Multiple Monitors Boost Your Productivity – Try Two Instead Of One

For most of my computing life I’ve been using one computer monitor, but over the past few months, thanks to a promotion I had been doing with Lenovo, I’ve been using two 21″ monitors. It’s made my computer much easier.

I can view a Twitter stream on one and work on the other. Or read something on one monitor, while glancing at something on the other monitor.

CMIT Solutions Grand Central writes about using dual monitors in their recent email newsletter.

Is your Windows desktop getting a bit crowded? If you work with more than two or three software programs at one time, it’s quite easy for the multiple application windows to make your screen feel cramped and cluttered. However, before you dash off to the ComputerMart to drop some serious coin on a 30” monitor, consider adding a second monitor. Not only are two 22” monitors cheaper than most single 30” monitors; you’ll get much more screen space as well. To add a second monitor, you’ll first need to make sure your computer can support it. If your PC has more than one video output on the rear, then chances are it will work (if not, you can get a second video output by installing a discrete, inexpensive graphics card in an open PCIx slot). They don’t even have to be the same type of connection—you can use DVI for one and VGA for the other.

Plug them in, fire up the computer, and Windows should automatically detect both monitors. If it doesn’t, right-click on the Windows desktop, select “Screen resolution,” and use the “Detect” and “Identify” buttons to locate and configure the second display. On a laptop, you’ll need only one video output in addition to the integrated screen.

Once you have both screens running, you’re now free to arrange your application windows in whatever manner you find most convenient. For example, keep your email and chat programs running on one screen while you work on a document or watch a video on the other.

But wait, there’s more! Windows 7 allows you to use multiple monitors in other ways, too. For instance, you can use them in “Duplicate” mode to display the same image on both screens—handy if you’re using a projector and want your audience to see what’s on your screen. Or, display only one monitor at a time, which you might use with a docked laptop or if you don’t need to see your computer’s screen while running a projector.

Simply press “Windows key + P” to cycle through all the configurations or select from the drop-down list in the Screen Resolution control panel.

2 thoughts on “Multiple Monitors Boost Your Productivity – Try Two Instead Of One

  1. Bill Bennett

    I’ve found it’s better to get one large screen. Mine is a 24 inch display, but – and this is important — it has a 1920 by 1200 resolution. Most screens have less vertical pixels. The extra size makes it possible to have two documents side-by-side, say a PDF or a browser and Microsoft Word.

  2. Grant Wickes (@gwickes)

    Ramon: Getting dual (or even more) monitors doesn’t on the surface seem like a good investment, but it’s amazing how productive you become with two. 

    I attended an accounting conference 3-4 years ago and this was first mentioned a speaker as a productivity improvement (see this link for updated info from same firm (NMGI):  We came back and deployed dual monitors to try and wow… its works!.  Its truly one of those amazing “you don’t really know what you’re missing” things.  By the way, the link above also has a further links in the story to provide more ROI/support justification.

    Some examples of the benefits I enjoy with dual monitors…I can have excel streteched out across both monitors and run mulitple sheets on each, I can have Word open as I do some report and my browser doing research on the other screen. The results are impressive.  In fact it was so good, I put dual 22″ on my home computer since I couldn’t stand having just one monitor at home once I got used to two in the office.

    Cheers, Grant


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