Life-Changing Shortcuts: Windows Key + Arrow

Multiple screens are a must-have these days. I have just two, and I’m constantly throwing windows back and forth. Windows 7 introduced some nice docking features that make this easy and efficient. I can drag a maximized window by the title bar, and it will un-maximize. If I then “push” it to the top of my other screen, it will re-maximize.

Windows 7 also lets you drag windows to the sides of your screen to half-maximize it; the window will use the entire vertical space but only half of the horizontal space, as if it were docked to the side of the screen to which it was dragged. Great. I love it.

But there’s a problem. There are no edges between my screens. Ugh… I guess I’ll just resize the window to make it half-screen sized, and then manually position it along the crack like a caveman. I mean, there’s no better way to do this, right?

That’s what I might’ve said if this were 2012. I know some things now that I didn’t know then. That’s right, I’m talking about the Windows key + arrow shortcut. Use this amazing shortcut to reposition windows by jumping through the different docking options. Here’s the summary:

Shortcut Description
Windows + ↑ Maximize a normal or left/right-docked window
Windows + ← Left-dock a window; cycle through side-dock positions
Windows + → Right-dock a window; cycle through side-dock positions
Windows + ↓ Un-maximize or un-dock a window; minimize a normal window

Toggling maximize and minimize are no big deal, and neither are dock-left and dock-right. What is useful, however, is that dock-left and dock-right respect the boundary between displays. OMG–life changed! This is easily my favorite new shortcut of 2013. So, you probably won’t use this shortcut to maximize or minimize windows, but remember it for the next time you’re trying to look at four things all at the same time. I bet you’ll fall in love.


Author: Adam Prescott

I'm enthusiastic and passionate about creating intuitive, great-looking software. I strive to find the simplest solutions to complex problems, and I embrace agile principles and test-driven development.

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