Easiest Way to Show Windows Side by Side in Windows

Here’s a very helpful-yet-obvious Windows trick that many of us have probably overlooked …

When I’m working on a computer that is connected to a single monitor, I often like to display two windows side by side, especially when writing a new blog post. I usually display the WordPress admin interface where I write the post in one window, and the developer web page or another source in the second window. This allows me to access information directly and without having to juggle around with open windows or tabs in a single browser window.

I recently had a chat with a friend of mine about this and he told me that he was using Windows 7′s snap feature to snap two windows next to each other on the operating system. He did that either by moving the windows to the left or right side of the screen, or activating the windows individually, and using the Windows-left arrow or Windows-right arrow shortcut to place them in those locations.

When I told him that there was another way to do that, one that would even work with more than two windows, he was puzzled at first. Take a look at the following screenshot and see for yourself.

show windows side by side

A right-click on a blank spot on the taskbar displays the context menu that you see above. When you select show windows side by side all windows that are currently not in minimized state will be aligned next to each other, so that each window gets the same amount of screen estate on the desktop. If you have two windows, each gets 50% and is displayed next to each other vertically. Three windows get 33.3% each, and are displayed vertically on the system, and four windows vertically again with each getting 25% of the available screen estate.

four windows side by side

All you need to do therefor is to open the program windows that you want to displayed side by side, right-click the taskbar, and select the show windows side by side option. It may not be much faster for two windows if you run Windows 7, but it is definitely faster if you want to display three or more windows side by side instead.

This option should be available – maybe under a different name – in previous versions of Windows as well.

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