Split Screens in Different Versions of Windows (10, 8.1, and 7)

See multiple windows and applications on your screen

If you work with several open windows, you probably spend a lot of time switching between them. At any given moment, you might have several windows open: a browser to surf the internet, an email program, a couple of work applications, and perhaps even a game or two.

In this guide, we show you how to use a split screen in Windows 10, 8.1, and 7 so you can look at two windows at once.

Split screen mode in Windows
Lifewire / Colleen Tighe

Using Alt+Tab to Switch Between Windows

You can use one of the standard methods for switching between windows and apps, like Alt+Tab, but there’s another option that might suit your needs better: Windows Split Screen.

Split Your Screen in Windows 10 With Snap Assist

There are several ways to split a screen in Windows 10, but the easiest is with Snap Assist. This feature has to be enabled in Start > Settings > System > Multitasking, although it should be enabled by default.

Snap Assist lets you drag a window to a corner or side of the screen to “snap” it there, which in turn makes room for other windows to be snapped in the resulting empty screen space.

You can stack all the windows side by side by right-clicking the taskbar and choosing Show windows side by side. If there are several windows open, they'll all resize appropriately to fit on the screen.

To split your screen in Windows 10 with Snap Assist using the mouse:

  1. Open two or more windows or applications.

  2. Place your mouse on an empty area at the top of one of the windows. Long-press the left mouse button, and drag the window to the right side of the screen. Move it all the way over, as far as you can go, until your mouse won't move anymore.

    Dragging a second window in Windows 10.
  3. Release the mouse to snap that window to the right side of the screen. It should now fill half the screen, or the corner if you dragged it there.

    Screen has snapped to right side.
  4. Select any of the other windows that are open on the left side to snap them to the left side of the screen.

    Selecting a second app.
  5. Now that the two screens are beside each other, drag the dividing line that separates them to resize both windows simultaneously. This is helpful if you need to see more of one and can manage a smaller view for the other.

    Screens have been split.

You can also use the Windows key + left arrow and Windows key + right arrow to snap windows. 

Windows Split Screen in Windows 8 and 8.1

Microsoft assumed with Windows 8 and 8.1 that most people would use a touchscreen device. If you have a touchscreen, use the snap feature to position two windows on the screen at one time using your finger. Otherwise, use a mouse.

Stack all the windows side-by-side by right-clicking the taskbar and choosing Show windows side by side. If there are several windows open, they'll all resize appropriately to fit on the screen.

To use split screen with Windows 8.1:

  1. Open two or more windows and/or applications.

  2. Place your mouse in an empty area at the top of one of the windows. Long-press the left mouse button, and drag the window to the left side of the screen. Move it all the way over, as far as possible.

    On a touchscreen, swipe in from the left and hold your finger on the screen until the second window is docked on the left side of the screen.

  3. Release the mouse to snap that window to the left side of the screen.

  4. Select any of the other windows to snap to the right side of the screen.

  5. Drag the dividing line to resize the windows. When you move the line between the windows or apps, only one screen is resized at a time, not both as in Windows 10.

If your screen resolution is high enough and your video card supports it, you can position three windows on the screen.

How to Do Split Screen in Windows 7

Windows 7 was the first version of Windows to support the Snap feature. It is enabled by default.

You can stack all the windows side-by-side by right-clicking the taskbar and choosing Show windows side by side. If there are several windows open, they'll all resize to fit on the screen.

To use the Snap feature in Windows 7 to position two windows side-by-side:

  1. Open two windows.

  2. Place your mouse in an empty area at the top of any open window. Long-press the left mouse button, and drag the window to the left half of the screen.

  3. Release the mouse. The window will take up half the screen.

  4. Repeat Step 2 for the second window, this time dragging it to the right side of the screen before releasing the mouse. The window will take up the right half of the screen.

In Windows 7, you can also use the Windows key and the left or right arrow keys to move windows around. 

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