Split Screen on a Chromebook: A Step-by-Step Quick Guide

Multitasking is crucial if you use your laptop for business. Split-screen functionality is one of the most useful features available for completing multiple tasks at the same time. Most people are familiar with multitasking on PC or Mac, but did you know you can also use similar gestures on your Chromebook to enable split screen?

Using Split Screen on Chromebook
Using Split Screen on Chromebook

If you regularly use multiple applications in parallel, Chromebook’s split-screen feature can be of great assistance. It enables you to do your work in a more effective manner and produces superior outcomes with fewer interruptions.

There are several different ways to use this function effectively on Chromebook. We’ll go through each of them below. 

1. Use the ‘Show Windows’ key

The ‘Show Windows’ key is located at the F5 position and resembles a rectangle with two horizontal lines on the right. You can use this key to show all the currently active windows and arrange them according to your needs.

Here’s how to split your Chromebook screen by using the ‘Show Windows‘ key:

  1. Open any applications that you want to use in your split-screen.
  2. Hold the button (Show Windows).
    Show Windows button
    Show Windows key
  3. Drop one of the apps where it says “Drag here to use split-screen”.
    Using the split screen feature via the 'Show Windows' button on Chromebook
    Using the split screen feature via the ‘Show Windows’ button on Chromebook

2. Drag and drop via mouse

The easiest way to split the screen on a Chromebook is to drag and drop the windows to the right or left side of the screen, without using any shortcut keys. This might prove a bit tricky if you’re using a touchpad, so our recommendation is to use this method if you use a mouse. 

Here’s how to achieve split screen by dragging and dropping:

  1. Open any applications that you want to use during split-screen.
  2. Click and hold the menu bar.
  3. Move the window to the left or right side of the screen by dragging it.
    Drag and drop the window
    Drag and drop the window
  4. As soon as you release the mouse button, the window should snap to the desired side of the display.

3. Use Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts are the quickest way to split the screen if you are comfortable with macros. The process is as simple as holding down the “Alt” key and then choosing between the “[“ or “]” key.

If you press Alt + left bracket key at the same time, the window will shift to the left, while pressing Alt + right bracket key, the window will shift to the right.

Use Keyboard Shortcuts
Use Keyboard Shortcuts

Note: Clicking on either of these buttons will open a new window or modify the size of the currently active one.

4. Use the Maximize / Restore Down Button

Another way to use the split-screen feature on your Chromebook is to use the Maximize / Restore Down Button.

The main function of this button is to return the window to its default state (either minimize or maximize it), but you can also use it to achieve a split-screen scenario. 

Here are the steps that you need to follow:

  1. Start by opening any two applications that you want to use during split-screen.
  2. Click and hold the Maximize/Restore button of one of the applications.
    Use the Restore button
    Use the Restore button

    Note: The ‘Restore Down’ button is located in the upper right corner of the screen between the close and minimize buttons.

  3. After you press the button, you’ll notice two arrows on the left and right sides of it. While keeping the button pressed, move your cursor to the left or right section of the screen to have the app snap into place. 
    Dragging the application to the left or the right
    Dragging the application to the left or the right
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 with the second application to achieve a split screen. 

Reasons why split-screen might not work on your Chromebook

If none of the methods above work for you keep in mind that not all ChromeOS versions feature the split-screen functionality.

If you are using an older device model that’s not updated to the latest ChromeOS version, this feature is most likely unavailable.

To find out whether or not the split-screen feature is available on your Chromebook go to Settings > Device > Display & Sound > Display and search for the “split-screen” option.

However, even if your Chromebook supports the split-screen option, it may occasionally experience some difficulties with this feature.

Here are a few reasons why you might be unable to achieve a split screen on your Chromebook:

  • Your Chromebook might be in tablet mode. 
  • The split-screen shortcut (Ctrl+Alt) is disabled.  
  • You mistakenly pressed the maximize button on the window you wish to use for your split-screen. 

Kamil Anwar

Kamil is a certified MCITP, CCNA (W), CCNA (S) and a former British Computer Society Member with over 9 years of experience Configuring, Deploying and Managing Switches, Firewalls and Domain Controllers also an old-school still active on FreeNode.