Dawn Bjork Buzbee
The Software Pro®
Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT)
Certified Microsoft Office 2010 Specialist (MOS 2010) Master Instructor
Certified Microsoft Office 2007 Specialist (MOS 2007) Master Instructor
Microsoft Certified Application Specialist (MCAS) Instructor
Certified Microsoft Office Expert
Certified Women's Business Enterprise (WBE)
WOSB (Women-Owned Small Business) Certified
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Some of the most highly promoted features of Windows 7 include new
shortcuts designed for managing and arranging windows. These cool, new tricks include
Snap and Shake.
The Snap feature in Windows 7 is an useful improvement which quickly
sizes windows to fit specific areas of the desktop. You can easily view
one window or look at two side-by-side. Positioning two windows side by
side is helpful for copying data between them or for comparing their
contents. The Snap feature is also handy to create one full-height,
half-width window for reading an article or website on a widescreen
monitor...a lot easier on your eyes instead of scanning across a wide
How to Snap windows:
- To setup two windows, grab the title bar to drag one to the side of
your screen until you see an outline or color change. This action
triggers the Snap feature which creates a full-height, half-width
- Now drag the second window to the opposite side of the screen.
If you are running Windows 7 with the Aero interface (with see-through
window edges), dragging a window to an edge displays a 3-dimensional
outline as you move the window close to the left, right, or top edge of
the screen. With the Aero interface disabled, all or a part of the
screen will dim blue. These are both indicators you have “turned on” the
Snap feature. Each window "snaps" to the full height of your monitor,
but only half its width.
Tips for Using Snap
- To maximize a window, drag the top of the window, the title bar, to
the top of your screen until the mouse pointer touches the top edge of
the screen. You can also click the Maximize button as before.
TIP: To maximize or restore a window, I like this trick instead:
double-click anywhere on a window title bar to maximize the window.
Double-click again to restore.
- Return the window to its original size by dragging the title bar down
from the top of your screen. You can also click the Restore button.
- For another way to restore a window to its original dimensions, drag
its top or bottom edge away from the edge of your screen.
- To size one window the full height of your screen without changing its
width, drag it down to the bottom edge of your screen. This is not the
same as the previous Snap techniques but it does make the window exactly
as tall as your screen.
Snap Keyboard Shortcuts
It is also quick to use these new Windows 7 keyboard shortcuts to Snap
windows to the left or right (the Windows Logo key is usually between
the [Ctrl] and [Alt] keys at the left of the [Spacebar]
and has a flying flag or Windows logo on top):
- To snap the window against the left side: Windows Logo
key + [Left Arrow].
- To snap the window against the right side: Windows Logo
key + [Right Arrow].
- To move the window back again, either hit the same keystroke
combination a couple more times (it cycles left, right, and original
spot, over and over) or use the Windows Logo key + the
opposite arrow key.
- If you have more than one monitor, add the [Shift] key to
move the frontmost window to the next monitor, left or right.
- To expand a window vertically to the full height of the screen
without changing the width of the window: [Shift] +
Windows Logo key + [Up Arrow] to create the full-height
- To restore the window's original height: [Shift] +
Windows Logo key + [Down Arrow].
Although it is sometimes called Aero Snap, the Snap feature doesn’t
require the Aero interface to work with these tricks.
Another cool and handy trick is Shake which minimizes windows you’re not
working with so you can concentrate on a specific task. This new Window
7 trick is also called Aero Shake but doesn’t need the Aero interface.
To minimize windows with the Shake feature:
- Grab the title bar of the window you want to focus on and shake it
back and forth (left and right). All of your other open windows will
instantly minimize to the taskbar. The window you shake stays right
where it was.
- To restore the minimized windows, shake the open window again.
Dialog boxes (for example, boxes with OK and Cancel buttons) aren’t
affected by the Shake feature—only full-blown windows.
How to Turn Off Snap & Shake
All of the snapping and shaking in Windows 7 is pretty cool. Right? Not
so fast…you may not be such a fan. Some people don’t like the way the
Snap and Shake features take control of their windows. If you agree, you
can turn off the snapping and shaking features. They can be especially
annoying if you work with multiple monitors. If you agree, you can
quickly turn off the snapping and shaking features.
To turn off Snap and Shake:
- Open the Start menu.
- In the Search box, type snap until you see "Turn off automatic
windows arrangement." Click the link.
- This opens the "Make the mouse easier to use" control panel. At the
bottom, turn on "Prevent windows from being automatically arranged when
moved to the edge of the screen," and then click OK to apply.
From now on, windows move only when and where you move them. This change
also turns off the Shake feature.
Now, with Windows 7, you can get your groove on with these snapping and
© Dawn Bjork Buzbee, MCT, The Software Pro®
Dawn Bjork Buzbee
is The Software Pro®
and a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) as well as a certified Microsoft Office
Specialist (MOS) Master Instructor, certified Microsoft Applications Specialist
(MCAS) Instructor, and a certified Microsoft Office expert. Dawn shares smart
and easy ways to effectively use software through her work as a software
speaker, trainer, consultant, and author of 8 books.
This article and
more can be reprinted at no charge in your publications and website with
copyright and attribution.
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Double-click on a window title bar to
quickly maximize the window.
|Press [Alt] +
[Tab] once to switch to the last program you were working with.