With Windows there is is an option from the taskbar to tile windows horizontally or vertically. Is there someway to replicate this feature in Mac OS X?


10 Answers 10


I found an open source program, ShiftIt.


There is a half screen mode (left, right, top, bottom) and a quarter screen mode (top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right). There is even shortcut keys.

  • 4
    This is now hosted here:: github.com/fikovnik/ShiftIt And I can confirm it works really well.
    – Kris
    Jan 16 '11 at 20:50
  • 1
    There's a binary at github.com/fikovnik/ShiftIt/issues/72 which is working fine on Lion.
    – waldo
    Aug 5 '12 at 9:22
  • I've noticed that ShiftIt tries to make outgoing connections (using Little Snitch) to nkuyu.net, blogoriffic.com, dishchannelchart.com, and game-boyz.co.uk. Maybe it's harmless, but someone should figure out what it's doing. The source is on github of course (although the author could modify the source before building the app). Nov 30 '12 at 22:55

Look at SizeUp, which is a shareware version of TwoUp (mentioned above), which gives you even more flexibility with tiling windows (you can do quarter screens and filled screens as well as move things between monitors). Its fantastic

  • 2
    For anyone looking for a program that still works well in mid 2011 - SizeUp is still working well.
    – bmike
    Aug 30 '11 at 20:38
  • Ditto on Snow Leopard in early 2013.
    – JohnJ
    Feb 2 '13 at 20:23
  • And seems to still work on Yosemite in late 2014. Oct 23 '14 at 3:17

Try TwoUp:

TwoUp allows you to quickly position a window to fill exactly half the screen (splitscreen) via the menu bar or configurable system-wide shortcuts (hotkeys). Similar to “tiled windows” functionality available on other operating systems.

  • I use this and I can say is fantastic. The new version will include a few nice things according to the author (you should ask him). ;) Aug 18 '09 at 10:46
  • TwoUp discontinued :( Jul 26 '10 at 4:48

That's a job for Applescript. Here are some posts that have code you can use in writing a more general one that will accomplish what you want to do. Basically, you'll have to figure out which applications have open windows and then apply your tiling algorithm to them in turn.





It is worth adding that Apple seems to take a different view of how to handle the problem of windows on the screen. Rather than keeping them organized through some tiling system, they provide "search" instead. If you need to find a particular application or window, you hit F9 for Exposé, which will miniaturize all the open windows and show them all to you at once so you can choose the one you want. If you need all the windows of a particular application, you hit F10, which will pull the windows of the active application out of the pile of windows on your desktop and place them on top of the pile.

Not everyone likes this, or understands that these are the tools that Apple suggests you use, so you get the more typical (Windows and Linux) way of handling open windows added on by third parties. Look at it as Apple being intransigent about "Thinking Different", sort of like the one-button mouse.

I've also followed this "search" paradigm in organizing most of my files. The only file/folder organization I keep in my home folder is directories for document types and I use Spotlight to find them. I first tried this out as an experiment when Spotlight appeared with Tiger and found that with the Spotlight improvements in Leopard that it actually does work (Spotlight was too slow and imprecise in Tiger). I keep current projects on the desktop, and once they are no longer active, they go into the "archive". It works well. I have tons of pdfs, etc to work with, and I almost never spend time poking around for the document I wanted among the results.

Getting back to the window question, in Leopard, between the virtual desktops (Spaces; I typically use 9 spaces at a time) and Exposé, I haven't felt the need to go with a more traditional window tiling system.


breeze has global and application window states. the states can be triggered using they keyboard and are resolution independent. pair this with sizeup and windowflow and you'll be set.


You might also checkout Divvy by Mizage (http://www.mizage.com/divvy)


Witch is like alt+tab on windows but shows you multiple windows that are open. You trigger it by using option+tab instead of command+tab, and you still keep your command+tab http://www.manytricks.com/witch/

In snow leopard you will be able to click the dock icon and it will show the currently open windows.


here is a cool little applescript from http://www.ithug.com/2008/12/applescript-arranging-multiple-windows/ which can be modified -- by inserting the application name that you want it to run on like Safari or Preview or Mail -- yeah you have to run it for each open application, but it works pretty well. I couldn't get it to work on finder though.

Script that will layer every open window in Safari such that each window is a little bit down and left of the window before, resulting in a cascading pattern.

tell application "Safari"
set _theWindows to every window
repeat with i from 1 to number of items in _theWindows
set this_item to item i of _theWindows
set the bounds of this_item to {(109 + (20 * i)), (10 + (10 * i)), (1164 + (20 * i)), (786 + (10 * i))}
end repeat
end tell


Try to use Arrange from http://trifleapps.com/Applications/Arrange.html


They are a number of applications out there now that can do that.

I am using TileWindows. It has a half screen mode (left, right, top, bottom) and a quarter screen mode (top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right). There is even shortcut keys.

  • 3
    Are you sure you're just using it, and not, I don't know, developing it?
    – Daniel Beck
    May 14 '11 at 9:49

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.