Snap layouts are a neat update to the Windows OS that rolled out with Windows 11. Unlike the previous operating system’s snap-to-grid system, the layouts bring a lot more customization that can help you set up the screen exactly the way you want. Understanding how to use and set it up will help you make the best possible use of it.
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How Do Snap Layouts Work?
Snap layouts are a series of predefined zones where you can place each app for quick access. They also let you see more apps than one on your screen. Since you can select a single app or a snap layout once you have the layout set up, you can quickly cycle between different workspaces depending on what you’re doing moment-to-moment.
One important note: you can’t create snap layouts with more zones than are supported by the screen you’re using. Larger screens may have access to formats with more zones simply because there is more screen real estate.
How to Use Snap Layouts on Windows 11?
To use snap layouts, turn the feature on and then dive into assigning windows to different zones within each form according to your preference. Windows 11 isn’t majorly different from Windows 10 but getting used to the new features and optimizing your Windows 11 installation may take some time.
Turning on Snap Layouts
Snap layouts aren’t necessarily turned on within your system. Check to see if it is before you try using it without success.
- Press the Windows Key + X and choose Settings.
- Select System.
- Choose Multitasking from the right pane.
- Switch Snap Windows on.
- Read through the options and decide which you want to turn on. There is no perfect setup because it’s about what works best for you.
Once you have the optimal settings enabled, you can start using snap layouts on your system.
Understanding Snap Layout Options
Knowing which options suit you is one of the essential parts of getting your snap layouts set up. Here’s what each of the options does.
- The option to show what you can snap next to a window you’ve snapped is about setting up other windows with the same motion. Instead of going to your other open applications and arranging them in the layout, you’ll get suggestions based on your use. This is good if you want some guidance with your usage.
- Showing snap layouts when you Hover Over a Window’s Maximize Button should be active. It’s the way you start using snap layouts.
- Being able to see what snap layouts an app is part of when you hover over the taskbar button gives you the option to visualize and choose the proper layout for your task right away before you maximize the app.
- If you don’t want to pull the window to the far side of the screen every time you snap one in, choose to let you snap without going all the way over.
- Deciding to automatically fill the available space when you snap a window is a way to set everything up quickly. However, you give up the option to immediately resize or choose the size of your window. If you want more customization, don’t select this option.
- The option to resize adjacent snapped windows when you resize a window can again save time – but if you need more control over the layout, it might not be for you.
For users new to snap layouts, most of the options are great to leave on. The more you get used to the feature, the better you’ll understand which is suitable for your purposes.
Using Snap Layouts
Using snap layouts is very easy. You’ll be able to set up your window the way you want in less than a minute.
- Open each program you want to snap into a snap layout. They should all be open when you start the process to make them eligible to snap into the layout.
- Hover your cursor over the maximize button of your active program. A set of potential snap layouts with different setups will appear.
- Hover over the area of a layout you like. Choose the spot where you want the app you’re using right now to snap to.
- Click that spot when it turns blue.
- Click on the other zones if they show an app’s thumbnail in the spot where you want it. If they don’t, switch to another app you want in the zone.
- Repeat the process of selecting a zone for each app you want in the snap layout.
Now you have a snap layout active that shows all the different programs you’re using.
Making Use of Snap Layouts
If you want another way to access snap layouts without them appearing when you hover over the maximize symbol, click the Windows Key + Z. You’ll gain access to the snap layouts the same way you would when hovering over the maximize symbol.
You can also adjust the size of the panes for each window by placing your mouse between two zones. Wait until a gray bar appears and the mouse changes its icon. At that point, you can click and drag to adjust the size of each zone.
One of the best things you can do with snap layouts is switch between a multitasking layout view and a single program you need to focus on. Consider this scenario:
You want to focus on a program where you’re doing work, but you need to be able to check your property cameras, answer your Slack call, and change the songs on your streaming music program from time to time.
To do this more effectively, you could create a snap layout with all four programs you’re using. Once the snap layout is set up, you can hover over your main program on the toolbar and choose to use the program in fullscreen or in the snap layout. When you take a break, you can quickly pull up the snap layout and access your property cameras, Slack call, and streaming music controls without losing sight of the main program you’re using.