FancyZones, Microsoft’s tiling window manager for Windows
Last week I started using FancyZones, one of Microsoft’s PowerToys for Windows, on my work computer. I think I love it.
FancyZones lets you create a tiled window layout and snap windows into pre-defined zones (or areas on your screen) via drag-and-drop. It makes it easy to divide your monitor into halves or thirds and arrange multiple windows neatly. Compared to manually sizing and placing multiple windows, it is much faster to snap them all into place by dragging them anywhere onto a zone or by typing a keyboard shortcut.
A tiled window layout is useful for arranging multiple apps for drag-and-drop, or for keeping multiple documents or apps visible at the same time. While it does limit where you can place windows on your screen, it is flexible and easy to adjust the layout. At any time you can call up a zone editor via a hotkey (Shift+Win+`). You can set presets for the different arrangements you like, and switch between them quickly.
FancyZones really clicked for me when I figured out that it can be configured to take over for the default window snapping feature’s keyboard shortcuts. Now I have windows shuffling between zones set up across my two screens using Win+Left and Win+Right key commands. I can still maximize with Win+Up whenever I need to, and then restore down with Win+Down as well.
Another neat feature of FanzyZones is that every zone represents a stack of windows. You can cycle through the windows in the currently-focused zone with keyboard shortcuts (Win+Up and Win+Down). These shortcuts are very useful because they operate on a smaller set of windows than the Alt+Tab or Win+Tab switchers do. It is much quicker to page through three or four windows within a zone than to go through all ten or twenty I have open system-wide.
If you are curious about tiled windows layouts, and you are a Windows user, I recommend checking out FancyZones. It is free, published by the platform vendor (Microsoft), and is even open source.