It’s the little things in life that bring a smile to your face. I’ve been window snapping left and right to increase my productivity for as long as I can remember.
My dual 29" monitors were always nice and evenly divided; rearranging them was a snap — pun intended. But it wasn’t until I decided to rotate my left monitor to portrait mode that dark days descended.
If you’ve clicked this article and you’ve made it this far, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. When I dragged my email window to the top, it covered the whole portrait screen and nothing happened when I tried dragging Spotify to the bottom.
Apparently Microsoft didn’t realize that left and right window snapping illogical for a monitor in portrait mode.
My heart was sunk. I scoured Google for answers, but instead found bunch of people with the same problem. Sidebar: searching for “window snapping on Windows 10” is just keyword soup… it was a nightmare.
I’d been using a deprecated tool called WinSplit Revolution as a stopgap until I recently came across a utility called FancyZones. After vertically stacking Gmail and Spotify on the left monitor — I may have jumped for joy also — I immediately had to share this find with you.
What is FancyZones?
FancyZones is one part of a growing set of tools called PowerToys — a reboot of the Windows 95 PowerToys initiative. The suite of tools is a free-to-use collection that includes FancyZones, PowerRename, and Shortcut Guide.
You’ll be able to pick from a set of predefined layouts or build your own custom layout with up to 40 “zones”.
Zones can overlap, you can also set the space (in pixels) between zones for templates that do not overlap. You can also use hotkeys to send windows to specific zones as well as blacklist apps to ignore any rules set within FancyZones.
How to Set Up FancyZones
Note: your version of Windows 10 at least version 1803 (build 17134). To set up FancyZones, begin by installing PowerToys. There are several methods for installation. I used the recommended option which was downloading and executing the .msi install file.
Once installed, access PowerToys by right-clicking in your system tray and selecting Settings.
Navigate to FancyZones and before you click Edit zones, make sure the window is visible on the monitor you want to configure. While FancyZones supports multiple monitors, the administration is a bit clunky because you have to set your zones for each monitor independently.
After opening the zone editor, you’ll be prompted to choose from a variety of templates that update based on the number of zones you want. You can also choose Custom from the top. For me, I wanted two zones for my portrait monitor so I chose Rows and after tinkering with the Space around zones I confirmed by clicking Apply.
Any time you want to reconfigure your zones, the default hotkey is
As for the available toggle settings, I have the option to hold the shift key while dragging enabled . This is my preferred method of snapping my windows.
The other two settings that I enjoy are overriding the Windows Snap hotkeys and moving newly created windows to their last new zone.
FancyZones has been a delightful surprise, a tool I did not know existed. If you want more freedom configuring window snapping on your PC or have a portrait monitor and don’t have any other available solutions, then check out FancyZones, part of the PowerToys utility.