try different layouts to find what works best for you.
By snapping, you can only work with four windows at a time but if you want more, use this with the combination of the old fashioned method explained below.
Method 2: The Old Fashion Way
This method is simple and flexible. Also, you have complete control over where and how the windows will be placed, as you have to manually place and adjust them. Here, the question of ‘how many tabs’ completely depends on your multitasking skill and what your system can handle as there is no real limit to the number of dividers that can be made.
1. Open a tab and click on the Restore Down/Maximize icon located on the top-right.
2. Adjust the tab size by dragging from the border or corners and move it by clicking and dragging from the title bar.
3. Repeat the previous steps, one by one for all the other windows you require and position them according to your preference and ease. We recommend that you start from opposite corners and adjust the size accordingly.
This method is time-consuming as it takes a while to adjust the screens manually, but because it is customized by yourself, the layout is tailor-made to your preference and needs.
Method 3: Using Third-party Softwares
If the above-mentioned methods don’t work for you, then there are a couple of third party applications that definitely will. Most of them are easy to use, as they are specifically built to increase your productivity and manage windows efficiently by making the most of your screen space. The best part is that most of the applications are free and readily available.
WinSplit Revolution is a lightweight and easy to use application. It effectively organizes all the open tabs by resizing, tilting, and positioning them in a way to use up all available screen space. You can switch and adjust windows by using the virtual number pads or predefined hotkeys. This application also lets users set custom zones.
WindowGrid is a free to use software that uses a dynamic grid while letting the user to quickly and easily customize the layout. It is unintrusive, portable and works with aero snap as well.
Acer Gridvista is a software that supports up to four windows simultaneously. This application allows the user to re-arrange the windows in two ways that either restore them to their original position or minimize them to the taskbar.
Method 4: Windows logo key + Arrow key
‘Windows logo key + Right arrow key’ is a useful shortcut used to split the screen. It works along the lines of Snap Assist but doesn’t need to be specifically turned on and is available in all Windows Operating Systems including and prior to Windows 10.
Simply click on the negative space of a window, press the ‘Windows logo key’ and ‘right arrow key’ to move the window into the right half of the screen. Now, still holding the ‘windows logo key’ press ‘upward arrow key’ to move the window to cover only the top-right quadrant of the screen.
Here is a list of some shortcuts:
- Windows Key + Left/Right Arrow Key: Snap the window to the left or right half of the screen.
- Windows Key + Left/Right Arrow Key then Windows key + Upward Arrow Key: Snap the window to the top left/right quadrant of the screen.
- Windows Key + Left/Right Arrow Key then Windows key + Downward Arrow Key: Snap the window to the bottom left/right quadrant of the screen.
- Windows Key + Downward Arrow Key: Minimize the selected window.
- Windows Key + Upward Arrow Key: Maximize the selected window.
Method 5: Show Windows Stacked, Show Windows Side by Side and Cascade Windows
Windows 10 also has some clever in-built features to display and manage all your open windows. These prove helpful as they give you a sense of how many windows are actually open and you can swiftly decide what to do with them.
You can find them by simply right-clicking on the taskbar. The ensuing menu will contain three options to split your screen, namely, Cascade Windows, Show Windows stacked, and Show windows side by side.
Let’s learn what each individual option does.
1. Cascade Windows: This is a type of arrangement where all the application windows currently running overlap each other with their title bars being visible.
2. Show Windows Stacked: Here, all the open windows get vertically stacked on top of each other.
3. Show Windows Side by Side: All the running windows will be shown next to one another.
Note: If you want to go back to the layout before, right-click on the taskbar again and select ‘Undo’.
Apart from the methods mentioned above, there’s another ace that lies under the sleeves of all windows users.
When you have a constant need to switch between two or more windows and split-screen doesn’t help you much then ‘Alt + Tab’ will be your best friend. Also known as Task Switcher, it is the easiest way to switch between tasks without using the mouse.
Recommended: Help! Upside Down or Sideways Screen Issue
Simply long-press the ‘Alt’ key on your keyboard and hit the ‘Tab’ key once to see all the windows open on your computer. Keep pressing ‘Tab’ until the window you want has an outline around it. Once the required window is selected, release the ‘Alt’ key.
Tip: When you have a lot of windows open, instead of continuously pressing ‘tab’ to switch, press the ‘right/left’ arrow key instead.
I hope the above steps were able to help you split your screen in Windows 10 but if you still have any questions regarding this tutorial or Snap Assist option then feel free to ask them in the comment’s section.