FancyZones utility

FancyZones is a window manager utility for arranging and snapping windows into efficient layouts to improve the speed of your workflow and restore layouts quickly. FancyZones allows you to define a set of zone locations to be used as targets for windows on your desktop. When you drag a window into a zone, or enter the associated keyboard shortcut, the window is resized and repositioned to fill that zone.

Snapping to a single zone with the mouse

First, drag the window. By default, you will also need to press and hold the Shift key (This setting can be disabled via Settings). You'll see the zones appear. As you move your mouse, hovering over a zone will highlight that zone.

FancyZones in action screenshot.

Snapping to a single zone with keyboard

You can use Win+[arrows] to expand the window to multiple zones. However, you must first set Override Windows Snap to enabled in the FancyZones settings.

Settings for Snapping to Multiple Zones via Keyboard.

Snapping to multiple zones

A window can be snapped to more than one zone in the following ways.

Snapping to two zones by edge hovering

If two zones are adjacent, a window can be snapped to the sum of their area (rounded to the minimum rectangle that contains both). When the mouse cursor is near the common edge of two zones, both zones are activated simultaneously, allowing you to drop the window into both zones.

Snapping to multiple zones with the mouse + keyboard

You can drag the window until one zone is activated, then press and hold the Control key while dragging the window to select multiple zones.

Two Zones Activation screenshot.

Snapping to multiple zones with only the keyboard

You can use Win+Ctrl+Alt+[arrows] to expand the window to multiple zones. However, you must first set Override Windows Snap to enabled in the FancyZones settings and select Move windows based on: Relative position.

Settings for Snapping to Multiple Zones via Keyboard.

Window switching

When two or more windows are snapped in the same zone, you can cycle between the snapped windows in that zone by using the shortcut Win+PgUp/PgDn.

Shortcut keys

Shortcut Action
⊞ Win+Shift+` Launches the editor (this shortcut can be changed in the Settings window)
⊞ Win+left/right Move focused window between zones (only if Override Windows Snap hotkeys setting is turned on, in that case only the ⊞ Win+ and ⊞ Win+ are overridden, while the ⊞ Win+ and ⊞ Win+ keep working as usual)

FancyZones doesn't override the Windows ⊞ Win+Shift+arrow to quickly move a window to an adjacent monitor.

Snapping apps with elevated permission

If you have applications that are elevated (such as Windows Terminal or Task Manager) and want them snapped with FancyZones, run PowerToys in administrator mode. Read PowerToys and running as administrator for more information.

Getting started with the editor

FancyZones includes an editor to give you more control over your window layouts that can be accessed in the PowerToys Settings dashboard.

Launch zones editor

Launch the zones editor using the button in the PowerToys Settings menu or by pressing Win+Shift+` ("back-tick" or "accent grave"; note that this shortcut can be changed in the Settings dialog).

Note

Previous to PowerToys v0.39, this shortcut was Win+` without Shift. This was updated so that it does not conflict with Windows Terminal Quake mode shortcut.

FancyZones Settings UI.

Choose your layout (Layout Editor)

When first launched, the zones editor presents a list of layouts that can be adjusted by how many windows are on the monitor. Selecting a layout shows a preview of that layout on the monitor. The selected layout is applied automatically. Double-clicking a layout will apply it and automatically close the editor.

FancyZones Picker screenshot.

If multiple displays are in use, the editor will detect the available monitors and display them for you to choose between. The chosen monitor will then be the target of the selected layout.

FancyZones Picker Multiple Monitors.

Space around zones

The Show space around zones setting enables you to determine what sort of margin will surround each FancyZone window. The Space around zones field enables you to set a custom value for the width of the margin. With the Zones Editor open, change the Show space around zones after changing the values to see the new value applied.

The Distance to highlight adjacent zones enables you to set a custom value for the amount of space between zones until they snap together, or before both are highlighted enabling them to merge together.

FancyZones space around zones screenshot.

Creating a custom layout

The zones editor supports creating custom layouts. Select the + Create new layout button at the bottom-right.

There are two ways to create custom zone layouts: Grid layout and Canvas layout.

The Grid model starts with a three column grid and allows zones to be created by splitting and merging zones, resizing the gutter between zones as desired. This is a relative layout and will resize with different screen sizes.

  • To divide a zone: click your mouse. To rotate the divider: hold down the Shift key.
  • To move a divider: click on the thumb and drag.
  • To merge/delete zones: select a zone and hold the left mouse button and drag the mouse until multiple zones are selected, release the button and a popup menu will show up. Click "Merge" and they will become one big zone. This is how a zone would be deleted, by merging it into another zone.

FancyZones Table Editor Mode.

