Using two monitors: a second monitor at your workplace eases work and exonerates yourself. Several studies did research the advantages of having two monitors at work. In today’s article we are demonstrating how to work more efficient with two monitors and what to keep in mind in doing so.

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This image is exaggerated, but at least a dual-monitor system is worth it.

Who needs two monitors?

Web developer, graphic designer and programmer already work with two or even more monitors for quite some time.

Programmer often place one of their monitors upright to get as many information as possible displayed on the monitor.

The answer to the question, how many monitors are necessary at work, especially depends on the tasks done.

If you’re working on several programs or documents at the same time, two monitors are quite an enrichment.


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Working with two monitors does have some advantages

The advantages of several monitors

Working with two monitors does have some advantages. Let’s have a look on them in detail:

  1. The biggest advantage of having two monitors is surely the time saved. Therefore, searching for information in different windows that are already open and clicking between the documents is unnecessary.
  2. Several documents can be opened and looked at on both monitors. You can send an email on one monitor while preparing a PowerPoint presentation on the other one.
  3. Furthermore, the big screen surface eases working and therefore employees are more pleased. However, this increases the efficiency.

Regarding the question if one bigger monitor or two smaller ones bring more advantages, there is one answer: two smaller monitors are more flexible to use and often more cost-effective than a big one.

Users of a big monitor need to keep a bigger distance in order to reduce the strain on their eyes. Furthermore, the office desk must provide enough space for the additional monitor or there has to be an appropriate monitor arm available.

Most popular is combining two 22-inch monitors, as they don´t take too much place. Second, they are cost-effective with around €100 and still provide a large screen surface.

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Requirements when using two monitors

Usually, connecting a second monitor to your computer is unproblematic. The installed graphics card needs two ports to which the monitors can be connected.

Most graphics cards that are (permanently) installed in office computers do have two ports: on the one hand DVI (mostly white port/ white plug) and on the other hand VGA (blue port/ blue plug).

If both ports exist, you can easily connect a second monitor.

If you´re missing the appropriate cables, you can cheaply buy them later or rather establish the connection by an adapter.

But if there is only one port existing, you must buy a new graphics card with two exits. Affordable ones with 2 DVI exits are available for approximately €50 in a specialist retailer or online.

Connecting two monitors to the laptop

Often, on a laptop there is only one connectivity for an external monitor provided.

For anybody who wants to have two monitors on the laptop, can use a USB graphics card. By that, the laptop will be expanded easily by another connectivity for a monitor.

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By the way, USB graphics cards are not only useful for laptops. Because if you are uncomfortable with unscrewing your computer or installing new hardware, the relatively cheap investment in an external graphics card will be worth it.

After all, modern computers and graphics cards often got a HDMI or DisplayPort instead of a DVI or VGA port.


Using a second monitor and installing it with Windows

The popular Windows operating systems identify the newly plugged monitor on their own and extend the screen onto the second monitor.

Sometimes, however, it happens that the screen is duplicated. If you want your desktop displayed onto both monitors, so that you can put documents from one to another screen, you must pick the setup “extend desktop to this display”.


Windows 10 & Windows 8

  1. Right click on desktop
  2. Click display settings
  3. Select display 2
  4. Under “Show more”, pick “extend desktop to this display”, and click “adapt”

Windows 7

  1. Right click on desktop
  2. Click screen resolution
  3. Under “Show more”, pick “extend desktop to this display”, and click “apply”
  4. Click OK

Windows XP

  1. Right click on desktop
  2. Click features and settings
  3. Under “Show more”, pick “extend desktop to this display”, and click “apply”
  4. If everything worked, click “maintain modifications”

If you want to show the same content on both monitors, you always have to pick “duplicate desktop”. As you can see, it´s not that complicated to use a second monitor for your laptop.


Choosing the monitor

You made the decision to get a second monitor and go to the electronics store. When buying one, you have to consider several circumstances so that work will really be an ease afterwards.

First of all, both monitors should have the same size because working with two different sized monitors could cause problems. If you are comfortable with your current monitor, it is best to buy the same again.

Furthermore, make sure that the contrast ratio is better than 500:1. The lower the reaction time, the better.

Yet, any time beyond twelve milliseconds is not recommended. In addition, the resolutions of both monitors should be compatible with one another. Lastly, you have to pay attention to the monitor’s quality. Is it well manufactured, is the monitor stable and are all buttons functional?

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The post "Using two monitors: working more productive and efficient" written by:

Stephan Forstmann

Experte für Home Office und gesunde Büroarbeit

Stephan is from Dresden, Germany. He is a founding member of Deskonia since 2009.

Stephan is a home office worker since 2013 and became a home office expert. He shares his experience and publishes various tutorials for a better life at the office und creates tutorials on topics like ergonomics and communication.

In private, he is also very passionate about photography. He loves to chat about photography-gear and composition an. Stephan also published a lot of photography tutorials.

If you want to get in touch with Stephan, you can easily reach him via e-mail: forstmann@bueromoebel-experte.de.

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