In Elastic Windows selecting, dragging and dropping an object (i.e. icon, www link, list item, etc.) on the border of an existing window opens a new window. The existing window is pushed according to the position of the border to open space for the newly created window. For example, dropping an object on the left border opens the new window to the left of the existing window. Space is partitioned between the new and existing windows equally.
Objects can also be icons for a hierarchy of windows. In this case, when an object of this type is opened, all windows in the hierarchy are opened recursively (Figure .b). This feature allows users to setup their work environment in a rapid manner, using their saved layouts.
Users can also select multiple objects and open all of them simultaneously in separate windows. In Figure .c, five objects are opened on top of an existing window, pushing it lower. Space is allocated to each window equally.
Another way to open a window is to select an object in an existing window and issue an open operation on the object, by clicking with the right mouse button. In this case, the new window is opened inside the existing window on the right, sharing half of the space (Figure .d). This operation extends the existing window hierarchy and facilitates rapid hierarchical browsing of information.
A window can be closed by selecting the close operation from the menu. When a window is closed, the freed space is partitioned to other windows in the same group proportionally according to their sizes. The close operation can be applied to windows at any level of the hierarchy. Closing a higher level window will close all windows in the hierarchy as well.