PowerToys FancyZones Utility for Windows (2023)

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  • 11 minutes to read

FancyZones is a window manager utility for arranging and snapping windows into efficient layouts to speed up your workflow and quickly restore layouts. FancyZones allow you to define a set of zone locations to use as destinations for windows on your desktop. When you drag a window into a zone or type its associated key combination, 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 also need to press and holdlayer(This setting can be disabled in Settings). The zones are displayed. When you move the mouse and hover over a zone, that zone will be highlighted.

You can also trigger zone selection mode by clicking a non-primary mouse button if the preference Use non-primary mouse button to toggle zone activation is enabled.

If "Hold Shift to activate zones while dragging" and "Use non-primary mouse button to toggle zone activation" are disabled, zones will appear immediately after the window is dragged.

PowerToys FancyZones Utility for Windows (1)

Adjusting to a single zone with the keypad

You can useWin+[Mushrooms; arrows]Align windows to a zone. The next zone to be captured can be selected by its index or by its relative position. However, you must configure them first.Overwrite Windows Snapbe enabled in the FancyZones settings.

PowerToys FancyZones Utility for Windows (2)

(Video) How to use FancyZones in Microsoft PowerToys

Adjusting for multiple zones

A window can be docked in more than one zone as follows.

Snapping to two zones by hovering over the border

When two zones are adjacent, a window can be fitted to the sum of their areas (rounded down to the smallest rectangle that contains both). If the mouse pointer is near the common border of two zones, both zones will be activated at the same time, allowing you to drop the window on either zone.

Adjusting for multiple zones with mouse + keyboard

You can drag the window until a zone is activated and then hold it downto controlHold down while dragging the window to select multiple zones.

PowerToys FancyZones Utility for Windows (3)

Adjusting to multiple zones using just the keypad

You can useWin+ctrl+Alt+[Mushrooms; arrows]to expand the window to multiple zones. However, you must configure them first.Overwrite Windows Snapenable and select in FancyZones settingsMove window based on: Relative position.

PowerToys FancyZones Utility for Windows (4)

window switch

When two or more windows are snapped to the same zone, you can switch between the windows snapped to that zone using the shortcutWin+Page up/Page down.

keyboard shortcuts

⊞ win+layer+`Start Notepad (this shortcut can be changed in settings window)
⊞ win+Left rightMove focus window between zones (only ifReplace Windows Snap Hotkeyssetting is enabled andchild indexis selected) in this case only the⊞ win+e⊞ win+be replaced while the⊞ win+e⊞ win+continue working as usual)
⊞ win+left right up downMove focus window between zones (only ifReplace Windows Snap HotkeysThe setting is enabled andrelative positionis selected) in this case all⊞ win+,⊞ win+,⊞ win+e⊞ win+will be replaced)
Win+Page up/Page downSwitch between docked windows in the same zone
Win+ctrl+Alt+[Number]Quickly apply custom layout (you must assign a number to the custom layout in the editor)

FancyZones does not replace Windows⊞ win+layer+Arrowto quickly move a window to an adjacent monitor.

Adjusting apps with elevated permissions

If you have elevated applications (eg Windows Terminal or Task Manager) and want to dock them with FancyZones, run PowerToys in Administrator mode. to readPowerToys and run as administratorfor more information.

(Video) FancyZones in 5 Minutes (Beginner's Guide) | PowerToys Window Manager

Introduction to the editor

FancyZones includes an editor that gives you more control over window layouts, which you can access from the PowerToys settings panel.

Start the zone editor

Launch the zone editor from the button in the PowerToys settings menu or by pressingWin+layer+`("Backtick" or "Accent Grab"; note that this abbreviation can be changed in the settings dialog).


Prior to PowerToys v0.39, this shortcut wasWin+`no displacement. This has been updated to not conflict withTerminal do Windows Quake-ModusShortcut.

PowerToys FancyZones Utility for Windows (5)

Choose your layout (layout editor)

When first launched, Zone Editor displays a list of layouts that can be customized based on the number of windows on the monitor. When you select a layout, a preview of that layout is displayed on the monitor. The selected layout is adopted automatically. Double-clicking a layout applies it and automatically closes the editor.

PowerToys FancyZones Utility for Windows (6)

When multiple monitors are used, the editor will detect available monitors and display them for selection. The selected monitor is then the target of the selected layout.


PowerToys FancyZones Utility for Windows (7)

space around zones

DieShow space around zonesThis setting lets you specify what kind of border should surround each FancyZone window. Thespace around zonesThe field allows you to set a custom value for the border width. With the Zone Editor open, change theShow space around zonesafter changing the values ​​to see how the new value is applied.

DieDistance to highlight adjacent zonesallows you to set a custom value for the distance between zones before they snap together or before both zones are highlighted so they can be merged together.

DieDefault layout for horizontal monitor orientationeDefault layout for vertical monitor orientationFlags allow you to choose which layout is set as the default when the monitor configuration is changed on the system (for example, when a new monitor is added).

