Windows 10’s Snap Assist feature is nice, but it lacks customization. With Microsoft’s PowerToys app, it is possible to split the screen however you want. This is great for ultrawide monitors and anyone who wants a better tile window manager.
Customize Windows 10’s Snap feature
The built-in Snap Assist feature only works in a 2 × 2 grid setup, which means the windows are always the same size to fit the area: two windows side by side, four windows in the four corners of the screen, or one window on one side of the screen and two on the other.
If you have a large monitor, especially an ultra-wide monitor, you may want more window tiling options. That̵
How to Download Microsoft PowerToys
PowerToys can be downloaded from Microsoft’s GitHub page. The app is free and open source. Download the EXE file of the most recent release (avoid the experimental releases) and click the file to install it.
To access the FancyZones settings after installing the app, open it from the notification area on your taskbar.
Personalize and create FancyZones
With PowerToys installed, we can start setting up the FancyZones. Open the app and click on the “FancyZones” tab in the sidebar.
Before we do anything, make sure FancyZones is enabled.
The first thing to do is create your custom zone layout. Here you determine how many zones you want and how big they are. Click on “Launch Layout Editor.”
The Layout Editor contains a number of pre-made templates to choose from. Select how many zones you want at the top – up to 40 – then choose one of the layouts below.
If the pre-made layouts are not to your liking, it is possible to create a custom layout. This can be done in two ways. First select a template as a starting point, then click ‘Edit selected layout’.
Moving your mouse controls a divider that splits the zone wherever you click. You can also drag the handle between zones to adjust their size. Give the template a name and click “Save and Apply” when you are done.
The second method requires a little more effort. Switch to the “Custom” tab, select “Create New Custom” and click “Edit Selected Layout”.
Click the big “Add New Zone” button to get started.
A transparent box will appear on the screen with the number “1” in the center. This represents the first zone in your job. Drag it around and pull on the edges to resize it.
Click the “Add New Zone” button again to get a new box, and repeat until the layout is done.
When you are done creating zones, name the template and click “Save and Apply” to finish.
As you adjust and select templates, you will see a preview of the zones on your screen with translucent boxes. You can choose to have windows occupy the entire zone or to have space around the edges.
How to use FancyZones
With the layout created, there are a number of other options to configure how it actually works. There’s a lot you can do here, but we’ll provide a few recommendations to get you started.
In the “Zone Behavior” section you probably want to enable the “Shift key to activate zones while dragging” setting, which makes it really easy to quickly move windows between zones.
Then scroll down to the “Window Behavior” section. There are three options we recommend enabling:
- Overwrite the Windows Snap shortcut (Win + Arrow) to move windows between zones.
- Move newly created windows to their last known zone.
- Restore windows to original size when disconnected.
The next section is “Appearance”, and it gives you a few options for what the FancyZones will look like in action. You can make the windows transparent as you drag and choose custom colors.
Finally, if there are apps you don’t want to use in FancyZones, you can exclude them from the bottom section. Just type the name of the app in the text box, one per line. They still work with Windows Snap Assist.
FancyZones is just one of the many things you can do with PowerToys, but it’s one of the best features. If you’re a power user and Snap Assist just isn’t flexible enough, give FancyZones a try.
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