Being able to multi-task is an essential part of Windows and similar operating systems. Having multiple screens open at once and being able to see them all is a great way of multi-tasking. Having multiple monitors is nice but what if you only have one large screen? This time let’s discuss How to Split One Large Monitor into Multiple Smaller Screens using Microsoft PowerToys’ FancyZones.
Modern operating systems allow for having multiple windows open at once. But having multiple windows open at once while remaining hidden isn’t an efficient way of multi-tasking, especially with issues like Windows 7’s tendency to hide message prompts behind active screens. Users still need to know and see what’s going on with their processes in order to work more quickly and efficiently. Has the app been launched yet? Is the process finished? Without knowing immediately, users can’t determine what to do next or in the meantime. If you don’t have multiple monitors but have a large screen, you need to know How to Split a Large Monitor into Multiple Smaller Screens. Here’s how.
How To Split One Large Monitor Into Multiple Smaller Monitors For Free
① Download the latest version of Microsoft PowerToys for Windows 10. PowerToys is a set of free fun and useful utilities developed by Microsoft specific for various Windows versions and has been around since Windows 95. The set of utilities is different for each Windows version as previous toys are often absorbed into the next Windows version. Not all Windows versions came with PowerToys though. The last version of PowerToys before Windows 10 was for Windows XP.
② After downloading, run the installer.
③ Launch PowerToys. You will be greeted with a menu of useful utilities at the left which includes some utilities with self-explanatory names like Always on Top, Awake, Color Picker, File Explorer Add-ons, Image Resizer, Keyboard Manager, Mouse Utilities, and Power Rename. FancyZones, which is what we need, needs a little explaining. By clicking on each utility, users will see a short description of what the utility does. Once launched, PowerToys will make itself at home in the System Tray.
④ FancyZones is a Window Manager utility that enables users to divide a large screen into ones that individual windows can ‘snap’ into. Screen snapping or windows snap has been around since Windows 7 where users can drag their open windows onto areas of the screen, and they’ll automatically resize to cover ½ or ¼ of the screen. Users can also press the Win + arrow keys to do the same. Snapping however can be tedious and not flexible. FancyZones allows for custom sizes and allows for more than four screens at once depending on the size and resolution of the screen.
⑤ To enable FancyZones, click on the FancyZones to display its settings and to check if it has been enabled yet. You can toggle its automatic activation in the settings screen, launch the layout editor to edit how many zones the monitor can have, change the activation shortcut (default is Win + Shift + `), and lastly set the zone and windows behaviors. Once enabled, users can press the shortcut keys anytime to edit the screen zones.
⑥ After pressing Win + Shift + `, the screen’s layout editor opens. The layout editor displays several built-in layouts templates, and you are also allowed to create your own. The built-in templates include:
– No Layout is an easy option to disable FancyZones.
– Focus which is similar to cascading windows (an option in older versions of Windows where open windows are rearranged to be overlapped).
– Columns which divide the screen evenly into three columns.
– Grid which is similar to columns.
– Rows which divide the screen horizontally into three rows.
– Priority Grid which also divides the screen into three columns with the central column being wider.
Below is a create button that allows users to create their own layout.
⑦ As mentioned, users can create their own custom layout by clicking the Create New Layout button. Users will have the option to choose a Grid or Canvas layout. The Grid layout creates zones that do not overlap and are horizontally or vertically stacked. The Canvas layout allows for overlapping zones similar to the Focus template. Canvas seems to defeat the purpose of this whole tutorial but for some people, it has its uses. Choosing the Grid layout would be best for our purposes.
⑧ After selecting the Grid option, the screen is pre-divided into three zones.
-To further divide a zone horizontally, simply move your mouse to a zone and divide it using the moving divider line and click at the desired position.
-To divide a zone vertically, press the Shift key to turn the horizontal divider into a vertical one and then click at the desired position.
-To merge two zones, simply drag a zone onto an adjacent zone then click Merge Zones. Or click and hold on the button between two zones and press Delete. In canvas mode, to delete a zone, just highlight the zone and press Delete.
-To resize a zone, simply click and hold on the divider and move the mouse.
⑨ Click on Save and Apply to save any changes.
⑩ To edit or delete the zones, open FancyZones by pressing Win + Shift + `. Click on the Pencil icon to edit any custom zones including the template. Then click on the Pencil icon again to edit the zones. To delete a zone, click on the trash can icon to the right of the edit zone screen.
⑪ To enable a layout, simply double-click on one. The FancyZones screen will close.
⑫ To move open windows to the zones, drag any open window by its title bar while holding down the Shift key to show the zones available. When a zone is highlighted, let go of the mouse and the window will automatically resize to the zone. Do this for the rest of the zones.
There you have it. You now know How to Split One Large Monitor into Multiple Smaller Screens. This is best used for ultrawide monitors or monitors with high resolutions, preferably 4K or higher. For further details, click on these Detailed instructions on FancyZones to better make use of this utility.