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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  • Windows desktop and Metro apps

    A lot has been written about the dual nature of Windows 8 with both touch-friendly Metro apps and legacy desktop apps. Snap view can be used to bridge the gap between the two as the Windows desktop can be displayed and run alongside Metro apps.

    Once the desktop is running with the desired legacy app(s), simply dragging it using the standard snap view method will display it just like any Metro app. This allows using the desktop and Metro apps at the same time.

    This is useful for using desktop utilities like the File Manager or Control Panel without leaving the Metro app. In the image above the Metro app Flipboard is on the left and the desktop running the File Manager is on the right.

  • Watching video and doing other things

    Those who like to watch online video while doing other things can leverage snap view to good effect. Simply start the video app, in this example Xbox Video, and drag another app into snap view.

    The example shown above shows the Mail app on the left and Xbox Video on the right. This allows keeping an eye on incoming email while watching a video.

  • Tweetium and Internet Explorer

    Those who use Twitter heavily will like this use of snap view. It works with the official Twitter app as well as Tweetium, the author's favorite client.

    Keeping Twitter running in a narrow pane on the left and Internet Explorer on the right is my preferred method. With both apps running side-by-side, tapping a link in a tweet on the left opens the page in the browser on the right. No need to leave the Twitter client and reopen it later as both apps stay open through the process.

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

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19 comments
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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....
    C#2010
    • 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.
      MichaelInMA
    • 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.
      Emacho
    • 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.
      huntm856
    • Tablets

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

    These makes sense on a tablet but entire idea of "snapping" an app on a desktop is nonsense
    Roody15
    • 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?
      toph36
  • 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?
    Smalahove
    • 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.
      toph36
  • 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.
    Mac_PC_FenceSitter
    • 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.
      Skippy99
      • 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.
        Mac_PC_FenceSitter
      • 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.
        67cougargt
    • 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.
      toph36
    • 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.
      Boothy_p
    • 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.
    SpatsTriptiphan
  • Courier.

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