The Windows 8 Snap feature had severe limitations that made it impossible for most users to take true advantage of multitasking in the OS. Those limitations are gone in Windows 8.1 so you can utilize as many apps as you can fit on your screen. We’ll take a look at the new Snap functionality and show you how to multitask in Windows 8.1.
When Windows 8 rolled out, you could only use two Modern apps side-by-side at a time. You also could only utilize 20% of your screen for one, 80% of your screen for the other. Now, those limitations have been thrown out in the Windows 8.1 preview. As long as you have a big enough monitor or even multiple monitors, you can utilize Snap in ways that were not possible in Windows 8.
How To Use Snap In Windows 8.1
The Snap feature works the same way it did in Windows 8 at its core. Nothing about its keyboard, mouse, or swipe features has changed in the Windows 8.1 preview.
To get started with Snap in Windows 8.1, open any Windows Modern app and place your mouse cursor anywhere at the top of the app.
You’ll see a grabby hand form where the mouse pointer is.
You can then click and hold down on your left mouse button to drag the app either to the far left to drop it off in the split screen or you can drag it all the way to the left and drop it in the app switcher box.
If you drop it in the app switcher box, you can then pick and choose which apps you want where.
If you have no other apps in split screen mode, you’ll need to drop the first one on the left side of the screen. Otherwise, it’ll open in full-screen mode.
Once you’ve placed one app on the left side of the screen, you can either drop another app on the right side or even open the desktop.
Then, you can click the center of the split screen – the black bar – and drag it to where you want.
Depending on your screen resolution, you can add apps as you see fit. My laptop’s resolution can only support two apps at a time at the moment. So, I dragged and dropped the third one from the app switcher box to show you how it looks.
After you get ready to add a third app, it’ll pop up in what appears to be a separate box for you to drag where you want. If you place it in between the two apps, it’ll settle there and then you can shuffle the apps around and resize them as necessary.
You can also take the third app and completely replace one of the two existing apps by dropping it over it.
As you can see, you’re only limited by your screen resolution as to what you can do with multitasking and the Snap feature in Windows 8.1. There’s no word if Microsoft will revamp this feature or add more functionality when the preview goes live for users. Keep an eye on this post and we’ll update it as soon as we can once we know more about the Snap feature in Windows 8.1.
Using The Snap Feature On Multiple Monitors
The Snap feature in Windows 8.1 works on multiple monitors in several different ways. Just like you can drag and drop apps across your primary monitor and use the Snap feature, you can also just drag them onto your second or third monitors.
You can use the following keyboard shortcuts to move apps around as well:
- Windows Key + Page Up/Page Down: Move apps back and forth
- Windows Key + Shift/Shift + Arrow: Move desktop apps back and forth
Limitations Of The Snap Feature
The Snap feature in Windows 8.1 still has its limitations. There are size restrictions still in place to keep you from opening too many apps in a limited screen resolution.
For example, the Surface RT – despite the changes to Snap – can still only open two apps at a time with the feature, no matter the screen size.
In a 1920 x 1080 screen resolution, you’re only able to open three apps at a time. Several users have reported that they believe the number of apps is determined by dividing the width of your screen resolution by 500 px.
There’s no word on whether Microsoft will change this limit or even release the information on it. Several users on the official troubleshooting forums for the Windows 8.1 preview have asked for the information without a peep from Microsoft on it.
The Snap feature is another functional aspect of Windows that could be much more than Microsoft releases. Even lifting the limitations is nothing special compared to what this feature actually could do for users, especially those utilizing more than one monitor. Microsoft tends to release only what seems like half a feature at a time, and just like the disappointing Start Button in Windows 8.1, disappointment comes from the Snap feature “improvements,” too.
How are you using the Snap and multitasking feature it offers in Windows 8 or Windows 8.1? Which Modern apps do you use side-by-side? Let us know in the comments below!
Please Note: Microsoft is still working out the kinks in Windows 8.1. If you notice something off, you may not be the only one. Tell us about any issues you may be experiencing so we can work through the troubles of Windows 8.1.