Multimedia research has mainly focussed on real-time data capturing and display combined with compression, storage and transmission of these data. However, there is another problem considering real-time selecting and arranging a possibly large amount of data from multiple media on the computer screen together with textual and graphical data of regular software. This problem has already been known from complex software systems, such as CASE and hypertest, and will even be aggravated in multimedia systems. The aim of our work is to alleviate the user from the burden of continuously selecting, placing and sizing windows and their contents, but without introducing solutions limited to only few applications. We present an experimental system which controls the computer screen contents and layouts, directed by a user and/or tool provided information filter and prioritization. To be application independent, the screen layout is based on general layout optimization algorithms adapted from the VLSI layout which are controlled by application specific objective functions. In this paper, we discuss the problems of a comprehensible screen layout including the stability of optical information in time, the information filtering, the layout algorithms and the adaptation of the objective function to include a specific application. We give some examples of different standard applications with layout problems ranging from hierarchical graph layout to window layout. The results show that the automatic tool independent display layout will be possible in a real time interactive environment.