How do you split the screen in Windows?

Updated: 02/02/2019 by Computer Hope

Illustration: Split screen on one monitor, and extended screen on two monitors.When working on your computer, it's sometimes useful to view more than one document or application at the same time, side by side. In Microsoft Windows, you can do this on a single monitor if you split the screen. Or, if you have more than one monitor, you can extend the screen. The following guide shows you how to toggle both methods on and off.

Split screen on one monitor

To split the screen on one monitor, allowing you to see two program windows at the same time, side by side, follow the steps below.

  1. Press and hold the Windows key.
  2. Press the left or right arrow key. If you press the left arrow key, the active program window shows on the left side of the split screen. If you press the right arrow key, it shows on the right side of the split screen.

Windows 7 Smart Window

To exit split-screen mode, maximize one of the program windows by clicking the maximize icon at the top-right of the window.

Extend screen across multiple monitors

If you have more than one monitor connected to your computer, you can extend the screen across them. Called extended display, this feature allows you to view two or more program windows at the same time, one per monitor. Follow the steps below to turn on extended display for your version of Windows.

Windows 8 and 10

  1. On the Windows desktop, right-click on an empty area and select the Display settings option.
  2. Scroll down to the Multiple displays section. Below the Multiple displays option, click the drop-down list and select Extend these displays.

Tip: If you press the Windows key + P key, you can click the Extend option to turn on extended display.

Tip: In step 2 above, if you select Duplicate these displays, each of your monitors will display the same screen. When doing a presentation and your computer is connected to a projector, duplicated displays can be very useful to show others what you are viewing on your computer monitor.

To turn off extended display, in step 2 above, select one of the Show only on options, depending on which monitor you want the screen to be displayed. You can also press the Windows key + P key and select PC screen only to display the screen on the primary monitor or Second screen only to display the screen on the secondary monitor.

Windows Vista and 7

  1. On the Windows desktop, right-click on an empty area and select the Screen resolution option.
  2. Next to the Multiple displays option, click the drop-down list and select Extend these displays.

Tip: If you press the Windows key + P key, you can click the Extend option to turn on extended display.

Tip: In step 2 above, if you select Duplicate these displays, each of your monitors will display the same screen. When doing a presentation and your computer is connected to a projector, duplicated displays can be very useful to show others what you are viewing on your computer monitor.

To turn off extended display, in step 2 above, select one of the Show desktop only on options, depending on which monitor you want the screen to be displayed. You can also press the Windows key + P key and select Computer only to display the screen on the primary monitor or Projector only to display the screen on the secondary monitor.