How to: Snap Apps to Use Side-by-Side in Windows 8

Snap Apps to Use Two Apps Side-by-Side

Even those of us that like Windows 8 have their complaints.  While I’ve gotten used to having my open desktop items in a neat little row at the bottom of my screen, I still find it a little slow to click into the left hand bar and find the apps I have running in order to switch between them.  But being able to snap apps and have two running next to each other on my screen, or having an app and my desktop open side-by-side, has made me (slightly) happier.  Read on to find out how to put two of your apps side-by-side with the snap apps function!

First off, note that Windows 8 needs at least a 1024 x 768 resolution in order to snap apps.  Assuming you’re not using a ten year old monitor or a smaller laptop, you’re probably fine.  Yes, there are various work arounds and registry changes floating around the internet, but at the moment (release day, October 26th) we haven’t found one that works.

snap apps menu - all that nerdy stuffsnap apps - snap left selected - all that nerdy stuffIn order to get two apps side-by-side, move your mouse up to the top left corner of your screen.  Your start menu and the apps that you currently have open (including the desktop) will appear.  Right click and you’ll see the following menu.  There are two choices: Snap left and Snap right.  This will cause the app you choose to show up in the smaller column to the left or right of your screen.  The “snapped” app will be the smaller of the two.  Placing your cursor on your selection will highlight it (as can be seen in the right-hand picture.)  Click once with your mouse and the second app will appear in a column to the left of the first.  In between the two will be a drag bar.

Snap Apps - screen showing two apps side-by-side - all that nerdy stuff

The center of the drag column has three dots, to differentiate it from your background or part of the apps.  If you click on the column and pull it to the left all the way, you’ll be back to having one app on your screen.  If you pull it most of the way to the right, you’ll switch which app is in the foreground and which is in the background.  If you pull it all the way to the right, you’ll now have the smaller app as the only one on the screen.

snap apps - desktop and one app - all that nerdy stuffAnother neat part comes in when one of your two snapped apps is the desktop.  If you make your desktop the smaller (the one on the left in the picture to the right – yes we’re doing this to mess with you) app, instead of just seeing just the program you were working in, the column will show a thumbnail of all of the apps you have open on the desktop.  This is nice if you’re working in one app, but want to see a thumbnail of everything else you have open rather than just the icons at the bottom of your screen.

Using apps side by side is even better when you have two monitors, or a big enough one that the first app still feels “full size” while you can work in the second one.  Scroll through incoming e-mail while editing photos, change songs on your favorite music app while reading the news…I hope you find some great ways to snap apps!






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