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10 good uses for snap view in Windows 8.1

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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Topic: Mobility
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1 of 11 James Kendrick/ZDNet

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.

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2 of 11 James Kendrick/ZDNet

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.

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3 of 11 James Kendrick/ZDNet

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.

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4 of 11 James Kendrick/ZDNet

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.

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5 of 11 James Kendrick/ZDNet

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.

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6 of 11 James Kendrick/ZDNet

Evernote and Internet Explorer

I use Evernote for my writing work, and it's often accompanied by heavy web research. Snap view makes this a useful function by having both Evernote and Internet Explorer open at the same time.

This makes it easy to take notes while looking at the web source, including hyperlinks.

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7 of 11 James Kendrick/ZDNet

Mail and other apps

Having Mail open in a narrow pane allows keeping an eye on incoming email while doing other things. I find this particularly useful having Mail open while using Internet Explorer.

While clicking a link in an email will automatically open the browser (called auto-update by Microsoft), already having the browser open will respect the window size I've set. Auto-update opens the browser in a half-screen pane which then must be adjusted if not optimal.

I usually have the browser open anyway, so this is a good configuration for me.

Using Mail in snap view is certainly not limited to the browser, I regularly use it with other Metro apps too. The key is letting me keep up with email in case something important comes in.

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8 of 11 James Kendrick/ZDNet

Watching ESPN alongside email

I'm a sports nut, and the ESPN app is a very good Windows app. Watching highlights using the app is a good leisure activity, but I still need to keep up with work email. Not that I watch video on ESPN when I'm working, mind you.

When I do use the ESPN app I usually do so with the Mail app open in a narrow pane on the left. That lets me see all email as it arrives when I'm not engrossed in watching my teams. Which I never do when I'm working. Honest.

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9 of 11 James Kendrick/ZDNet

Flipboard and Internet Explorer

The Windows version of Flipboard is a good way to watch out for tech news, while keeping up with my Facebook friends. My favorite way to do that is with Internet Explorer in the other pane using snap view.

This has the advantage of having links I tap in Flipboard open up in the browser, while keeping Flipboard open.

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10 of 11 James Kendrick/ZDNet

Email and Calendar

I frequently have to check my calendar based on briefing requests I get via email. The snap view setup you see in the image above is a common sight on my Windows tablet. It's very useful to see email and the calendar at once and I do this a lot.

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11 of 11 James Kendrick/ZDNet

Heavy social media

Those who are really into social media, Twitter and Facebook in particular, will like having both open at once. Again, Tweetium is my favorite client for Twitter on Windows, perhaps on any platform, and it behaves particularly well in snap view no matter how big the pane is.

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