Split-screen without full-screen mode on a Mac – free add-in app

5 March 2016, 05:15

OS X El Capitan introduced Split View mode where two apps appear on-screen side by side. Alas, it’s limited to full-screen mode. However, an app that’s currently free for a limited time (usual price $6.99) lets you split-screen two apps on the standard desktop. It can also maximize apps to full desktop height and width without invoking full-screen mode (i.e. the behavior of the green button until recent OS X updates).

The app’s called Split Screen and is available through the Mac App Store. Once installed it lives in the menu bar, where you can click to precisely resize the topmost app to the left or right of the screen. However, the real power of the app lies in the keyboard shortcuts, which let you do this in a split second. By default the shortcut keys are:

  • Resize app to the left of the screen: Ctrl+A
  • Resize app to the right of the screen: Ctrl+S
  • Maximize app old-style (i.e. NOT switch to full-screen mode): Ctrl+D

Note that those shortcuts use Ctrl, not Cmd – although you can configure your own shortcuts using the app’s Preferences dialog (click its menu bar icon, then select Preferences, then click in each field before typing your desired keyboard shortcut).

The app has a few extras, such as a pop-up Web search (Ctrl+G) and the ability to hide and reveal files (Ctrl+E and Ctrl+F respectively). In short, this is a nice little app. Grab it for free while you can.




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I highly recommend Divvy, which I think was the first Mac app to do these things.

You can program “spaces” in Divvy which divide the screen up anyway you like – quarters, thirds, top, bottom, middle etc. Or you can manually draw a box on the screen to pit your app into.

Handles multiple monitors really well too.

I’ve tried a couple of others, including the Apple option. Still use Divvy on all my Macs.

Michael Quinn · Mar 5, 01:40 PM · #

Alas, Divvy costs money. This app is (currently) free.

Keir · Mar 6, 08:24 AM · #

Forget my earlier comment, I was looking for Mac Kung Fu rather than “Split Screen”. Found it, but it’s not free, it’s $6.99. What gives?

Kevin · Apr 7, 05:06 PM · #