PowerToys FancyZones Utility for Windows (8)

Creating a custom layout

The zone editor supports creating custom layouts. Choose+ Create new layoutbutton in the lower right corner.

There are two ways to create custom zone layouts:networkarrangement andcanvasDisposition.

DienetworkThe template 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 scale with different screen sizes. You can edit the layout with your mouse or keyboard.


(Video) 🚗 How to use Microsoft PowerToys

  • To split a zone: Click the mouse. To rotate the divider: Touch and holdlayerKey.
  • To move a divider: click and drag the handle or select the handle with focus on the layout.
  • Merge/Delete Zones: Select a zone, hold down the left mouse button and drag the mouse until multiple zones are selected, release the button and a pop-up menu will appear. Click "Merge" and they will become one big zone. Therefore, a zone would be excluded when merging it with another zone.


  • First focus the layout by pressingto control+Aba. Now you can edit it. All zones and resizers can be focused by pressingAbaKnopf.
  • To split a zone Focus on the zone you want to split and pressSorlayer+Sto share it.
  • To move a dividing line Focus on the dividing line and press[Mushrooms; arrows]To move it.
  • To merge/delete zones: Focus on the dividing line between zones and pressextinguish. All zones adjacent to the deleted splitter are merged into one zone.

PowerToys FancyZones Utility for Windows (9)

DiecanvasThe template starts with a zone and supports the addition of zones that can be dragged and resized similar to windows.

The screen layout also provides keyboard support for zone editing. Use theArrowKeys (up, down, left, right) to move a zone by 10 pixels orctrl+Arrowto move a zone by 1 pixel. Use thelayer+ArrowButtons to resize a zone by 10 pixels (5 per edge) orctrl+layer+Arrowto resize a zone by 2 pixels (1 per edge). To toggle between the editor and dialog, pressctrl+AbaKey.

PowerToys FancyZones Utility for Windows (10)

Quickly switch between custom layouts

A custom layout can be configured to have a custom hotkey to quickly apply it to the desired desktop. The hotkey can be set by opening the custom layout edit menu. After configuration, custom layout can be applied by pressingWin+ctrl+Alt+[Number]Binding. Layout can also be applied by pressing the hotkey while dragging a window.

In the demo below, we'll start with a default template applied to the screen and two custom layouts to which we'll assign shortcut keys. We then use theWin+ctrl+Alt+[Number]Binding to apply the first custom layout and align a window to it. Finally, we apply the second custom layout while dragging a window and snapping the window to it.

PowerToys FancyZones Utility for Windows (11)


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

(Video) Splitting Monitors With Fancy Zones For FREE!!!! Windows 10


Configure zone editor hotkeyTo change the default hotkey, click in the text box and press the desired key combination on your keyboard.
Start the editor in the display [...]Choose where you want the editor to appear.
Hold Shift to activate zones while draggingToggles between auto docking mode with the buttonlayerbutton (disabling snapping while dragging) and manual snapping mode when is pressedlayerThe button while dragging activates snapping.
Use a non-primary mouse button to toggle zone activationClicking a non-primary mouse button toggles zone activation
Display zones on all monitors while dragging a windowBy default, FancyZones only displays zones available on the current monitor. (This feature may affect performance if enabled.)
Allow zones to span monitors (all monitors must have the same DPI scaling)Allows all connected monitors to be treated as one large screen. All monitors must have the same DPI scaling factor to function correctly. (Unexpected effects may occur when monitors are used in different orientations.)
If several zones overlap, [...]Choose how to handle overlapping zones.
Zonenerscheinung [...]Choose colors for layouts. You can choose system or custom colors
show zone numberZone number must be visible when layout is displayed
Opacity (%)The percentage of opacity of the active and inactive zones. (Default: 50%)
accent colorThe color of a zone when it is the active drop target when dragging a window.
inactive colorThe color of zones when they are not an active dropdown when dragging a window.
border colorThe color of the border between active and inactive zones.
number colorThe color of the zone number
Keep windows in their zones when screen resolution changesFancyZones resizes and repositions windows in the zones they were in before after changing the screen resolution.
When changing zone layout, windows assigned to a zone correspond to the new size/positionFancyZones resizes and positions windows in the new zone layout while preserving the previous position of each window's zone number.
Move newly created windows to last known zoneAutomatically move a newly opened window to the last position of the zone where the application was.
Move newly created windows to currently active monitor [experimental]If this option is enabled andMove newly created windows to last known zonedisabled or the application has no last known zone, the application remains on the currently active monitor.
Restore windows to original size when misaligningWhen you undock a window, its size is restored to what it was before it was docked.
Make dragged window transparentWhen zones are enabled, the dragged window becomes transparent to improve zone visibility.
Allow docking of pop-up windowsBy default, pop-up windows cannot be docked. However, this could be the reason why some windows don't trigger FancyZones when dragged. This setting affects all pop-up windows, including notifications.
Allow docking of child windowsChild windows are not adjustable by default. However, this could be the reason why some windows don't trigger FancyZones when dragged.
Disable rounded corners when docking windowOnly for Windows 11.
Switch between windows in the current zoneAllows cyclic activation between windows in the same zone.
next windowTo change the default hotkey, click in the text box and press the desired key combination on your keyboard.
previous windowTo change the default hotkey, click in the text box and press the desired key combination on your keyboard.
Replace Windows hotkeys (Win + Arrow) to switch between zonesIf this option is enabled and FancyZones is running, it replaces Windows shortcut keys:⊞ win+links,⊞ win+To the right,⊞ win+hoch, e⊞ win+Low.
Move windows based on [...]How the next zone is selected.child indexallowed to use⊞ win+linkse⊞ win+To the rightto align a window based on its index.⊞ win+hoch,⊞ win+Loware not replaced.
relative positionreplaces everything⊞ win+links,⊞ win+To the right,⊞ win+hoch, e⊞ win+Lowand selects the zone to snap relative to the zone layout
Move windows between zones on all monitorsDisabled: Snap with⊞ win+Arrowswitches the window between zones on the current monitor.
Enabled: Window cycles through all zones on all monitors.
Enable quick layout switchingAllows hotkeys to quickly change layouts - see individual layout settings.
Lighting zones when changing layoutsZones flash when a layout is selected via the shortcut.
Exclude adjustment apps for zonesAdd an application name or part of the name, one per line (for exampleNotepadboth will fitNotepad.exeeNotepad++.exe; just combineNotepad.exeadd.exeRenovation)

