Sometimes you need to see two windows side by side, e.g. when following instructions or when working on a translation. How do I quickly arrange two windows like that?

edit: interested in answers for all platforms and window managers

  • 3
    On what platform?
    – innaM
    Commented Jul 29, 2009 at 12:19
  • I'm assuming that you only have one monitor? :) Commented Jul 29, 2009 at 13:10

7 Answers 7


There are good solutions for both Mac and Windows that I know of:

Windows 7

This feature is built in, and it's called Aero Snap. You can use the following keyboard shortcuts to get the behavior you want:

  • Win + moves the current window to the left half of the screen.
  • Win + moves the current window to the right half of the screen.
  • Win + maximes the current window.

Windows XP and Vista

GridMove allows you to setup regions to snap windows to via a shortcut key. I mapped Win + 1 to move a window to the left half of the screen and Win + 2 to use the right half.

AeroSnap makes Windows 7's native keyboard shortcuts available in Windows Vista and Windows XP.

Mac OS X

Cinch, SizeUp (both unlimited free trials) and TwoUp (discontinued – available here) from Irradiated Software all accomplish this task perfectly. SizeUp adds some extra features, including multiple monitor support.


Answer for Windows as explained on the old new thing:

In the taskbar, click the button for the first window you want to position, then hold the Ctrl key and right-click the button for the second window. Select Tile Vertically. Bingo, the two windows are positioned side by side.

As mentioned in a comment below, you can also hold Ctrl while you click an additional taskbar button and finally right-click a third one. In this way you can arrange 3 windows at the same time. More than 3 windows also works but results in a grid layout.

  • 2
    you can hold in Ctrl for all windows you want to arrange. So this will work for n windows
    – pavsaund
    Commented Jul 29, 2009 at 12:24
  • Also this is easier on Windows 7, where you can just drag the windows to either the left or the right side of the screen, where they dock.
    – Joey
    Commented Jul 29, 2009 at 12:25
  • Also, it does this per monitor, so that you can spread windows across screens, and tiling is done on a per-monitor basis
    – pavsaund
    Commented Jul 29, 2009 at 12:25
  • Note: this only works with two Windows I think else it will arrange all Windows like that, making a horrible mess...
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented Jul 29, 2009 at 12:31
  • Works with up to 3 windows on XP. Any more and they are tiled in a grid.
    – pelms
    Commented Jul 29, 2009 at 12:37


Two excellent, free tools:

  • Spectacle is ultra-simple and lets you setup shortcut keys to all the typical window placement actions (fill left half of screen, fill top half, full screen, center, etc).

  • BetterTouchTool is very full featured and can do these keyboard shortcuts as well, but also lets you click and drag windows to "snap" to different regions of the screen. (And it has tons of other features, since it's original purpose was custom touchpad gestures).


For linux, get a tiling window manager (AwesomeWM, XMonad, dwm, ratpoison, musca..). If you don't like or are not familiar with automatic tiling, or you don't want to switch WMs, use some of the tiling scripts, like stiler.


In the newest Ubuntu versions that come preinstalled with Unity desktop manager and Compiz, the function is preinstalled. You can align the chosen window by doing the following:

  • to fullscreen: Super+Ctrl+
  • to left half: Super+Ctrl+
  • to right half: Super+Ctrl+

("Super" key is the name for the Windows key on Linux.)

You should be able to do this on other Linux distros too, as long as they are able to run Compiz.


In Ubuntu 14.04 LST it is possible to accomplish this task in additional way.


As a result it will place the window at:

  • 1 -up left
  • 2 -up center
  • 3 -up right,
  • 4 -middle left etc.
  • 0 -minimize

Try Divvy. Basically it allows you to easily (via a few shortcuts) resize your window to exact proportions.

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