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Windows 11: This is Microsoft's improved app snapping experience

Windows 11 Snapping Menu Hero
Windows 11 Snapping Menu Hero (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft is updating the snapping UX on Windows 11.
  • There's a new drop-down menu and more snapping grids.

The leaked Windows 11 build has given us a fascinating look into some of the new user experiences Microsoft is building for its next generation of Windows. One area that Microsoft is improving is in window snapping and multitasking, a staple part of the Windows UX that has remained much the same since Windows 7.

On Windows 11, Microsoft is adding some nice additions to the snapping UX. To begin, there's a new super handy snapping grid menu that drops down when a user hovers their cursor over the app window maximize button.

This drop-down menu allows you to snap the app you're using to a particular position in one of the grid layouts that Microsoft has built into Windows 11. On small screens, you get four layouts to choose from, totalling in 11 different snapping areas to select. On devices with a large display, you get an additional two layouts which totals to 17 different snapping areas to select.

Windows 11 Snap Menu Screenshot

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Clicking on any of the selected snapping areas will automatically resize and snap your window to that area. You can then go ahead and snap all the other apps where you like, or follow the guided snapping layout that the dropdown menu recommends. I really like this new drop-down menu, as I think it makes the snapping functionality much more discoverable.

Unfortunately, I've found that not ever app window supports the drop-down menu. Apps like Spotify and Slack, which use their own window controls, don't (yet) know to initiate the snapping menu. Hopefully this changes as app developers who aren't already using native window controls jump on board.

You can still manually snap all apps side by side or in a quadrant by dragging the app window to the edge or corners of the display, and devices with larger displays can also now drag and snap three apps side by side. The drop-down menu makes snapping as a whole more discoverable to users who may not know it's a thing you can do.

Windows 11 Snapping UX

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Microsoft has also updated the behavior of snapping when in the portrait orientation. On previous versions of Windows, it wasn't possible to snap apps top and bottom, only side-by-side. On Windows 11, Microsoft has finally added this ability. When a display is in portrait mode, Windows will automatically position apps above and below when initiating snap.

This is super useful on tablets and desktop PCs that may have external monitors set up in the portrait orientation. Snapping is now useful, as Windows will no longer try to snap them side-by-side on a super narrow setup.

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Microsoft has also improved the memory of snapped apps. If you have a snapped layout in horizontal mode and you rotate your display, Windows will rotate those app windows and keep them in their snapped positions. It'll also remember snapped window positions when you dock and undock from external monitors.

Overall, these improvements to the snapping UX on Windows 11 are very welcome, and are a great productivity booster for those who find themselves constantly manipulating multiple app windows at a time. What are your thoughts on these new Windows 11 features so far? Let us know in the comments.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

26 Comments
  • Vertical snapping, finally. I use a vertical monitor and it's a pain to manually resize windows to put them one above the other. Great also for Surfaces being used for reading.
  • doesn't look like they have a portrait split on those images
  • great, I have been waiting for this!
  • Same here. Portrait monitors/tablets need vertical stacking windows. I use FancyZones but this looks better, more robust and more intuitive.
  • Zac, how do you hover over the maximize button for snapping without a mouse?
  • You don't. You just drag to the edges of the display like in the gif. Or if you only have a keyboard the Windows key + arrow keys will do the snapping.
  • Dragging to the edge of the screen is also how it works on ChromeOS tablets.
  • Also how it works in windows 10…
  • Very much looking forward to this.
  • I thought w8.x had vertical snapping just without the left and right gesture or am I making that up in my mind?
  • Let's hope you can create custom snap zones. I have a 49" monitor
  • there is an app for that... is it Powertoys?
  • Correct, that has that functionality.
  • Indeed. The FancyZones PowerToy.
  • How much maximum windows will it handle? Is snapping tool showing dynamic options?
  • Power Toys should just be integrated into the OS, I don't understand why they don't.
  • It's way overkill for 99% of users. There is a reason why it's called 'Power Toys.' I admit it's great, but even I use like 10% of it (Fancy Zones) and rarely touch anything else. I DO think it's a great testbed for experimental features that could work their way to production as smaller pieces. Some of those snap ideas here (hover/zones) I think are a result of that.
  • I don't understand why there's no ARM64 version of Power Toys :/ Windows on ARM devices are locked out :(.
  • FancyZones could be simpler and more intuitive. This is simple and intuitive, or at least it looks like it.
  • Absolutely Loving it , Windows 11 is gonna be the best
  • Working great on my Surface Pro. That is a cool feature.
  • This will be so useful. It's more intuitive to be able to do it with just a click.
  • This is definitely how snapping should work and in some ways is an improvement over FancyZones. "If you have a snapped layout in horizontal mode and you rotate your display, Windows will rotate those app windows and keep them in their snapped positions. It'll also remember snapped window positions when you dock and undock from external monitors." And if I'm understanding this right, all of this.
  • This is important because it'll mean despite being in Windows since Windows 7 (2009), many new people will use Snap now it's visual and you can do it with one click. It's also worth mentioning Snap is much easier to use on Windows than the MacOS copy, with it's odd click and drag motion.
  • Just want my windows to snap side to side, never have wanted screen snap... sigh.
  • Is there any indication that they'll be customisable?