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This keyboard shortcut could change your life. Seriously.

April 29, 2020 / in How To / by

Okay, click-bait title aside, I have a keyboard shortcut tip for you that you’re going to love. But first… the story.

I’ve talked to a couple dozen people in the past week about this shortcut. Other than a peer group I’m in that is made up of fairly technical people, nobody knew about the shortcut.

The Problem: Resizing windows on your desktop so that you can see two different applications side by side.

Why? Because you’re typically looking at one document or email while working in another application. Many people have dual monitors set up at work, and they put one application on the left monitor and the other on the right.

But now we’re stuck at home… do you still have dual monitors?

Plenty of people are using their work laptops at home right now. And they don’t have a second monitor. Now they’re spending time moving, resizing and carefully positioning their application windows so that they are side by side.

There is a better way: Windows Key + Arrow Key (left or right)

Assuming you’re running Windows on a PC:

  • Make one of your applications active by clicking on the title bar.
  • Make sure that application is not maximized (not taking up the whole screen.)
  • Press and hold the Windows Key… and then press either the left or right arrow on your keyboard. (The Windows key is on the lower left side of your keyboard, just left of the ALT key.)
  • Doing this key combination will cause the current application to immediately resize itself to take up 50% of your screen and snap to the side of your monitor based on the arrow you clicked.
  • You will then be presented the list of other applications you have open. You can click any of these so they take up the other side.

In other words, if you want the application to take up half your monitor on the left side, press and hold the Windows key and click the left arrow.

The following picture is an example of what this looks like.

How to do split screen on a Mac

I didn’t want to leave the Mac users out…

  • Click and hold on the full-screen button in the top left corner of an app
  • When you see half of your screen turn blue drag your window to the left or right side and let go of the app.
  • Pick your second window that you’d like to fill out the other half of your screen, click on it.
  • To exit Split View mode, press the esc key (or button on Touch Bar) or move your mouse to the top of your screen and click the full-screen button.
  • You’ll notice then second app that was used in Split View will still be in full-screen mode, also follow the same steps to return that window to its previous size.

Did this tip justify the title for you?

If you didn’t know about this tip, I hope it made your day. When I’ve explained it to others, they’re shocked. Then they tell me how much time that is going to save them. Which is always my goal with these kinds of tips. So I wanted to share! I hope it was one of those AHA! moments for you too!

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