How to create custom Snap layouts on Windows 11, 10

If Snap Layouts isn't enough for your, you can use FancyZones to create custom snap layouts on Windows 11.

Windows 11 custom snap layouts
Windows 11 custom snap layouts

On Windows 11, “Snap Layouts” is a feature (part of Snap Assist) that brings a visual aid to snap windows on the screen more efficiently by hovering over the maximize button or dragging a window to the top of the screen. The caveat with this solution is that you can only snap windows with a predefined set of layouts, depending on the size and aspect ratio of the screen. 

Since Snap Layouts are limited and you cannot edit the layouts, you will need to use an alternative solution to create custom layouts to snap windows on your computer, which is when “FancyZones” comes in handy.

FancyZones is a tool part of the PowerToys app that allows you to manage windows on Windows 11 and 10. However, unlike Snap Layouts, with FancyZones, you can create custom layouts and access more customization settings that allow you to snap windows exactly the way you like to make you more productive. Although you can use this tool on any display, it is especially useful for large monitors or multi-monitor setups since you can create unique layouts per display.

In this guide, you will learn how to use the FancyZones feature in PowerToys to manage window layouts on Windows 11.

Create custom snap layouts on Windows 11

FancyZones allows you to create layouts to snap windows with pre-defined layout templates, but you can also create custom layouts with the editor. However, you must first install PowerToys on Windows 11 (or Windows 10).

To create custom snap layouts on Windows 11 with FancyZones, use these steps:

  1. Open PowerToys.

  2. Click on FancyZones.

  3. Turn on the Enable FancyZones toggle switch (if applicable).

    Enable FrancZones

  4. Click the “Launch layout editor” button.

    Snap layouts editor

  5. Select the monitor to create the snap layout with FancyZones if you have more than one monitor.

  6. (Optional) Select one of the available layout templates, including Focus, Columns, Rows, Grid, or Priority Grid.

    Snap layouts templates selection

    Quick tip: You can always click the Edit (pen) button to customize the layout with more zones, distances, and other options. If you want a more unique layout, skip this step and continue with step 7.
  7. Click the “Create new layout” button in the bottom-right corner.

    Create new snap layout

  8. Confirm a name for the layout – for example, My Custom Layout.

  9. Select the layout type. The “Grid” creates horizontal or vertical layouts, and the “Canvas” (recommended) option helps you to create layouts freely.

    FancyZones layout types

  10. Click the Create button.

  11. Click the “Add new zone” (+) button to create new snapping zones.

  12. Position the snap zone in the location you want and resize it like any other window using the mouse.

    FancyZones add zones to layout

  13. Repeat steps 9 and 10 to create additional zones depending on the number of windows you want to snap on the screen.

  14. Click the “Save and apply” button.

    Quick tip: You can always click the edit button to edit the zone, duplicate, change the name, distance to highlight adjacent zones, or delete the zone.
  15. Click the Apply button.

Once you complete the steps, the layout will be set up, and you can start dropping windows on each zone. You would do this by holding down the Shift key, dragging, and dropping the window to its position.

Customize FancyZones settings

The FancyZones tool includes several settings you can customize to control the layouts and windows behaviors. You can adjust these settings to your preferences, but you will get recommendations of the best settings you should consider enabling in the instructions below.

To customize the FancyZones settings for the best snapping experience on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open PowerToys.

  2. Click on FancyZones.

  3. Under the “Zone” section, check the Hold the Shift key to activate zones while dragging” option to snap windows using your custom layouts.

    Zone behavior

  4. Under the “Window behavior” section, check the following options:

    • Keep Windows in their zones when the screen resolution changes.
    • During zone layout changes, windows assigned to a zone will match new size/positions.
    • Move newly created windows to their last known zone. 

    FancyZones window behavior

  5. Turn on the “Override Windows Snap” toggle switch to use the Windows key + arrow shortcuts to snap windows.

    FancyZones override window snap

  6. Check the “Move windows between zones across all monitors” option.

  7. Under the “Excluded apps” section, you can specify the name of the app you do not want to snap on zones when using the Snap Assist feature.

After you complete the steps, the windows manager feature will behave according to your settings selection.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and About.me.