10 good uses for snap view in Windows 8.1

10 good uses for snap view in Windows 8.1

Summary: The Windows 8.1 update brought big improvements for snap view, the ability to have multiple apps on screen at the same time. The possibilities are endless, and these 10 uses are a good jumping off point.


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  • 10 good uses for snap view in Windows 8.1

    Snap view is one of the handiest features of Windows that got a lot better in Windows 8.1. It allows running and displaying two or more apps at the same time which opens up a lot of functions.

    How many apps you can display at once depends on the size of the monitor, but all should handle two just fine. To invoke snap view, with one app running drag the second app from the running app bar when open on the left side of the display, to the side of the screen you wish it to occupy. Windows gives you good visible confirmation that things are just the way you want it.

    Once two or more apps are displaying in snap view, the size of each window can be adjusted by dragging the border separating the apps. The panes can be very narrow or the same size which is the default. Whatever size is allocated to an app, the rest of the display is allotted to the other(s).

    The functions that can be filled using snap view are virtually endless, as any app can be displayed using the feature. The uses covered in this collection are the ones I regularly use, and presented as suggestions for readers. If they serve as a trigger for useful functions, the intended purpose of the presentation has been fulfilled.

    If you have good uses for snap view, share them in the comments. We can all use good ideas to trigger innovative uses for snap view, one of the most useful features on any platform.

  • Multiple instances of Internet Explorer

    Have you ever been surfing the web in Internet Explorer and wished you could tap a hyperlink and have it open in another instance of the browser instead of a tab? Turns out you can and it is a particularly good use for snap view.

    Right-click on the desired link, holding the link for a bit works on touch screens, until a popup menu opens. Select 'Open in new window' and the linked page will open in snap view leaving the original page visible. 

    Both web pages are now displayed side-by-side, each taking half the screen. I use this method all the time and it's very useful.

Topics: Mobility, Apps, Laptops, Tablets, Windows 8

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  • Windows are better than snap view

    I wish metro apps could run in a window. Windows are a better way of multitasking then these limited snap view....
    • 2nd That Vote

      Some of the metro apps are very good. I have a three monitor setup. I would really like to use them without them trying to take over all three monitors or even an entire monitor.

      Another use of snap view is to have a metro app on one monitor and the desk top on the other two. What I would also like is to have more than 2 snap view pains. This would let me have a couple of metro apps open on one monitor and the desk top on the other two.
    • They should run both ways

      However I would like to point out that metro apps when run in windows (via modern mix or something similar) have issues supporting some touch gestures.

      I can see the benefit of metro apps on the desktop as well as metro apps in the pure modern interface. The split screen has come in handy more times than I thought it would while I'm doing "me time" stuff with my tablet or computer.

      During work time I don't use them much, so tucked in a windows on the desktop they might get more use.
    • On a large screen...

      I think you are right. It would be nice if MS would allow you to choose, just like they did when you could cascade or tile your open windows, do the same in Metro. They way it works now in Metro is just fine with a tablet device but anything larger and it just fails.

      Another thing I would like to see is how Samsung has done multi-windows ability with four and allowing you to grab the center of all touching four corners and adjust the size of all.

      Modern Mix is a nice app that allows running these Metro apps in desktop windows. Rumor has it that MS will be porting that ability in W9.
      Rann Xeroxx
    • Re: Windows...

      Stardock ModernMix provides this.
    • Tablets

      Windows is a tablet OS now and the desktop is virtually unusable on a tablet. Snap works great on a Surface.
  • Metro and Snap?

    These makes sense on a tablet but entire idea of "snapping" an app on a desktop is nonsense
    • While it works a little differently...

      ...I use the Windows 7 Snap feature all the time. When I want 2 applications opened side by side on my large monitor, I easily pull each to their respective sides and both are snapped to 50% of the screen. Much better than having to manually fit them to the size that I want. Granted, if you want more than 2 applications open, you would still need to manually adjust them. Do you still use XP?
  • Desktop wins in flexibility

    Being able to freely resize and position windows just as the user wants to is one of the great strengths of the desktop.

    Still, there are some people in this forum who calls powerful desktop applications for "legacy applications". Well, the Metro/Modern applications don't seem to be "taking over the world" at the moment, are they?
    • Windows 8 Snap and the Desktop...

      ...I like to Snap a modern app with the desktop. I can snap the Desktop to 50% or more of my large screen monitor, while having a couple of desktop applications opened (usually one on top of the other). If it is something like Mail or Twitter, those can be moved to take up only about 25% of the screen, with the Desktop taking up the other 75%. It really works well.
  • I can run twenty apps at once in the desktop... or more if I can fit them

    I'm always puzzled by the lauding this feature gets, since Windows' desktop face does a much better job of it than the Metro side.
    • How many can you use at once?

      I run lots of apps at once as well, but few are actually visible and in use. In Windows 8, I have them open and swipe to move between. No different than clicking something in the task bar of the desktop.

      Not sure why the change has so many people agitated. The concepts in Win 8 are the same as the desktop, just a different way of doing them. And the "Snap" of 2-3 is based on telemetry of how many of the open applications people actually use at one time.

      I guess some people really hate change, of any kind.
      • I suppose what is irritating about it

        is that it is trumpeted as some sort of breakthrough, when in fact Windows 1.0, back in 1985, worked in almost exactly the same fashion as Metro Snap, and even looked like it.
      • I use 2 wide screens

        It's not uncommon for me to have five or more windows open at once. And yes seeing and using all of them. I've always hated doing anything full screen. I guess if you have severe tunnel vision (in more ways than one) full screen is for you.
    • What can you possibly be doing with 20 applications open at once?

      I can see having 20 applications running.... but after having 3 or 4 applications viewable at once, it loses it usefulness to me. I on my Windows 7 laptop at work, I have one application running on the laptop screen (usually Outlook), then usually two running on my 21" screen monitor.
    • Totally Agree

      I regularly have 20+ application windows open.
      It easily/quickly builds during the course of the work day.
      Currently I have 11, after clearing out the redundant ones. But it's Friday afternoon, and quiet.
    • I agree with you.

      However, when on a windows 8/rt tablet the desktop isn't the best interface to use. Using snap view on touch tablets is where it really shines. On my workstation I rarely use snap for metro stuff, but in my tablet it's a another story.
      Sam Wagner
  • Web Development

    If you only have one monitor then it works great to have one side of the screen Dreamweaver for example and the other side the page the browser. Then just refresh the browser window for the result of the code change.
  • Courier.

    One Note, share (charms bar), and something else snapped gives you a Courier set up. I do it all the time.
    Fuhrer D