You can display two apps on screen at one time in Windows 8.1. For example, say you want to Skype with someone while you play a game. Perhaps you want to track an arriving flight while working on another task.
As with most activities, you can get this done with touch, using a mouse, or with keyboard shortcuts. I’ll start with keyboard shortcuts because they are easiest to document and demo.
Use the keyboard
From the Start screen, open any app you wish. Switch back to Start and open a different app.
Switch between the apps by using Win+Tab.
With either app fullscreen, press Win+Right Arrow. The current app snaps to the right side of the screen. You may see the other app on the left. (If you don’t, go back to Win+Tab or plunge on from here.)
Press Win+Left Arrow to snap the app to the left.
Press Win+Up Arrow to make the selected app full screen again.
Press Win+Down Arrow to hide/minimize the selected app.
Use the mouse
Now, try this with the mouse and notice you’ll get more information in the process.
Move the mouse pointer to the upper-left or lower-left corner of the screen to reveal the active apps
Slide the mouse pointer down to one of the app thumbnails. (If you move the mouse too far to the right, the apps panel disappears.)
Right-click over an app thumbnail to reveal these options:
- Replace [the current app]
- Insert Left
- Insert Right
Left-click whichever option you want to try.
When you have two apps on screen at once, place the mouse pointer over the bar that separates them. Click and drag left or right to resize the two apps relatively. Smart apps change the way they display information based on the width of the window. Drag the bar all the way left or right to leave just one app on screen.
Try double-clicking that bar to see what happens.
If you repeat the process for snapping an app while you already have two apps on screen, the context menu changes:
- Maximize (covers both apps)
- Replace [app on left]
- Replace [app on right]
If you have a high resolution screen, you may also see options to insert this third app in place next to the other two.
If two apps are side by side and you select a third app from the app bar on the left without using the right-click (ie, you display apps on the left and click one with the left mouse button), that app floats and wiggles in front of the other two. Click or tap the app to replace.
Touch works, too
Using Touch isn’t any harder, just different enough.
Slide your finger in from beyond the left edge of screen to reveal the active apps. Drag one of the thumbnails to the right and then lift your finger. If you do this in the left half of the screen, the selected app snaps left. If you drag farther to the right before lifting your finger, the app snaps to the right.
Drag the bar that separates the apps to resize them relatively.
Drag the bar all the way left or right to leave just one app on screen.