24 September 2009

Auto-arranging multiple application windows in Vista

If you're taking notes or eyeballing a couple of documents at once on screen, you might tile your application windows so that they are arranged side by side and fill up the screen. In Working with windows, Arranging windows automatically, the Vista desktop provides two commands for tiling your windows: Show Windows Stacked and Show Windows Side by Side. (If you Cascade Windows, your windows are stacked one on top of another and you can only see the contents of the top one.) This posting digs a little deeper into how this feature works and explains its limitations.

To use these commands, press the right-mouse-button (RMB) over the task bar and select the appropriate item from the context menu. The Windows desktop should automatically tile all application windows. If you want to restrict automatic tiling to specific windows, hold down the CTRL key and select the window icons in the task bar first, then press RMB and select the required menu item. A gotcha I noticed is that you can undo automatic tiling if you tiled all the windows at once, but you can't undo the last command if you tiled specific windows.

When you have selected only two or three windows, Show Windows Stacked tiles your windows one over the other vertically, like this:

+--------+
|        |
+--------+
+--------+
|        |
+--------+
+--------+
|        |
+--------+

As you would expect, Show Windows Side by Side tiles your windows horizontally:

+---++---++---+
|   ||   ||   |
|   ||   ||   |
|   ||   ||   |
|   ||   ||   |
+---++---++---+

If you select four or more windows, then it doesn't matter which of the two auto-tiling commands you choose because the windows are tiled in the same manner:

+---++---+
|   ||   |
+---++---+
+---++---+
|   ||   |
+---++---+
+---++---+
|   ||   |
|   |+---+
+---+|   |
|   |+---+
|   ||   |
+---++---+

The commands tile the selected windows based on the windows' titles, in reverse alphabetical order, as below. You can't make windows appear in a particular order by changing the windows' initial positions in the desktop or picking window icons in a particular sequence.

+---++---+
| E || C |
|   |+---+
+---+| B |
| D |+---+
|   || A |
+---++---+

03 September 2009

Floating IFRAMEs in Blogger

In my other blog, I wanted to show images to one side of the text, like this:

XXXXXX +--------+
XXXXXX | iframe |
XXXXXX +--------+
XXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

The images, generated by Amazon, are within an iframe element. After some false starts, I found that the simplest solution was to wrap the iframe elements in a div element, and float the div:

<div style="float:right">
<iframe>
...
</iframe>
</div>
<p>
...
</p>