Subgrid positioning is the feature that keeps me coming back to Nova Launcher

There are features on most good launchers that keep you coming back. Action Launcher has Quickdrawer. Nova Launcher's got quite a few features that keep users coming back year after year, theme after theme. Beyond the ridiculous amount of launcher customization, however, Nova has a surprisingly simple ace in the hole.

And that ace is subgrid positioning.

Say you put a 5x1 widget on the top bar of your screen, like a Google Keep widget. It's nice, but it's too thin to really let you see much of your notes. Then you stretch it to 5x2, and the widget is nice and readable, but it's now covering 40% of your home screen. You want your widget to be somewhere in between.

Google Keep widget on a 5x5 grid at 5x1, 5x2, and 5x1.5 size

With subgrid positioning, you can resize and place items at .5 increments on your home screen grid, letting you split the difference and resize the widget to be 5x1.5. It seems like a simple thing, but it essentially doubles your options when resizing a widget or placing a shortcut. On a 5x5 grid, instead of having 5 width or height options, you have 10, and when scaling and placing widgets, those options can make all the difference in the world.

How do you turn on this wonderful setting?

  1. Open Nova Settings.
  2. Tap Desktop.

  1. Tap Desktop grid.
  2. Tap Subgrid Positioning to enable it.

It's amazing the difference one toggle hidden in one setting screen can make, but subgrid positioning makes more themes and layouts possible than most other mainstream launchers, and that flexibility is hard to give up. Have you used subgrid positioning yet? If so, how hard is it to go back to anything else? If not, what are you waiting for?

Read more: Everything you need to know about Nova Launcher

Updated February 2018: This article has been cleaned, renewed, and given updated links!

Ara Wagoner

Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.

  • Very much this. Love this feature along with many others like icon resizing and gestures. I could never stay on boring default settings. That's one of the biggest reasons I use Android after all. Posted via the Android Central App
  • That and removing the obnoxious search bar.
  • +1 Posted via the Android Central App
  • This sums up why I use Nova Launcher over Google Now perfectly. I'm not a customization freak, and I don't use all that many of Nova's more advanced customization features, so GN is otherwise pretty well-suited for me. But I am very particular about object positioning, and Nova lets me organize things JUST so, which is why it wins for me.
  • Funny. Evidently I've always had the SP enabled but never even noticed it. Now I know. Thanks.
  • Nova Launcher is awesome to the point that it's one for the main reasons I have stick to Android so far!
  • One of the many reasons why I keep going back to Nova
  • This feature is really helpful. Better then all the new features combined. NOVA4eva Posted via the Android Central App
  • This is one of the many reasons that I love Nova Launcher. I have widgets overlappinng in subgrid positions, with passive ones moved to back, and always have my home screen layout backed up. It's a nice, easy-to-use launcher.
  • I much prefer a simple solution like Evie.
  • Tried all the popular launchers but Nova is the GOAT.
  • This is the main reason I'm having difficulty switching launchers. Everything positioned just so. I mean I tried Microsoft launcher and liked their side bar better than Google Now, but I can't go that way because of no subgrid positioning. Lol.
  • MS Launcher has subgrid positioning ;)
  • I will definitely give Nova Launcher a good again at some point but I love Google and use the Pixel launcher on my Chinese Oukitel K6.
  • MS Launcher has had sub-grid positioning for a while now.
  • using MS launcher and there is no option for it
  • I don't think it's an option to turn it off, try resizing widgets or moving icons
  • Since this comment is totally un-related to the launcher, I will go ahead and say I recently got the Razer phone which comes with Nova and I absolutely love it and especially this ability. On to my comment, which Spotify widget is that? Mine does not look like that.
  • Subgrid positioning is one of the reasons I have had Nova since it was first released. Also, the fast animations. However, after version 3.3, Nova stopped respecting (faster than light) animation speed when pressing the home button from another screen, and it drags to get to the home page. Granted, most other launchers do the same. But I stuck with this years' old version of Nova until now, when I find it is incompatible with Oreo. So I switched to ADW 2. It has every feature Nova does, except subgrid positioning, but responds instantly when the home button is pressed. And I find that this is actually more important to me than subgrid positioning. So after being Nova's biggest fan for many years, I have switched.