How to Split Screen on Your Mac

Picture of a mac for splitting screen

A split screen view on a laptop or desktop computer is the division of the display screen into separate parts, each of which displays a different document, browser tab, or file. Splitting the screen is useful for multitasking and eliminates the need to switch back and forth between two windows. Split view can be used for: 

  • Copying data from one document into a spreadsheet 
  • Keeping a chat window open on one screen while browsing the internet on the other
  • Viewing research while writing an article
split screen view on mac.

Mac offers a split screen mode for its users to view two apps, browsers, files, etc. on either sides of the display. This feature is available for the OS X El Capitan operating system and later. Keep reading to learn how to use the feature.

How to split screen on a Mac

  1. To ensure the feature is enabled, check the settings. Go to Launchpad > System Preferences > Mission Control. Check the box that reads Displays have separate Spaces.

    mission control split screen mac settings

  2. Make sure neither window you want to use is in full-screen mode. If it is, click the green dot in the upper left corner once to exit full-screen mode. 

     

  3. With those same three dots on the same window, hover over the green button or click and hold it. You’ll see a series of options for screen view.

     

  4. Select either Tile Window to Left of Screen or Tile Window to Right of ScreenWe’ll select to the left.

    tile window to left to enable split screen on mac

  5. The screen will display on the left side. On the right side, any other window that is not in full-screen mode will be available to choose for the right side.

    Choose which application to sue for split screen view.

  6. Select the window you want to be on the right side and begin simultaneous use.

    simultaneous use for split screen for mac

Read also: How To Text From A Computer

Mac split screen FAQ

How do I exit split screen mode?

1. Move your cursor to the top of the screen until the red, yellow, and green dots appear in the top left. 

2. Click the red button to close the window entirely or the green button to exit split screen mode.

3. The window you did not exit out of is still open, it’s just hidden in full-screen mode. To access it, navigate to Mission Control by swiping three fingers in an upward motion on the trackpad. Click the window now visible on the top of the screen. 

mission control for splitting screen on mac

Why won’t my Mac do split screen?

There may be multiple reasons your Mac is unable to display multiple screens. 

First, ensure neither window is not in full-screen mode. Split screen view only works when the windows are not full screen. 

If that’s not the issue, make sure within system preferences that the Displays have separate Spaces box is checked. Refer to step 1 of How to split screen on a Mac above. 

If that option is enabled, check that you’ve updated to MacOS 10.11 or later. You can check your current OS version by clicking the Apple icon in the top left menu and selecting About this Mac

updating your mac to have split screen capabilities
If you’re using an earlier version, update it by clicking the Software Update… button on the lower half of the window.

How to adjust the screens in split screen

If you want one window to be larger than the other, click on the black border between the two screens. Drag your cursor to resize the windows to your preference. 

adjusting screen width in split screen for a mac.

How do I access Mission Control in split screen view?

You can use Mission Control for quick viewing and switching between all active windows both in Split View and full-screen mode. To launch mission control while in split screen view, use one of the following options: 

– Press F3 on the keyboard, the button for Mission Control. If your Mac has the touch bar at the top, press the icon with the three small boxes that look like this:mission control boxes

– Hold down Control + Upwards arrow. 

– Swipe up with three or four fingers on the trackpad. 

– Open the Launchpad and navigate to Mission Control in the list of apps.

What is the keyboard shortcut for split screen on Mac?

1. Press Control + Command + F to enter full-screen mode for a window you want for one side of the screen. 

2. Hit F3 or another method to access Mission Control. 

3. Drag another app, browser, file, etc onto the window you currently have in full screen. 

4. Click into that window, and split view will be enabled.

Read next: How to Reboot Your Mac Computer

Abby Braden
Abby Braden is an award-winning writer and editor for websites such as TechnologyAdvice.com, Webopedia.com, and Project-Management.com, where she covers technology trends and enterprise and SMB project management platforms. When she’s not writing about technology, she enjoys giving too many treats to her dog and coaching part-time at her local gym.

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