PowerToys FancyZones Utility for Windows (12)


Does FancyZones work on Windows 11? ›

Only for Windows 11. Allows cycling activation between windows in the same zone.

Why is PowerToys not working? ›

If you're running any application as an administrator (also referred to as elevated permissions), PowerToys may not work correctly when the elevated applications are in focus or trying to interact with a PowerToys feature like FancyZones. This can be addressed by also running PowerToys as an administrator.

Does PowerToys slow down computer? ›

Powertoys Run

This wastes a lot space, and it's also slow. PowerToys Run is much faster in its approach. Start it by pressing Alt + Space.

Should I run PowerToys as administrator? ›

PowerToys only needs elevated administrator permission when interacting with other applications that are running in administrator mode. If those applications are in focus, PowerToys may not function unless it is elevated as well.

What is the difference between FancyZones and Windows 11 snap? ›

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.

Is Windows 11 good for Flight Simulator? ›

Yes, you can run Microsoft Flight Simulator on Windows 11, on this video you can see it running on a Windows 11 PC.

How do I enable 144hz on Windows 11? ›

To change the monitor refresh rate on Windows 11, use these steps:
  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on System.
  3. Click the Display tab.
  4. Under the “Related settings” section, click the Advanced display setting.
  5. Under the “Display information” section, change the refresh rate with the “Choose a refresh rate” setting.
Sep 2, 2022

Does PowerToys work on Windows 10? ›

Microsoft PowerToys is a set of freeware system utilities designed for power users developed by Microsoft for use on the Windows operating system. These programs add or change features to maximize productivity or add more customization. PowerToys are available for Windows 95, Windows XP, Windows 10 and Windows 11.

How do I enable PowerToys in Windows 10? ›

To install the PowerToys app on Windows 11 (and 10), use these steps:
  1. Open PowerToys GitHub page.
  2. In the “Latest” section, under “Assets,” click the PowerToysSetup-x. xx. x-x64.exe file to download the installer.
  3. Double-click the file to launch the setup.
  4. Check the option to agree to the terms.
  5. Click the Install button.
Nov 11, 2022

Does PowerToys work on Windows 11? ›

Microsoft has released the latest version of PowerToys, its suite of tools for power users on Windows 10 and 11, bringing it to version 0.60.

What is PowerToys FancyZones? ›

FancyZones lets you drag and drop windows into customizable split-screen views so you can multitask more effectively. Just hold Shift while dragging a window, and you can instantly snap it to a pre-defined portion of the screen.

How do I set up PowerToys? ›

Install PowerToys from GitHub on Windows 11
  1. Open PowerToys GitHub page.
  2. In the “Latest” section, under “Assets,” click the PowerToysSetup-x. xx. x-x64.exe file to download the installer.
  3. Double-click the file to launch the setup.
  4. Check the option to agree to the terms.
  5. Click the Install button.
Nov 11, 2022

How do I access power toys? ›

PowerToys Run

To open, use the shortcut Alt + Space and start typing. It is open source and modular for additional plugins. Window Walker is now included as well.

How do I install Microsoft Power Toys? ›

To install PowerToys using a Windows executable file:
  1. Visit the Microsoft PowerToys GitHub releases page.
  2. Select the Assets drop-down menu to display the files for the release.
  3. Select the PowerToysSetup-0.##.#-x64.exe or PowerToysSetup-0.##.#-arm64.exe file to download the PowerToys executable installer.
Nov 3, 2022


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