Microsoft is still hard at work improving this unloved Windows 11 feature

We’ve caught a glimpse of how a part of the Windows 11 interface could work in the future, thanks to digging in a new preview build.

PhantomOfEarth, one of the regular sources of Microsoft leaks on Twitter, used ViVeTool to uncover how smart snap suggestions should pan out in Windows 11.

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You can see the results (this is in preview build 23493 in the Dev channel) in the video clip provided in the tweet above.

As noted by the leaker, the snapping process and tooltips are now working properly, so Microsoft is making progress with this part of the interface.

For the uninitiated – those who don’t use snap layouts – it’s a part of the interface that allows you to easily ‘snap’ multiple apps together in different layouts, with the suggestions providing predefined templates of how you might want those apps to sit on the screen.

Microsoft is also adding icons to the snap flyout carrying the suggested layouts, so you can see which windows will carry which apps (as the icon of the application is present in its relevant window).

We’re seeing Microsoft do a lot of work in build 23493, and it makes a big move in terms of the introduction of Windows Copilot (although the AI is very barebones to begin with), plus there’s some interesting work on the Settings app (yes, it’s an app, and yes, it just got improved in a major way).

Analysis: Heading for a multitasker’s paradise?

On top of all that other work on the UI (there’s a new volume mixer in 23493, to boot), this is a promising glimpse of how snap suggestions is coming along. It looks pretty slick even in this still early stage of the game, as remember, the feature isn’t even functional yet. (Not without using the aforementioned Windows configuration tool, ViVeTool, to turn it on).

As ever, features in testing may change, and as PhantomOfEarth points out, Microsoft is currently testing two variants of snap suggestions with the available layouts arranged somewhat differently, trying to work out which is optimal no doubt.

There’s even a chance that features in testing won’t make it to release at all – especially hidden functionality like this – but in the case of snap suggestions, we’re thinking this is a pretty safe bet for eventual inclusion in Windows 11. Particularly as snap layouts is an area Microsoft has been tinkering with a fair bit in recent times.

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Microsoft is improving its touch controls on Windows 11 with new update

As part of Microsoft’s latest presentation on the future of hybrid work, the tech giant revealed that Windows 11 is getting a much-requested improvement to touch controls in the form of additional touch snap layouts.

Available across touch-enabled devices running Windows 11 after Microsoft's productivity event, the new touch-snap layouts will allow users to better organize their desktop for multitasking and productivity, saving them from the plight of rummaging through tabs and different windows to find the information they are looking for. 

Accessed by dragging a window or app to the center of the top of your display, Windows 11’s snap layouts offer a substantial improvement in ease of use over Windows 10’s drag-and-drop snap assist feature which often lacked precision.

Currently, when accessing Windows 11’s snap layouts you will be given a choice of four different layouts you can choose from, or six if you have got a larger display. While this selection has been somewhat limited in the past, Microsoft now expanding its touch snap offerings means that you should not have to resort to manually organizing your windows if there is not already a snap layout that takes your fancy.

 Analysis: a welcome blessing for power users

As multiple monitor setups are rarely an option for touch-enabled devices, such as the Microsoft Surface, the addition of more touch snap options is a godsend to Windows power users who want to eke out every bit of productivity they can from their devices. 

While new snapping options in Windows 11 are undoubtedly a good thing for organising your information, users will likely still find themselves limited by the size of their device rather than the number of windows that it is physically possible to cram on there. 

Since snapping four windows onto a Surface Go’s 10-inch display is already too much information to handle, we can only hope that Microsoft has carefully considered the snap layouts that users might actually want to use on their touch compatible devices. 

We have not yet got our hands on the expanded suite of touch snap layouts just yet, but we are certainly hoping that more horizontal snapping options are included as currently, those are sorely lacking as it is vertical or bust.

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