OS Tips – Manage windows more easily with Windows 7’s Aero UX Features
One of my favorite things about Windows 7 is its new Aero UX features. Once you get past all the marketing jargon, Aero essentially boils down to a few new window management features that make navigating and organizing your desktop a lot easier. For example, let’s say you’re writing a research paper. Wouldn’t it be handy to have your word processor open on one side of the screen and your browser/PDF reader on the other? Aero allows you to do that and so much more. Whether you’re new to Windows 7 or an experienced user, hopefully these tips will help you squeeze every last ounce of window management power out of Windows 7.
Aero Peek: While using Windows 7, you should’ve noticed this right from the get go. Hover your mouse over a running application in the taskbar, and you’ll see a small window popup giving you a preview of all open windows for that application. It makes window management a lot easier to see all open instances of an application at a glance, as opposed to the old system of having separate taskbar items. In addition, if you move the mouse and hold it on top of that preview window, Windows 7 will show a preview of that open window in full view. And did you ever notice that little rectangle at the right end of your taskbar? Hover over that to show the desktop, and press it to immediately minimize all open windows.
Aero Shake: This is a variant of the show desktop button. Want to bring your focus to just one window? Grab the top of any window that’s not maximized with your mouse, hold down, and literally shake the window (quickly drag back and forth) to minimize all other windows. Shake it again to show all windows.
Aero Snap: Quickly resize windows to maximize/minimize or fit them to the left or right half of the screen. For mouse lovers, grab the top bar of a window, and drag it to the corresponding side of the screen based on the size you want the window to be. For example, drag the window to the left side to have it take up the left half of the screen, or the top to maximize the window. For faster access, you can use the Windows button along with the arrow keys to achieve the same effect. For example, if you want the window to take up the right half of the screen, hit Windows Key Right Arrow Key. It’s very, very handy to quickly make things full screen and to browse two open windows at the same time (as for research papers). This is probably the best of all the new Aero UX features and one of the things I miss most about Windows when using Mac OS X. If you’re a Mac user and you want this functionality, check out BetterTouchTool (Snow Leopard only).
Jump List: This is a super handy function to access recent documents, or application-specific functionalities like opening a new window (if the application supports jump lists). Either right click on the program’s icon in the task bar or left click and drag upward to open up a program’s jump list and see all the options available to you.
How has Aero improved your workflow? Do you have any more Aero tips? Let us know in the comments!