Moving and Sizing Windows Using the Keyboard

by Barry Dysert
(last updated November 23, 2015)

4

When your hands are on the keyboard, you may find it a waste of time to switch to the mouse. Or, it may be that you somehow got a window "stuck" at the top of your display such that you can't click its title bar in order to move it. In such cases it's good to know that there are keyboard solutions to moving and sizing your open windows.

Both moving and sizing are initiated by pressing Alt + Spacebar. When you press this combination a small menu appears at the upper-left of the active program window. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The Move & Size menu.

When you press the "M" key, your cursor turns into a 4-headed arrow. You can then move the active window via the arrow keys. When it is positioned where you want it, press Enter to terminate Move mode.

You can also change the size of the active window after pressing Alt + Spacebar. After pressing this combination, press the "S" key. Your cursor again turns into a 4-headed arrow, but now the arrow keys work to resize the window. Pressing the up-arrow reduces the window's height; pressing the down-arrow increases the window's height. Pressing the right-arrow reduces the window's width; pressing the left-arrow increases the window's width. As before, pressing Enter terminates the resizing operation.

 This tip (12664) applies to Windows 7, 8, and 10.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 30 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer.  He is currently a senior software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. ...

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What is three minus 2?

2015-11-24 09:40:35

James Horton

Thank you for your tip on resizing my screen . I did not know of the trick but please accept my extreme thanks from me.


2015-11-23 11:00:22

David G

On my Windows 7 machine, the window has to be restored down before the M or S key can be used.

After this is done, the Alt + Spacebar can be used to successfully press M or S. After pressing S, the first arrow button I click determines which edge is changed; e.g. if I press Left, the left-right arrow appears on the left edge of the window, and I can widen or decrease the width from that edge. To get to another edge, I press Enter. I then press Alt + Spacebar and click another arrow key to get to be able to change its corresponding edge.


2015-11-23 10:42:34

Gord

On my Win 7 Pro machine, Alt + Spacebar produces the small Move & Size menu but pressing the M or S key just closes the menu with no effect on the cursor.
Could something in my settings be preventing the function?


2015-11-23 07:24:09

Anne

This is a great tip. One correction, though: the increase/decrease width is backward. The left arrow decreases the width of the window and the right arrow increases its width - at least in Win 7.


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