No Pixel Wasted: How a Classic Utility Helps You Make Use Of Your Screen
If there’s one thing that’s cooler than a new app that works, it’s an old app that works. Sprinkled throughout the Internet you will find some quiet utilities that have been going strong for years now, doing just one or two things exceptionally well. Today, I’m here to give one of these gems some much-deserved love: Winsplit Revolution is a tiny, free, and powerful utility that lets you tile your windows.
If the concept of tiling your windows sounds foreign, take a look at your screen right now. How many windows do you have on the screen? Probably one or two, max. And how much white space is showing? How many pixels are being effectively wasted displaying nothing but the margins of this page? That’s what tiling solves: It lets you arrange windows side by side to reveal more information and work more easily. On a large monitor, it can look like this:
Granted, this sort of tiling may seem extreme when you’re using a 13″ laptop. But even on a 13″ screen you have room for two windows side by side, although in that case Windows default Aero Snap feature might do the job. With more windows to share the space, you can always manually resize windows and move them around, but that quickly becomes a drag (get it?).
Layouts and Presets
Winsplit Resolution lets you resize windows to preset sizes and areas on the screen. You can customize those areas:
Above you see a layout with five possible dimensions for a window placed on the left side of the screen. The Preview shows a layout where that window takes up two thirds of the screen. This is the core of Winsplit Revolution, and it is also the one area that could be better. To create a new preset dimension, you have to fill in textboxes:
It would have been much better if you could just drag frames around the screen to visually indicate the different areas. The good news is that Winsplit comes with sensible default layouts, and in the years I’ve been using it, I’ve only rarely felt the need to add more layouts. This is not a dialog you’ll be visiting frequently.
The Magic of Dragging and Snapping
WinSplit’s coolest feature is called Drag’N’Go:
Grab a window, hold down a key on your keyboard, and drag it. As you move it around the screen, different “drop zones” will light up in color. Once you get the zone you want, just let go of the mouse, and the window will drop and resize to perfectly fill in that area. You will instantly feel more productive and organized.
Of course, you can configure your own modifier key (or keys – I used Ctrl+Alt for a long time). Winsplit even lets you choose “none” as the modifier. This means Drag’N’Go will turn on every time you drag a window, but it causes some surprising behavior at times, so I would advise going with a modifier key.
Hotkeys and Multi-Monitor Goodness
If you’re a heavy keyboard user, one of Winsplit’s best features is how it lets you move windows around without ever reaching for the mouse:
This is the keyboard shortcut dialog. Every area of the screen can have its own hotkey. If you have a numpad, you will find that it maps out perfectly to the different areas on the screen (so Numpad 7 is your top-left corner, while Numpad 3 is your bottom-right one).
Multi-monitor support means you can use your keyboard to quickly send windows to other monitors. If you have almost 4,000 pixels of horizontal space (i.e, two 1920×1080 monitors, a common configuration), you will find this much easier than dragging windows all the way across.
A Classic That Stands the Test of Time
Winsplit Revolution rocks. That’s the long and short of it, really. We first reviewed Winsplit Revolution in 2009, then mentioned it briefly again in a post on optimizing your dual monitor setup in 2012, and once more in a roundup of window management tools in 2013. If you look around the net, you’ll find it’s not just us; the tool has been receiving rave reviews across the board for many years. If this is not the hallmark of a classic, I don’t know what is.
Are there other longstanding utilities you use on a daily basis and deserve more love? Let me know in the comments.