Typical computers only have a single display. This is sufficient for many tasks and offers plenty of screen space for surfing the Internet and light work. But why settle for one when you could have two, three, or even four monitors on hand?
Dual monitor setups are becoming increasingly popular in the modern world, and it's easy to see why. Not only do they make life a lot easier, but they also make you feel super cool working from your cyber Ikea battle station. Of course, it's all about productivity.
Let's take a look at how to set up two monitors for yourself.
Common questions about dual screen monitor setups
Before we dive into the juicy set up things, it's important to answer a few questions about dual monitor setups.
Which Monitors Should You Choose?
Choosing the right monitors for your dual monitor setup can seem easy at first glance. As long as it has the correct type of input, any monitor should be able to connect to your computer. However, there are a few considerations to be made in order to create the best dual monitor setup.
- size: The size of your monitors is very important. Most people try to keep their monitors the same size, although you could have a small monitor for background tasks as well.
- Aspect ratio: Most monitors have a 16: 9 aspect ratio, but other types like ultrawide monitors give you more options as you tweak your battle station.
- resolution: Having monitors with different resolutions is commonplace, but that doesn't mean it's a good idea. For example, a 1080p screen can look very low resolution next to a 4K screen, even if it looks fine on its own.
- colour: Most monitors have different color profiles that make them appear next to each other. This difference is most noticeable between old and new monitors, and it's worth considering if you're interested in the colors on your screen.
- Input types: HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI, and a variety of other display input connectors can be found on monitors. Adapters can be used to make devices work together, but it's usually best to pair the inputs to their correct counterparts.
While it is worth keeping all of this in mind, your multi-monitor setup still allows you to be creative. Having two monitors of the same make and model can look really nice. You can also get a little funky with it, however, and we did that with the two-monitor setup we'll put together later in this article.
How to assemble a setup with two monitors
Therefore, most monitors come with their own stands. These stands are perfectly functional, but they often lack the wow factor that comes with a monitor arm or wall mount. This option is by no means essential, but it can be incredibly cool, and it has never been easier to achieve with your own setup.
You can find affordable hardware for mounting monitors and televisions on the Internet. It is important to ensure that you choose a bracket with the correct type of mounting bracket along with a monitor that can accommodate it. The most common type of monitor mount is a VESA mount, although it may still be worth checking the size as there is some variation.
Is my device compatible with two screens?
Not every device on the market is compatible with two screens, be it because they lack the capability or the ports to do so. Obviously, your two-monitor setup wouldn't get you very far if your device couldn't support them. So you need to find out before you start.
- Desktop PCs: Both macOS and Windows are compatible with two screens in their software. In addition, you will also need a dedicated graphics card or monitors that can work with inputs such as USB.
- Laptops: Most laptops have display-out ports for an additional display, although many modern computers can also have displays that are plugged into their USB Type-C ports with a dongle, such as a computer monitor. B. the portable dual monitor DUEX Pro.
Smartphones and tablets: Both Android and iOS devices can run with additional monitors attached. You will likely need an adapter to accomplish this with cables, but you can also stream your display wirelessly with such devices.
How to set up two monitors
Now we're with the good things. Setting up dual monitors is a relatively straightforward process. It's worth having all of the cables on hand before you begin, and you can tweak this guide to make sure it works best for your setup.
1. Set up dual monitor positioning
The first step in this process is to set up your monitors on your desk. You need to use a little bit of your imagination to make sure your cables go in the right places. As you can see in the photo above, we have a normal 16: 9 monitor combined with a 21: 9 ultrawide.
2. Connect your monitors
Once installed, you can run and plug in your power cables to your monitors. You can then use the display cables you are using, taking special care that you plug them in correctly and in the right places. This can be done with the computer switched on and logged in.
3. Set up your monitors in Windows
Windows 10 makes getting started with two monitors incredibly easy. All the features that most users need are built in, from the full-width system tray to the simple set-up process. However, this does not mean that we will not consider the options that you are offered.
With your monitors plugged in, you can right-click on the Desktop, followed by a left click on display settings.
This gives you access to a window with controls for your monitors. You should a. see Multiple advertisements Area of options to control your monitors. We've broken down some of these settings below to get you started.
- Identify monitors: This will post a 1 and a 2 on your screens and show you what's on the computer's head.
- Multiple advertisements: This option allows you to see the same thing on both screens, expand your displays and have them act as one, or just show content on one of your displays.
- positioning: The box at the top of the window that appears allows you to change the position of your screens so that the mouse can move between them. We arranged ours to match the position of our displays, with the left monitor sitting a little lower than the right one. This setting is changed by simply dragging the boxes to the desired position.
- Primary monitor: Setting a monitor as the primary monitor means that applications will open by default. Next to it are your clock and other system tray icons.
In addition to these dual monitor-specific options, you also have access to your regular monitor settings. This means that monitors can be set to different resolutions and refresh rates and at the same time you have the option of selecting text scaling.
Set up with third party software
Dual monitors can also be set up using third-party software. The most common examples of this are software options that come from graphics card manufacturers, such as Nvidia's control panel. You can use such programs to achieve similar results, although they often give you additional settings that can be useful in marginal situations.
Set up with other operating systems
Android, iOS, macOS, and Linux are just a few examples of other operating systems that can also support dual-monitor setups. The settings available in each operating system are very similar to Windows, although in some cases you may need to take additional steps.
Devices like smartphones have the advantage that they can connect to wireless displays. If you do so, you are unlikely to get many options in terms of settings. That means you have to hope that your devices will work together.
Using a dual monitor setup
Two monitors are always better than one. You not only get more space to work and play, but also the feeling of using a system from the future. As cool as it sounds, there are real benefits to using two monitors, and this is something that more and more people can add to their computer budget over time.
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About the author
Samuel L. Garbett
(13 published articles)
Samuel is a UK-based technology writer with a passion for everything to do with home improvement. As a business founder in the fields of web development and 3D printing as well as many years of writing activity, Samuel offers a unique insight into the world of technology. Mostly focused on DIY tech projects, he loves nothing more than sharing fun and exciting ideas for you to try out at home. Outside of work, Samuel can usually be found cycling, playing PC video games, or desperately trying to communicate with his pet crab.
By Samuel L. Garbett
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