Snap an App Alongside the Surface Desktop - dummies

Snap an App Alongside the Surface Desktop

By Andy Rathbone

The Windows Start screen and Desktop app live in very separate worlds on your Surface. The Start screen is “modern,” whereas the Desktop app is “traditional.” They look and behave nothing alike, and, for the most part, they each work apart from the other.

Sometimes, though, it’s helpful to mix the two, perhaps placing your Calendar app next to your desktop to show your next appointment.

Windows does that with a feat called snapping an app.


Follow these steps to snap any Start screen app to the side of the Desktop app or any other app:

  1. Open the Desktop app and then return to the Start screen and open your desired Start screen app.

    To reach the Start screen from the desktop, tap the Start button or press the Windows key at the bottom of the screen. Find the app you want to view alongside the desktop and then tap the app to bring it to the screen.

    These steps work for placing any app side-by-side with another app. Just substitute a different app for the Desktop app example used here.

  2. Switch back to the desktop.

    Slide your finger inward from the screen’s left edge, dragging the desktop back onto the screen.

  3. Snap the app against your desktop.

    This is the tricky part: Slowly drag your finger inward from the screen’s left edge; your most recently opened app appears, following along with the motion of your finger. When you see a vertical strip appear onscreen, lift your finger; the app snaps itself to the screen’s left edge.

When the app snaps against the desktop’s left edge, a small vertical bar separates it from your desktop. The snapped app stays in place even if you head back to the Start screen and run a few apps. When you return to the desktop, your snapped app remains stuck to the desktop’s side.

App snapping works well for a few tasks, but it includes more rules than a rebate coupon:

  • You can’t snap an app to the side of the Start screen.

  • You can’t snap an app onto each side of your desktop unless you connect your Surface to a high-resolution external monitor. (Alternatively, you can shrink your Start screen tile size, but that makes the Start screen’s menus too small for easy use.)

  • To unsnap the app, use your finger to drag that vertical bar back toward the screen’s closest edge.

  • You can make snapped apps slightly wider or narrower by sliding the vertical bar to the left or right.

  • Not all apps perform well when snapped. Some become so tiny they’re nearly unusable.

  • To unsnap a snapped app, drag the vertical line back to the screen’s closest edge. When that vertical line reaches the edge, the snapped app unsnaps.