Snap : Customize your desktop with your favorite Windows 11 Snap Layouts feature. Our expert navigation helps you hold this useful UI tool.
Windows 11 may be better known for its fixed function bar and round window borders, but you may find that the new Snap Layouts feature (sometimes also called Snap Assist) is a very useful new UI. Windows, as its name implies, has long been very good at managing and restoring windows, but Snap Layouts takes the OS to the next level. Using them is easy, as we will explain.
How Do Snap Buildings Work?
To get started with this new production tool, simply hover your mouse over the Enlarge icon in the upper right corner of the program window. When you do, you will see a selection of properties, such as:
Note that not all applications support this feature. In my review, the Firefox and Spotify programs recently featured the old Grow option. However, you can still place yourself inside the Snap Layout after starting the process with an app that supports the feature.
The options available will depend on the size of your screen; in my test 15-inch Surface Laptop 3 running Windows 11 Internal Preview Build 22000.176 with a display scale set at 150% recommended, I only found the four options shown above, with two, three and four window settings. Microsoft recently announced a new layout option, three equal windows combined or packaged, but that did not appear on my laptop computer, as it is designed for large screens over 24 inches.
Then move the mouse cursor over the layout diagram to the shape you want to fit your app. The area will highlight the color. Here is the default blue, but it uses any color you select in Settings> Personalize your Emphasis color.
After you click on the location where you want the current window to live, you see the full screen on the screen and other available areas displayed using Acrylic Fluent design effects that blur the background. All other running applications are displayed as options for filling out representations.
Tap on the app you want in each box in sequence, or simply return to your modified window to leave the desktop as it was. Note that, as with Windows 10, you can change the size of the peeled windows and the neighboring window will shrink or fill the resulting area to keep everything clean. You can not drag icons elsewhere. Instead, Windows lets you complete each location at a time. After you have completed all the fields, your screen will look like this (below):
Another way to use Snap Layouts is to use a keyboard. Use the Windows Key – Right arrow (wherever you want to click the window) to move and resize the window in the middle. If you do not want a half-screen shot, you can use the Windows Key – Arrow combination on the next screen. For example, to make the window exactly the same as the upper right quadrant of the screen, use the Windows Key – Right Arrow followed by the Windows Key – Up arrow. This actually works already inside Windows 10, but in Windows 11 you get a new look for Snap Layout and the feature mentioned next.
And as in Windows 10, you can drag the window title bar to the corner or edge of the display to capture exactly half or a quarter of the screen’s real estate, but with Windows 11 you do not need to drag it all. way to the edge or corner: Acrylic snap shape frame appears well before reaching the edge or corner.
After you create a Snap Layout, you can see the app’s location within that setting (as long as the app supports Snap Properties) with its Taskbar icon, and the icons of other apps in that Group:
How Do You Turn Off Snap Properties?
If you can’t withstand Snap Layouts, go to Settings> System Multiplication. Here, you can configure Snap Layouts settings, which include disabling and reverting to Windows 10 Windows settings. Note that you do not have the ability to switch windows or corners with Windows keyboard shortcuts.
You can also turn off all the features mentioned above with a series of checkboxes (below), such as “When I drag a window, let me hold it without dragging it all the way to the edge of the screen”.
Another drawback is that there is no way to apply Snap Layouts with a touch screen. I would rather just tap something on the screen than move a mouse or trackpad to point it at a button. Since Microsoft also has a large touch screen, which includes all Surface devices, I hope they will fix this issue at some point.
Other window features
A related feature within Windows 11 is that if you are configuring windows in the old way, by dragging the window title bar to the side or corner of the screen, it has a new, more useful look, too. As you can see below, when you drag the window title bar to the corner of the screen, you see the four-dimensional structure complete with the acrylic effect of the Fluid design:
A final note of the window on the positive side: I’m glad Microsoft is giving users the ability to let the Window Bar Window-feature formerly known as Aero Shake, another one I use several times a day. It looks like Microsoft is abandoning this Windows 11 capability, but you can see the option to open the Settings screenshot above.
For Advanced Tinkers
If Snap Properties does not provide you with enough customization, or you want to use the same Windows 10 functionality, check out Microsoft PowerToys. This app testing software provides a tool called FancyZones, which optimizes Snap Structure by making it even more customizable.
After installing PowerToys, FancyZones are automatically enabled, and you can simply hold Shift while dragging a window for layout options (you can customize keyboard or mouse actions that activate FancyZones). You can even create custom layouts:
To find out more about the latest Microsoft desktop application, go to PCMag’s Windows 11 home page.