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In Windows 7, we can easily arrange two windows with these shortcuts: Option (Alt) ⌥ + maximizes the window to the left side of the screen, and Option (Alt) ⌥ + maximizes the window to the right side of the screen.

I'm using a 27" iMac now, and I'd really like to do this. Does Mac OS X have this functionality?

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Are you aiming to do this constantly for particular windows that you wish to set up to be in a certain position at all times? If so, i think i have a better solution you might not know about –  XAleXOwnZX May 4 '12 at 3:29
1  
Many windows management tools are listed on several other threads. apple.stackexchange.com/questions/9659/… and apple.stackexchange.com/questions/9659/… are notably good Q&A –  bmike Feb 16 '13 at 18:04

11 Answers 11

up vote 23 down vote accepted

I use BTT (Better Touch Tool) which includes window snapping, as well as a whole host of other useful features such as extra multitouch gestures, and button management.

You can use as much or as little as you want, but window snapping is on by default and just means you drag an application to the top to maximise it, left to align and fill the left half, and to the right for the right.

Oh, and it's free.

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wow, excellent. It works. –  Benjamin May 3 '12 at 6:48
2  
Probably the best option out of all of these choices (even better than my answer) :-) –  daviesgeek May 3 '12 at 18:47

Yet another tool suggestion: ShiftIt. Free, actively under development, completely open source, lightweight, very easy to use, and keeps a low profile in the top menu bar.

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There are a number of free alternatives for that work well. These include :

There are many alternative window sizing utilities freely available.

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My favorite is Spectacle

Out of the box your shortcuts works exactly as you describe in your question.

⌘ ⌥ ← left half side of the screen, and ⌘ ⌥ → for the right.

It also supports assigning a shortcut for moving a window to another screen:

enter image description here

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I use these AppleScripts:

try
    tell application "Finder"
        set b to bounds of window of desktop
    end tell
    try
        tell application (path to frontmost application as text)
            set bounds of window 1 to {0, 22, (item 3 of b) / 2, item 4 of b}
        end tell
    on error
        tell application "System Events" to tell window 1 of (process 1 where frontmost is true)
            set position to {0, 22}
            set size to {(item 3 of b) / 2, (item 4 of b) - 22}
        end tell
    end try
end try
try
    tell application "Finder"
        set b to bounds of window of desktop
    end tell
    try
        tell application (path to frontmost application as text)
            set bounds of window 1 to {((item 3 of b) / 2), 22, item 3 of b, item 4 of b}
        end tell
    on error
        tell application "System Events" to tell window 1 of (process 1 where frontmost is true)
            set position to {(item 3 of b) / 2, 22}
            set size to {(item 3 of b) / 2, (item 4 of b) - 22}
        end tell
    end try
end try

The scripts first try to tell the application to change the bounds property and then tell System Events to change the position and size properties. Using System Events (or the accessibility API) works with more applications, but it can also appear a bit glitchy because the position and size are not changed at the same time. Other applications like Slate always use accessibility API.

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I have used BetterTouchTool for a long time, but found it sometimes needed to be restarted because it stops working.

I have also used Divvy, and am now switching to Divvy-only.

My personal setup is to use the tilt left/right scroll wheel buttons on a Logitech mouse to snap the windows to left/right halves of the screen. Clicking the scroll wheel button maximizes a window. Divvy doesn't allow mouse shortcuts AFAIK, so I used the Logitech control center to make those buttons trigger the shortcuts I configured in Divvy. If anyone is using a similar mouse maybe this is good info; Divvy is a great application either way.

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There's also BetterSnapTool, made by the same developer as BetterTouchTool. It has more features than BetterTouchTool, and it's in the Mac App Store for $1.99. Yes, it's a bit more expensive than free, but I personally prefer BetterSnapTool (and you're supporting the developer; very important).

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Divvy would be the software I recommend that is the most Mac like in design and implementation, yet it hits all the functionality most Windows 7 users prefer or are used to having.

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Another tool is Moom (5$ in the Apple Store): you can divide the screen in a number of squares and define keyboard shortcut to position the windows. Several standard placements are already defined by default (right/left half, bottom/top half, ...)

Moom screenshot
I never used anything else (I'm very happy with Moom) but DoublePane was mentioned several time on AskDifferent and it seems that several other alternatives exist.

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1  
An awesome thing with Moom is the ability to write applescript to load a named window config. Use your favorite launcher (launchbar, quicksilver, qsb, etc) to instantly arrange windows the way you want to. –  skarface May 4 '12 at 3:47
    
Moom isn't free, but it does come with a free trial - which, for me, was enough to fall in love with it. It's not a resource hog (about 38 MB of memory on Mavericks). It offers keyboard shortcuts that provide similar functionality to what I was used to with Windows 7. And, it provides a multitude of other features and finer control of moving and zooming windows (including saving/restoring snapshots). Highly recommended. –  2Toad Nov 7 '13 at 18:13

Cinch

Cinch brings the window management of Windows 7 to the Mac with a simple and easy to use application.

cinch: windows 7 window management for the Mac

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This is cool too. There were many nice apps I didn't even heard. I'm waiting some other stuffs. –  Benjamin May 4 '12 at 1:09
    
@Benjamin Yes. I love Cinch. It is great! –  daviesgeek May 4 '12 at 3:00

I’ve used SizeUp.app before, which allows you to press e.g. ++Ctrl+ to make the active window fill the left half of the screen, and ++Ctrl+ to make it fill the right half.

It has lots of other options as well:

SizeUp.app


If you prefer to use the mouse instead of the keyboard, you could use Cinch.app by the same authors. It allows you to drag any window to the left or right side of the screen to make it fill that half of the screen.

Both these apps aren’t free (although they’re very cheap), but they have free trials. Check it out!

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Why the downvote? –  Mathias Bynens May 5 '12 at 18:14

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