Tutorial Windows: Snap in Windows 10: Overview and Enhancements

You’re probably familiar with the Snap feature that resizes any window you move to the edge of the screen and which was introduced in Windows 7. It’s still available in Microsoft’s latest operating system, and you’ll notice that it’s even been tweaked a bit.

It might seem like a nuisance to some, since moving a window close to a screen edge even by mistake can trigger it. On the other hand, it can save a considerable amount of time when working with a lot of windows, because you don’t have to manually resize and position them.

However, things get a bit tricky in Windows 10. If there are more opened programs or windows on your desktop, the Snap feature forces you to select another one to fit next to it. Luckily, this can be changed, but let’s see what’s new and how you can benefit from these additions.

Snap Features in Windows 10

Having a lot of windows on your desktop and depending on all of them for work is a pain, no doubt, but Microsoft implemented a set of features in an attempt to make things easier. As mentioned, the basic one is the Snap feature.

How can I benefit from the window snap feature?

-> Holding down the title bar of a window and moving it to one side of the screen makes it cover half, leaving some room to work with.

-> By default, you are forced to select another window to fit into the other half, but clicking the desktop leaves the space blank. This only happens in Windows 10.

-> Dragging a window all the way to the top of the screen gets it maximized. This can also be done through the title bar button, or double-clicking the title bar.

-> Moving a window to any of the corners resizes it to a quarter of the screen size, so there’s room for three more. This doesn’t enforce any more decision making.

-> Dragging the edge of a window all the way to the top or bottom stretches it vertically to perfectly fit top-to-bottom, with no impact on horizontal size.

-> Reverting to the original window size is simply done by dragging the title bar in any direction. You instantly see the result.

-> Right-clicking the taskbar gives you the possibility to cascade all windows, move them either side-by-side or stacked so that all can fit on screen. Note that these actions can be undone.

-> Pressing Win + D or the taskbar button to show the desktop minimizes everything. Clicking it again brings back all windows to their initial positions.

-> Holding down the left mouse button on a title bar and shaking the window minimizes all others.

-> You can move the active window using hotkeys. Hold down Win (don’t release it until you decide) and press the arrow keys to cycle through default layouts. Pressing the up arrow first maximizes a window, while the down arrow minimizes it.

The Snap feature drives me nuts! How can I get rid of it?
It’s actually quite easy to tell Windows to stop suggesting positions or even resizing a frame for you. There are three options that help you tweak the Snap feature, or disable it completely by turning them off.

Microsoft placed these under Multitasking Settings, and searching for this with Win + S takes you there. Once you find them, you can decide upon the following options, which are pretty self-explanatory:

-> Arrange windows automatically by dragging them to the sides or corners of the screen;

-> When I snap more than one window, automatically adjust the size of the windows;

-> When I snap a window, show what I can snap next to it.

Note: If you want more tips on window management, check out the guide on how to make last visited locations to automatically open on startup.

Third-party enhancement for the Snap feature

Moving windows around the desktop can accidentally trigger the Snap feature, and trying to use it doesn’t quite provide the desired result. This pushed developers to bundle lines of code into applications meant to do what Microsoft either forgot to implement in Windows or considered of little importance.

As such, you might be interested to know that there’s a tiny application that goes by the name of AltDrag that greatly extends the default Windows Snap feature. Here’s what it can do for you:

As such, you might be interested to know that there’s a tiny application that goes by the name of AltDrag that greatly extends the default Windows Snap feature. Here’s what it can do for you:

-> Mimic the Aero style Snap;

-> Let you scroll inside inactive windows without changing focus;

-> Disable Snap completely or tweak it to inner and outer windows;

-> Set up to five mouse buttons to move, resize, close, minimize, lower, keep on top, or move to center of the screen;

-> Set scroll wheel to switch between windows (just like Alt + Tab), adjust volume, set transparency, or adjust size vertically;

-> Configure custom hotkeys to trigger functionality of features so they don’t interfere with casual navigation;

-> Suggest multiple Snap positions without changing its size when moving a window around the screen;

-> Exclude specific windows from being affected by any kind of Snap properties.

-> Move a window by holding down the left mouse button (as well as the trigger key) anywhere inside it;

-> Snap a window to others without affecting size.

AltDrag does not interfere with the functioning of the Windows Snap feature. On the contrary, it manages to greatly enhance it. Set it to automatically run on startup, and the way you manage windows changes to a more comfortable style.

On an ending note

There are more ways to make Windows be a close friend, especially since Microsoft also introduced multiple desktops. Since a large monitor doesn’t solve window management problems, it’s good to know that you can do something about it without having to wait or hope for a major Windows update to bring about more features.