When it comes to managing multiple application windows, one of the most common tasks that you perform in the Windows operating system, Windows 10 really has it all! The new Task View virtual desktop feature makes it easy for you to spread out multiple applications. The enhanced Snap feature provides you with a great way to view and work with multiple applications on the same screen. The Shake and Peek feature, which was introduced in Windows 7 and still exist in Windows 10, allows you to zero in on a single application and quickly hide multiple applications respectively. Let's take a closer look.
With Task View's virtual desktop feature, you can finally spread out all the applications that you are working on for various projects. For example, on each desktop, you can have the applications and documents pertaining to a particular task. When you need to jump from one task to another, you just switch desktops. Then, when you're ready to go back to your previous task, you just switch back to that desktop, and everything that you were working with is right there on the screen waiting for you—no minimizing and maximizing windows to get back to work. Each desktop has its own Taskbar that displays only those applications that are on that desktop. It's a very efficient system, and it definitely allows you to be more organized.
To access Task View and create a new desktop, just click its button on the Taskbar (1). Next, click the New desktop button (2). You'll then see a thumbnail preview of the new desktop, labeled Desktop 2, appear alongside the current desktop, labeled Desktop 1, in the user interface (3). These steps are illustrated in Figure A.
Accessing Task View and creating new desktops in Windows 10 easy and efficient.
You can now switch to the new desktop by clicking its thumbnail. Once you're on the new desktop, you can open a separate set of applications and spread your work out among multiple desktops. If you have applications open on one desktop that you want to move to another desktop, just right-click on a thumbnail and use the Move to command (1), or you can use drag-and-drop (2). These options are illustrated in Figure B.
You can use commands or drag-and-drop to move applications from one desktop to another.
As you probably know, Snap allows you to arrange open windows, including maximizing and resizing, just by dragging and dropping a window to different edges of the screen. When a window is dragged to the correct position, a ripple effect will emanate from the cursor, and you'll see an animated transparent outline of the window instantly appear in its new position. As soon as you release the mouse button, the window will snap to that position.
More specifically, you can maximize a window by clicking and dragging its title bar to the top of the screen. To restore a maximized window, just click and drag the title bar towards the middle of the screen. To position a window on half of the screen, just click and drag the title bar towards the left or right side of the screen. To stretch a window that's in the middle of the screen so that it spans from the top to the bottom, just click the bottom or top edge and drag towards the bottom or top of the screen.
Windows 10 extends the Snap feature by allowing you to position windows in each corner of the screen (Figure C). To position a window in the corner of the screen, just drag a window towards a corner, and you'll see an animated transparent outline of the window fill out the quadrant. As soon as you release the mouse button, the window will snap to that position.
In addition to snapping windows to the left or right half of the screen, you can now Snap windows to four quadrants of the screen.
To make snapping additional windows easier, Windows 10's Snap Assist feature will display a thumbnail list of open windows in the empty space (Figure D) when you snap a window into place. Click a thumbnail, and that window will be snapped to the available space. Keep in mind that if you are snapping to half screen, as soon as you snap the first window into place, Snap Assist will display the thumbnail list in the other half of the screen. If you are snapping windows to the four corners of the screen, as soon as you snap the third window into place, Snap Assist will display the thumbnail list in the remaining quarter of the screen.
Snap Assist feature makes it easier to select additional windows to Snap into the available space.
If you have multiple monitors, you'll be able to take advantage of Snap on each monitor. For example, if you have two monitors, you can have a total of eight windows snapped to your screen—four on each monitor.
Snap with the Windows key
In addition to snapping windows using drag-and-drop, you can also use the Windows key to Snap windows as described in the following table.
If you have multiple monitors, using the [Windows]+[Left Arrow] or [Windows]+[Right Arrow] keystrokes in succession will allow you to move windows from one screen to another and snap them into place.
The Shake feature allows you to quickly zero in on a single application. More specifically, when you have multiple windows open at the same time, you can use Shake to quickly minimize all the open windows except the one that you want to focus on.
To use the Shake feature, just click the title bar of the window you want to work with and, while holding the mouse button down, shake the window back and forth (you don't have to shake wildly; just a couple of flicks of your wrist are all it takes). When you do, all other open windows instantly minimize to the Taskbar. To restore all the minimized windows, just click and shake the window again.
If you haven't seen Shake in action, you can check out this video on Microsoft's Windows site.
The Shake feature also works with windows that have been positioned using Snap. Shake even works across multiple monitors—shake a window on one monitor and all open windows on all monitors instantly minimize to the Taskbar.
The Peek feature allows you to instantaneously make all the open windows on the desktop become temporarily transparent so that you can see any icons on the desktop without having to minimize or close any of your open application windows. Just like Shake, the Peek feature works with windows that have been positioned using Snap, and it also works across multiple monitors.
To activate Peek, just hover your mouse pointer over the transparent button in the bottom right corner of the screen (at one time, that button was identified as the Show Desktop button). When you do, all you'll see of the open windows is a faint outline, as shown in Figure E. When you move your pointer off the button, the windows reappear, and you can get right back to work.
When you hover over the button in the bottom right corner of the screen, all the open windows on the desktop become temporarily transparent.
If you click the transparent button, of course, all open windows are minimized. Click it again, and all the minimized windows are restored.
What's your take?
What do you think of Windows 10's Task View feature? Will you use the Snap, Shake, and Peeks features to aid your application management operations in Windows 10? Let us know in the discussion thread below.
Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.