Add More Screen Real Estate to Get More Done
Overview: See how to boost your productivity by setting up a two monitor desktop on your Windows computer.
If you have a laptop, or a desktop with a dual-port video card, you can stretch your desktop across two monitors. This is an extremely easy way to boost your productivity when working with multiple documents and applications.
Frequently, you need to constantly jump back and forth between multiple windows on your computer. This becomes confusing, because one of the windows is always hidden behind the other. When you need to make comparisons or analysis, it is easy to miss small details.
Why not have two monitors and view both windows side-by-side at the same time, like you would do if you were comparing two printed documents.
This is a very quick and easy process.
What you will need:
- One external monitor
- One laptop or desktop computer
- Two minutes
Optional: If you have a desktop, you can still do this. You will need to get two external monitors and make sure that you have a dual-port video card. The diagram below shows what a dual-port video card will look like on your computer.
Setting up the Hardware
Start by plugging the external monitor into your laptop’s monitor port.
Turn on your computer and log in.
Configuring Your Settings
Minimize any software that you have open until you see your desktop.
Right click on your desktop to open an options menu.
Select Properties from the options menu.
The Display Properties menu will open.
There are five tabs on this menu. Click the Settings tab.
The settings tab will allow you to control how the monitor(s) on your system work.
If you have the external monitors hooked up, you will see two boxes in the top portion of the menu. (Numbers 1 and 2 represent your two monitors.)
By default, they will both have the same exact information. This is so that if you ever hook up a projector, you and the audience will see the same thing.
Spilt the Two Monitors
Now, you want to make the second (external) monitor act independently of the laptop’s monitor.
Click on the “2” icon to view and edit the second monitor’s settings.
The last checkbox at the bottom of the screen will allow you to split the monitors in two. Check the Extend my Windows desktop onto this monitor checkbox.
Do not close the Display Properties menu yet.
Arrangingthe Montitors to Match their Physical Locations
Depending on how you have your laptop and monitor positioned on your desk, you may need to adjust the arrangement on screen.
By default, the laptop’s monitor (1) will be to the left of the external monitor (2). If you don’t have your desk set up this way, you will need to click and drag them to match your setup.
Identifying your Physical Montiors
You can always see which monitor is which by clicking the Identify button at the bottom of the Display Properties menu.
A giant number 1 and 2 will appear on each monitor for identification purposes.
Moving Applications Between Monitors
Now that you have both of your monitors set up and working properly, you can separate windows into whichever one is most convenient.
You cannot move a window if it is maximized on one monitor. You will need to “un-maximize” the window before it can be moved.
Click the button to un-maximize the window.
Click on the Title Bar at the top of the window and drag it from one monitor to the other.
Click and drag the bottom corner of the window to resize it, or just click the maximize button to re-maximize the window.
Sit back and bask in the glory of your super-terrific multi-monitor wonderland.
See How it’s Done in this Video Tutorial
The following video tutorial shows you how to set up a two monitor desktop on a windows computer.