How to Split Your Laptop or PC Screen/Monitor in Windows

Here’s a quick how-to for anyone who wants to split their computer screen monitor into two so that they can view two applications side-by-side. I’ll also be talking about how you can split your screen across dual monitors and split your wallpapers so you can have a different wallpaper on each monitor.

The first how-to is really only useful if you have a widescreen computer display. Otherwise, splitting a normal monitor will not leave enough real estate for the two applications. However, if you have a 15″, 17″ or higher widescreen display, you can easily split the single monitor. And the best part for splitting on one monitor is that you don’t need any software application, you can do it for free using the built-in options in Windows. In this article, I’ll show you the process in Windows XP and Windows 7, the latter being the same as Windows 8.

Split Screen Windows XP

So in order to split your display down the middle either horizontally or vertically, first open two applications, let’s say Word and Excel. Now click on one of the tabs in the Windows Taskbar and then press and hold the CTRL key on your keyboard. While holding down the CTRL key, click on the other tab in the Taskbar. They should both be selected now (they should have a darker background than the other tabs).

split screen

Now that both applications are selected in the Taskbar, right-click on either one and choose Tile Vertically from the options.

split monitor

And viola! You should now have Word on one side of the screen and Excel on the other side! If you want them in landscape view rather than portrait view, just choose Tile Horizontally.

split display

You can also split your screen three ways or more by simply selecting more applications in the Taskbar! Pretty easy! So that’s what is involved to split your screen if you have one monitor. If you have more than one monitor, you won’t be able to split programs on the second monitor using Windows XP or Windows 7. Both operating systems support multiple monitors, but they simply extend the current desktop out to the extra monitors.

This means you will only have one taskbar and you can drag applications to the other monitors, but not split them using the method described above. In Windows 8.1, each monitor can have its own desktop and you can split multiple programs across multiple monitors.

Split Screen Windows 7/Windows 8

In Windows 7 and Windows 8, you no longer have to follow the Windows XP procedure for splitting windows because there is a new feature called Snap. Using Snap, you can just drag windows around the screen and they will “snap” into place. Drag  a windows to the far left, far right or to the top and you’ll suddenly see this translucent frame appear on the screen.

windows snap

As you can see, the window will take up half the screen on the left side because I dragged the window to the far left side of the screen. Now all I have to do is take another window and drag it to the far right and it will automatically fill up the right half of the screen. You have just split your screen in Windows 7/Windows 8!

If you are running Windows 7 with multiple monitors, you can use this dragging technique to split programs on the additional monitors too. In Windows 8, you can do the same thing, but you’ll actually have a separate taskbar for each monitor.

Third Party Apps

If you have more than one monitor, you can follow the same procedure as shown above for each monitor. That way, you would have four applications split across two monitors. Now if you’re kind of lazy like me and you would rather simply just click a button to split your screen, then you can buy a cool little program called SplitView for $39.

SplitView basically makes a GUI interface for this built-in Windows feature by adding buttons to each window that you have open to move it to the left or to the right.

splitview

You click the left arrow and that program gets split to the left and same for the arrow to the right. You can also configure keyboard shortcuts to make it even easier.

split your screen

Probably only worth the $39 if you really split applications all the time at your office or at home. Otherwise, just do it yourself by either clicking or dragging! Any questions, post a comment!

More posts from the Computer Tips Category

Make Windows Recognize Mac Formatted External Hard Drives and Files

Should You Shutdown Your PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad at Night?

lock computer.png

7 Ways to Child Proof a Computer

Create a System Restore Point with a Desktop Shortcut

Popular Posts This Month

How to Change the Last Modified Date, Creation Date, and Last Accessed Date for Files and Folders

How to Save Your Desktop Icon Layout in Windows XP, 7, 8

Best Free Alternative PDF Viewer to Adobe Reader

Alternative Method to Hide Files and Folders in Windows

Comments [14]

  1. GARZ says:

    Is there a single click method of getting out of split screen mode?

  2. lars says:

    To exit out of the split screens mode, right click the taskbar and select UNDO TILE. Then just close all open documents windows. The next time you open the document or window-browser, it may be necessary to click on the Maximize tab in the upper right corner. hope this helps.

  3. Fred says:

    Thanks for the split screen instructions. Now how do I get back to normal. I tried to exit out by right clicking the task bar, but there is no UNDO TILE choice nor anything like it. What's the trick? Thanks for any help.

  4. milo says:

    Hi

    Nice tip for splitting screen. I have just hooked up a second screen to my laptop and I want to see different applications on them, but what i get is the same screen mirrored. How do I tile my applications so that one goes to one screen and the other to the other screen?

    Platform is window XP.

    Thank you in advance for any tip.

  5. Jane Sofield says:

    Your instructions for splitting the screen with two Word docs, or one Word and one Excel work just fine. However, it doesn't work for two Excels or two Power Points, which are the two programs I use the most. Is there a different procedure for these two, or is it just impossible.

  6. Peedle says:

    If you want to get rid of it you can just maximize the windows, it wasn't that hard to figure out.

  7. George Hawley says:

    Hi,

    I have Vista. Does this work for it? What I want to do is have two Word documents showing on a split screen and to be able to copy text from one and move it to the second. Can this be done?

    Thanks

  8. Rahman says:

    Guys, try using Dexpot, it is a freeware enabling you to split the desktop into four sections.

  9. Hugh M. Vandervoort says:

    For Office Docs (Word, Excel), look under the "Window' Menu, select "arrange".

  10. Lisa says:

    How do you set up dual monitors in XP?

    My secondary monitor is a widescreen that I can pivot/rotate 90 degrees. How do I get my display to pivot/rotate as well?

  11. gie says:

    I was trying to find a Firefox plugin to split screen while browsing, happy to have stumbled upon your article although it only mentioned MS office. I tried with browser and it worked perfectly. Undoing the split screen, I just maximized each screen as I couldn't find the elusive undo button. :( well, I'm more than happy to know that I can do these things without installing anything on my computer. many thanks! :)

  12. Judy says:

    I have installed 2 external monitors to my Dell laptop (Windows XP) but both monitors mirror each other. How can I make one of the monitors my desktop, use the other monitor to work on and not use my laptop screen at all?

  13. Mobile11 says:

    I’m trying to split my laptop screen with a PC flat screen. In other words I want to have my laptop screen be on both the laptop and flat screen. I did it with my Vista laptop (different). Now, I wanna do it with my XP laptop.

  14. Leonard Neil says:

    I want to split my (2) monitors with one application on one monitor and another on the other monitor, can you please help me set this up? I don’t like the split screen on both monitors. Please help !

Leave a Reply