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How to use split screen on your Chromebook

Splitting your screen into two separate windows is a handy method of task management that fits well with busy Chromebooks. Splitting your screen is excellent for doing research, looking up tutorials, consulting multiple sources, comparing images or video, and much more. Fortunately, Chromebook makes this split option very easy to do or undo at a moment’s notice. Here’s how to split your screen on a Chromebook.

For more on Chromebooks, you should check out our guide on the best Chromebooks you can buy and our look back at the history of Chrome OS.

Step 1: Drag and position your first window

For this example, let’s start with a humble browser tab. Open your window as you normally would, and then look at the upper-right corner to see your options for window management.

Look for the small Window icon — it’s typically the two-window “minimize” icon at this stage since the window is filling your entire screen, but it will change to a single-window “maximize” button when made smaller. For the purposes of splitting your screen, it doesn’t matter which version of the icon is there.

Now, click the Minimize button and hold. With the cursor held down, drag the window toward one side of your screen or the other. You should activate a lock-on function that will snap the window toward one side or the other of your screen, with a temporary divider line appearing to indicate you are splitting your screen.

Release and the window will be locked onto the side you dragged it to, but otherwise, everything should remain the same. If holding down and dragging is annoying (such as while using a trackpad), try only holding down for a second and releasing. Chrome OS should then show two Left/Right Arrows around the icon that you can click to lock the window over to one side. It’s a little slower but could be easier in some situations.

Step 2: Position your second window

With your first window in place, it’s time to tackle the other side. Open up another browser tab that you want to access, and once it’s ready, again click and hold on the Minimize/Maximize button in the upper-right corner. Drag this window to the opposite side of your first window, and it too should automatically snap into place, allowing you to release your cursor hold.

Now the two windows will be active on the screen at the same time, allowing you to move freely between them. One key point to remember is that the minimize/maximize button should be available on all your Chrome apps, so you’re not stuck only splitting browser windows — you can also split a variety of apps and browser/app combinations as you need to.

Step 3: Maximize when finished

When you’ve finished with split-screen mode, click the Maximize button. This should return both windows to their expanded state and remove the locked-split screen. You can use the same trick to return to the split-screen whenever you want.

This whole process generally works better with a mouse than a trackpad, as dragging and dropping objects with the latter may be a bit more challenging. With a little practice, you‘ll quickly get used to it and start splitting windows without a second thought.

To make the process even easier, you can try mastering some keyboard shortcuts. Or, check out our guide on how to split your screen on Windows 10.

Step 4: Learn the keyboard shortcuts

There are also keyboard shortcuts for splitting your screen on Chromebook, and this can make the process even faster if you plan on splitting your windows frequently and would prefer a shortcut to do it.

The shortcuts involved the Alt key and the bracket keys. Click on your window, and then press Alt + [ at the same time to lock the window to the left side, or Alt + ] to lock the window on the right side.

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