The Canvas model starts with a blank layout and supports adding zones that can be dragged and resized similar to windows. Canvas layouts are directly tied to DPI and resolution of the monitor.

Canvas layout also has keyboard support for zone editing. Use the arrow keys (up, down, left, right) to move a zone by 10 pixels, or Ctrl+arrow to move a zone by 1 pixel. Use the Shift+arrow keys to resize a zone by 10 pixels (5 per edge), or Ctrl+Shift+arrow to resize a zone by 2 pixels (1 per edge). To switch between the editor and dialog, press the Ctrl+Tab keys.

FancyZones Window Editor Mode.

Quickly changing between custom layouts

A custom layout can be configured to have a user-defined hotkey to quickly apply it to the desired desktop. The hotkey can be set by opening the custom layout's edit menu. Once set, the custom layout can be applied by pressing the Win+Ctrl+Alt+[number] binding. The layout can also be applied by pressing the hotkey when dragging a window.

In the demo below, we start with a default template applied to the screen and two custom layouts that we assign hotkeys for. We then use the Win+Ctrl+Alt+[number] binding to apply the first custom layout and snap a window to it. Finally, we apply the second custom layout while dragging a window and snap the window to it.

FancyZones Quick-Swap Layouts settings and usage.

Tip

The settings for your custom zone layouts are saved in the file %LocalAppData%\Microsoft\PowerToys\FancyZones\custom-layouts.json. This file can be manually changed to tweak zones, and exported to share layouts across devices. Other json files in the same directory can be modified to alter settings for monitors, layout hotkeys, etc. Be warned that editing these files is not recommended as it may cause other issues with FancyZones functionality.

Settings

Setting Description
Configure the zone editor hotkey To change the default hotkey, click on the textbox and then press the desired key combination on your keyboard.
Launch editor on the display [...] Select where the Editor will show.
Hold Shift key to activate zones while dragging Toggles between auto-snap mode with the Shift key (disabling snapping during a drag) and manual snap mode where pressing the Shift key during a drag enables snapping.
Use a non-primary mouse button to toggle zone activation Clicking a non-primary mouse button toggles the zones activation
Show zones on all monitors while dragging a window By default, FancyZones shows only the zones available on the current monitor. (This feature may have a performance impact when checked)
Allow zones to span across monitors (all monitors must have the same DPI scaling) Allows to treat all connected monitors as one large screen. To work correctly, it requires all monitors to have the same DPI scaling factor. (There might be unexpected effects when using monitors in different orientations)
When multiple zones overlap [...] Choose how to deal with overlapping zones.
Zone appearance Select colors for the layouts.
Zone highlight color The color of a zone when it is the active drop target during the dragging of a window.
Zone inactive color The color of zones when they are not an active drop during the dragging of a window.
Zone border color The color of the border of active and inactive zones.
Zone opacity (%) The percentage of opacity of active and inactive zones. (default: 50%)
Keep windows in their zones when the screen resolution changes FancyZones will resize and reposition windows into the zones they were previously in after a screen resolution change.
During zone layout changes, windows assigned to a zone will match new size/position FancyZones will resize and position windows into the new zone layout by maintaining the previous zone number location of each window.
Move newly created windows to the last known zone Automatically move a newly opened window into the last zone location that application was in.
Move newly created windows to the current active monitor [experimental] When this option is checked, and Move newly created windows to the last known zone is unchecked or the application doesn't have a last known zone, it keeps the application on the current active monitor.
Restore the original size of windows when unsnapping Unsnapping a window will restore its size as before it was snapped.
Make dragged window transparent When the zones are activated, the window being dragged is made transparent to improve the zones visibility.
Allow popup windows snapping This setting can affect all popup windows including notifications.
Allow child windows snapping
Disable round corners when window is snapped Only for Windows 11.
Override Windows Snap hotkeys (Win + arrow) to move between zones When this option is checked and FancyZones is running, it overrides two Windows Snap keys: ⊞ Win+left and ⊞ Win+right.
Move windows based on their position Allows to use ⊞ Win+arrows to snap a window based on its position relatively to the zone layout.
Move windows between zones across all monitors Unchecked: snapping with ⊞ Win+arrow cycles the window through the zones on the current monitor.
Checked: it cycles the window through all the zones on all monitors.
Enable quick layout switch Enables hotkeys to quickly changes layouts - see individual layout settings.
Flash zones when switching layout The zones will flash when a layout is selected via the shortcut.
Exclude applications from snapping to zones Add an application's name, or part of the name, one per line (e.g. adding Notepad will match both Notepad.exe and Notepad++.exe; to match only Notepad.exe add the .exe extension)

FancyZones Settings bottom screenshot.