Windows 11 is coming soon, and there’s a lot that I like about it. After trying out a “preview” of Windows 11, I mentioned 11 things that excite me the most, including the new Start Menu and the centered Taskbar.
Yet there’s one killer feature that is the highlight of them all. The feature seems to be known as window grouping in its current state, and it makes me pumped for what’s next for Windows.
A journey from an app
Multitasking in Windows has always been a feature that sets it apart from MacOS and Chrome OS. A feature known as “snap assist” lets you snap your apps side by side with a keyboard combination, or hovering the window to a specific side of the screen. Basically, hit Windows key and left, and the app moves to the left. Windows key and right, and it goes right. Or, hover and hold the window right to move that window right and see a suggestion for a window on the left.
That already worked great as it is, and MacOS lacks such a native feature. However, Microsoft took that further with the free Power Toys app in Windows 10, which lets you set “Fancy Zones” for your apps to make multitasking easier. You can create your own zones and grid of apps, set a canvas of apps, adjust the spacing around the grid of apps, and more. It was multitasking on steroids.
Windows 11 builds on that with some new window grouping controls, now native to the operating system, without the need for any apps.
Enter window grouping
Window grouping in Windows 11 is a real killer feature. It’s not as complete as Power Toys, but it is inspired by that app’s ability to tile windows easier. How do you use it? Well, it’s as simple as hovering over the maximize button. No more need to use a keyboard shortcut or even drag your window around. No need to download Power Toys, even.
Once you hover, with any other open apps in the background you’ll see one of six ways that you can tile the window. You can either tile side by size at an even length, side by side with one side bigger, straight down the middle with each being a vertical column, straight down the middle with the middle one being bigger, and other choices. You even can group the windows in a four-square grid, just like the Microsoft Logo.
Why is this so useful and exciting? Well, it’s because a lot of displays on laptops are getting bigger. With manufacturers moving away from 16:9 to the 3:2 aspect ratio, and the 16:10 aspect ratio, which has more room for multitasking, this lets you fit more on your screen at once. Especially for ultra-wide monitors. It’s now even easier to stay in your multitasking workflow.
Makes your taskbar easier to understand
At the moment it looks like this Windows 11 feature is still a bit limited, but it does help clean up the Taskbar a bit. In Windows 11, the Taskbar remembers any windows you’ve snapped through window groups and puts them together as one. This helps clean things up, keeping the bottom area of the screen clean, as it often is in MacOS and even ChromeOS.
Plus, it makes getting back to the apps you care about most easier. Yes, you’ll still see the app individually in the Taskbar as it is in Windows 10 if you hover the mouse. However, now you’ll also see the group it is paired with, allowing you to pull it up with the click of a mouse. It’s a really good change, and shows that next-generation windows will be a productivity powerhouse.