Microsoft’s Windows operating system still clearly leads other systems by a wide margin when it comes to day-to-day tasks like multitasking and productivity, thanks to the company’s inclusion of Snap Group, Snap Layout, virtual desktops, file manager paging, and more. This time, we focus on Snap Layout and Snap Group, and tell you how to become a real productivity expert.
Teach you to use Windows 11’s Snap Layout (snap window) and Snap Group, multi-tasking productivity is improved in seconds
Snap Assist allows you to open two apps at the same time by splitting the screen in two side by side. Snap Layout and Snap Group are two important features built on top of Snap Assist in Windows 11, further enhancing the original Snap Assist functionality and making it easier to arrange Windows 11 applications on the desktop, which I will outline next. Two functions, and teach you how to use them more advanced.
What is Snap Layout?
Snap Layout is a refined version of Snap Assist that gives you more flexibility to use on the desktop at once and work on up to 4 applications simultaneously. To achieve this goal, Snap Layout provides 6 different layouts for you to choose from. You can choose a preset to apply from these options according to the number of applications you want to use at the same time and the order in which you want to present them:
- Double window arrangement 2 styles
- 3 windows arranged in 3 styles
- Four-window arrangement 1 type
How to use Snap Layout (snap to viewport)?
Using the Windows 11 multitasking feature is very simple, you can easily call Snap Layout in the following ways:
- Press the “Win + Z” key combination in an application or window, or hover over the maximize window button to display the Snap Layout menu.
- In Snap Layout you will see different layout options, each with multiple blocks in different configurations. Choose a layout from these options according to your needs, then hover over the area where you want to place the currently active viewport mid-term. You can see the block is highlighted with a different color fill and click to place the window in the position of your choice.
- All other active applications and windows will display thumbnails in other unselected areas. Press the “Alt + Tab” keyboard shortcut to browse, and click the desired application window to place it in the designated area.
This feature is very useful, especially if you are using a large monitor or have multiple windows and applications open on an ultra-wide screen and want to arrange them, without having to manually adjust the padding, and not just arranging two windows. . Microsoft even provides a dedicated setting page in “Settings”, through which you can adjust the overall function and customize it. Currently, we can only combine up to 4 different viewports with Snap Layout, and there is no way to create custom layouts based on usage scenarios. You can open the “Settings” app, select “Multitasking” in the “System” tab, and expand the “Snap to Window” collapsible menu to make some simple personalization settings, but the items that can be customized here are very limited.
Advanced usage: “FancyZones” custom layout with PowerToys (Windows 10 also works)
If you want to customize more Snap Layout experience and make it more in line with your personal habits, then you need to add Microsoft’s own “PowerToys”. (Click here to go to GitHub to download）
After installing PowerToys and opening it, it will appear in the small tray in the lower right corner of the operating system. Right-click on the icon and select “Settings”.
Next click on “FancyZones” in the left sidebar, and then click on “Launch Configuration Editor” in the right window.
In the editor, whether you are a single-screen or multi-screen user, you can customize the window layout on each screen. After saving your custom layout, the next time you drag a window, just press Shift at the same time to recall the layout and place the window in the desired position.
What is Snap Group?
Snap Group is an extension of Snap Layout. It will automatically record the layout groups you have arranged in Snap Layout. When you want to use the same set of applications next time, the previous layout will be automatically applied without having to rearrange these windows again. . While this feature may directly enhance multitasking, this neat little helper feature can save you the trouble of opening and arranging individual application windows one by one.
How to use Snap Group?
The process of using Sanp Group is intuitive and simple. All you need to do is create a Snap Layout with at least two viewports, and that’s it. You can use any application, window that supports Snap Layout to create, and there is no specific application to click to view. Interestingly, this feature also works with multiple windows of the same app, and Windows can also remember if the feature is used on other monitors, making it easier for multi-screen users. At present, this function is very limited and fixed, but through continuous user feedback and user requests, Microsoft will have the opportunity to add more options and functions to improve the usability.
Productivity and hybrid work seem to be important areas of development for Microsoft and Windows, and basic features like Snap Layout, Snap Groups, and virtual desktops are just the beginning of where Windows is going. We’ve seen Microsoft test and highlight new features like tabbed display in the file manager, widgets on the desktop, an improved Alt + Tab window switching experience, and more to come in future versions of Windows.