Move and resize windows from anywhere

Move this window. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Great. Now resize this window.

If you’re like most people, you moved the window by dragging the title bar and resized by dragging the edge or corner of the window. That works and all, but you have to move your mouse to the right spots, which may very well be at the opposite end of the screen, and what do you do if you find yourself with a title bar past the top of your screen?

Windows and Mac have taught you to move using the title bar and resize using the corner. It works, but it’s inefficient because you have to position your mouse in a certain area that could be at the other end of the screen, and in the case of the corner, you only have to move a couple of pixels over to be out of range for resizing. Moving and positioning your cursor takes time, and it could be enough to lose track of what you were actually doing.

“Big deal”, you say. Well, for me, it is a big deal. I don’t want to have to think about moving or resizing my window if I’m doing something more important.

Most window managers available for Linux allow you to move and resize windows from anywhere within the window, not just from the title bar or the edges. Here’s a demonstration of moving a window without the titlebar:

AltDrag by Mike Hollis [YouTube]

This is a fairly simple trick: to move a window without using the title bar, place your cursor anywhere over the window, hold Alt (or the Windows key with some window managers), and drag the window using the left mouse button to where you want it. To resize, use the right mouse button instead of the left. Watch out with resizing, though, because some window managers will split the window into nine imaginary regions and will restrict resizing based on where your cursor is in the window; for example, if your cursor is near a vertical edge (regions 4 and 6 in the figure below), then you are restricted to resizing horizontally only.

A window split according to the rule of thirds

The nine imaginary regions

You will undoubtedly get used to this and will not want to go back if you find it immensely useful like I do. Mac and Windows don’t offer Alt dragging natively, but there are ways to get it for those times when you have to switch back for a short while. To get the functionality on Windows, you can use the Easy Window Dragging (KDE style) script by Jonny for AutoHotkey, or if you don’t want to get AutoHotkey, you can use the standalone version (EXE, 1.1 MB). On Mac OS X, you can use BetterTouchTool.

Increase your productivity and start using your Alt key today!


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