Using Vertical Displays With Chrome OS Is About To Get A Lot Better

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Using vertical displays on any OS can be a real pain point but that’s about to get a lot better with Chrome OS, reports suggest. That’s because Chrome OS, as seen on Chromebooks, Chrome sticks, and Chromeboxes, is about to get vertical window snapping. And that snapping is meant explicitly for vertical displays.

What does this actually do for vertical displays showing Chrome OS?

Now, the big change here was spotted in at least two different commits to the Chromium Gerrit. Both are associated with bug reports in the Chromium Bug Tracker.

The first applies to vertical split-screen snap, in clamshell mode, with regard to external monitors or a “dooly” device. So this applies more explicitly to external screens that aren’t part of the build for a Chromebook or other Chrome OS device.  And, summarily, it makes it so that users can snap a window along the top and bottom of the screen.


As Chrome OS currently works, vertical displays or not, windows can only be snapped to the left- or right-hand side. To see that in action, users simply need a window that isn’t maximized to full-screen mode. Then to drag that window all the way to the left- or right-hand side of the screen. The UI will highlight the left or right half of the screen. And when the mouse is released, the selected window will occupy that space.

With the change, users will also be able to snap windows to occupy the lower or upper half of the screen. Saving valuable real estate for content that needs to be shown in a wider format.

The second change applies more directly to vertical displays or monitors for Chrome OS. More directly, by ensuring that external vertical displays are shown with appropriate positioning and interactions for portrait mode. And that behavior is pulled directly from tablet mode, as included on some foldable Chromebooks.


What does this all mean?

The two changes in tandem, while not yet seen even on the test Chrome Canary Channel, will make productivity on vertical displays even better. Namely, by ensuring that a secondary, connected vertical display shows the OS properly. And that the windows on that display can easily be snapped to the top and bottom.

That will, in turn, make window management as that applies to portrait monitors and displays used in combination with widescreen displays, that much easier. Saving users the trouble of trying to multitask in a more manual fashion, as is the case with Windows 10 for example.