The truth is, even a generous 24-inch monitor can easily be cramped up when you have multiple windows open on your desktop. It can get even much worse if you are trying to do it on your laptop. But fortunately, there is a simple solution to this problem – just add a second monitor to your computer setup and spread it out. In fact, any laptop or modern desktop comes with a graphic capability to run dual displays, and all you need is the second monitor.
Basically, running dual monitors is quite easy and it only requires a few connections plus settings adjustments to be complete. The dual monitor setup really helps you with your workflow as you are able to transit between separate but related tasks quite easily. You no longer need to click through multiple tabs or keep toggling between windows. Now you will just need to drag programs and windows across the monitors and use them. As simple as that! And if you need a third monitor, you can also add it to your PC setup, but it is rarely necessary, as the dual monitor setup is enough to boost your workflow productivity.
In this article, we will explain how to set up dual monitors and why it is beneficial to your day-to-day activities. Setting up dual or multiple monitors is really pretty straightforward. But if you are still not confident after reading the article, you can always turn to an IT support company for extra help.
What do you need to set up dual monitors?
Today, monitors are relatively cheap and quite easy to find, which means that, for you getting a second monitor is easier now than before. The monitors come with a variety of ports and also includes several cables that will be necessary for your setup. Two of the cables that are a must-have are the power cable and the HDMI cable for the connection.
Not all monitors come with the HDMI cable though, and that means you might be required to buy the cable separately. This cable is super crucial for your entire setup as it enables it to run smoothly, meaning that you have to pay attention to the kind of cable you are buying. As much as some of the monitors come with VGA or DVI cables, it is the HDMI cable that’s the most crucial as it’s the standard connection for most dual monitor setups. But if you are connecting the monitor to a laptop, then the VGA can work pretty well in this case.
How to set up dual monitors
Before you start setting everything up, first position the monitors on the desk. Given that you are setting up two monitors, it goes without saying that you will need a bigger space. What’s more, by slightly tweaking the desk to achieve a slight inward angle and then position your chair somewhat centrally, you will be able to achieve maximum comfort while working. Also, keep in mind that you will need to have extra cords, plugs and must also be able to position your monitors near power outlets.
With the monitors in position, then set up a power strip that’s within easy reach, which is where you will plug the power cords. Then using the HDMI port, connect the first monitor to your computer. You can also use a VGA port – if you want. After that, do the same for the second monitor. If your computer has a single HDMI port and a VGA port, which is pretty common, then you will need an adapter to complete the connection. If you don’t have one, you can just get one in the retail store near you, but most of them are usually sold with cables. Bear in mind that you don’t have to connect the monitors with the same cable styles to try and make it work. Having connected the monitors to a power source, you can now turn the system on.
How do you configure the two monitors into one computer?
Set the primary and the secondary monitor
- Right-click on your desktop to select ‘Display’. You will see your monitors at the top of the resulting dialogue box, where they will appear as blue, numbered boxes. Each monitor is represented in each box, where box ‘1’ represents the left monitor and box ‘2’ corresponds with the monitor on the right.
- Select the monitor you want to adjust to being your main display.
- Then click on the ‘make this my main display’ button, and your second monitor will automatically be your secondary monitor.
- Click ‘apply’, and that’s it.
Set the resolution of your dual monitors
- Just right-click on your desktop and select ‘Display’, and you will see the monitors labelled in the blue boxes as ‘1’ and ‘2’ at the top of the resulting dialogue box. As we mentioned above, each box represents each monitor, with ‘1’ representing monitor one and ‘2’ representing the second monitor.
- Click on the monitor you want to adjust.
- Then click on the ‘advanced display settings’ button
- You will find the resolution drop-down menu, which is where you will click to select your desired resolution.
- Then click ‘Apply’ to apply the changes
How to set the display style of your dual monitors
- On your desktop, right-click and then select ‘Display’, taking you to the dialogue box.
- Then click on ‘multiple displays’ drop-down menu and;
- Select ‘duplicate these displays’ in order to enable the display on the second monitor to mirror that on the primary monitor.
- Select ‘extend these displays’ to expand your desktop to both monitors
- Select ‘show only 1’ for you to only use monitor 1 and disable monitor 2
- Select ‘show only 2’ to only use monitor and disable monitor 1
- Once you are done, click ‘Apply’ to apply the changes
Setting the monitor position
For the mouse to scroll left to right across your dual monitors, you will have to ensure that monitors ‘1’ and ‘2’ are position left and right respectively. To change the monitors’ position, then you will have to click, drag and place the numbered boxes representing the monitors to your preferred position. Just in case you get confused about which monitor is which, you can click on the ‘Identify’ link. The assigned numbers will appear on each monitor’s screen. After you are done with the changes, click ‘Apply’ to make sure the changes have been applied.
What are the benefits of dual monitors?
Saving time – to some of us, dual monitors will be of no use, but for some definite professions, it is certainly needed. For instance, if you are a designer or a programmer with so many applications to open, you can agree to the fact that it will be easier to open some of them on one monitor and the others on the second monitor. You will save a lot of time as you won’t have to navigate so many tabs that you will have otherwise have to open on a single monitor.
Boosting productivity – looking at it from one point of view, this statement might seem obvious, but looking at it from another perspective, we may think that using two screens may be digressing and disruptive. But the truth is, using dual computers does increase productivity by over 40 percent. This is according to a recent study, where it was determined that monitors lead to a decrease of human errors which in turn translates into an increase in productivity.
Enabling better concentration – let’s say you are using one monitor, of course, you would want to be accessible at all times, right? So, in addition to having tabs open where you do your job, you will also have Facebook and email tabs open as well. When you decide to check your email or Facebook, you first minimize the tabs with the job. Now, you might easily get caught up in the social media tabs, and that means that you will forget about the job. With the second monitor though, the situation will be completely different. For starters, you won’t have to minimise the main program just to open Facebook, as you can have your job tabs on one monitor, and your Facebook and email tabs on the second monitor. This way, you will just have to peek on the second monitor to see if someone wrote you, and still maintain concentration on your work on the first monitor.
Works well with laptops and allows for flexibility – If you like working on your laptop, and wish to set up an additional monitor, you should be happy to know that doing so is possible and actually very easy. Whether at home or at work, you can have an office with a dual screen set up, but still be able to disconnect your laptop and take it wherever you need to go. Connecting and disconnecting your laptop is quite easy, and only takes a minute.
What are the setbacks?
More space is needed – setting up one monitor won’t be a problem, but put an extra monitor in the same space, and you will have a real problem in your hands. This is particularly so if you have a small space or room.
It needs money – it is obvious that setting up a dual monitor will certainly cost you more, but with a good plan, this won’t be a problem. If you are not ready, this will be a problem. Good monitors cab be quite expensive, and you really need to plan properly, if you are to have a proper and efficient setup.
Stress on video card – from a technical perspective, the other disadvantage is the fact that the resources on the video card aren’t always enough to be shared among two monitors. Those who don’t have a powerful card, they will for sure have a serious problem in their hands. See, depending on your system and the kind of programs you are running, you will start to notice a difference in performance. Remember, not all video cards can be connected on two monitors simultaneously. So, always have this in mind when deciding to set up dual monitors.
Having a dual monitor set up is quite necessary, especially if you work on your computer a lot and do open many browsers. Considering all benefits, and how easy it is to set up, it is completely worth it and you should really consider it.