How To Set Up Dual Monitors For Your Computer

Feature | How To Set Up Dual Monitors For Your Computer

Looking to set up dual monitors to increase your multitasking efficiency? Here’s a simple guide to walk you through the process!

RELATED: Are Two Monitors Better Than One?

Easy Dual Monitor Setup Walkthrough (And 5 Cool Tips to Make the Most Out of It! )


First, Compatibility Check!

laptop side view | How To Set Up Dual Monitors For Your Computer

  • Most laptops can support having a dual monitor. If your laptop comes with at least one video output like an HDMI or VGA port, you can always connect an external monitor. Note that not all Windows laptops support this configuration but all Apple MacBooks do.
  • Not all desktop computers can run dual monitors. This setup only works with select motherboards and graphics cards. Apple users, though, are very much in luck— iMacs support a dual monitor setup.
  • Check your PC’s video output ports. While most computers nowadays usually come with at least two video output ports, not all ports are part of the same graphics card hence they can’t run dual monitors. Say, your PC has two HDMI ports on top of or next to each other, your graphics card most likely supports the setup. The same is true with other outputs, too — HDMI next to VGA and etc.
  • Check if your motherboard can support such a setup. This isn’t a problem nowadays as modern computers can support dual monitors. However, if you have an older machine or want to double check, you can simply do a Google search of your motherboard’s features.

1. Check Your Computer’s Connection Type

laptop port hdmi | How To Set Up Dual Monitors For Your Computer

Have a quick peek of the back of your computer to determine what kind of cables you need. The most common ports are:

  • High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) — Thin, flat, hexagonal, and are found on most modern TVs and computers today
  • Digital Visual Interface (DVI) — A wide piece of plastic with a number of small squares holes or pins in it
  • Video Graphics Array (VGA) — Trapezoid-shaped, colored piece of plastic with several pinholes in it
  • DisplayPort — Looks similar to HDMI ports but one of its sides has a flat edge and not symmetrical
  • Thunderbolt — The port iMac monitors have

2. Check the Second Monitor’s Connection Type

Check the port of your second screen. It’s going to have at least one of the connection types listed above. Note that your first and second screens don’t have to have the same connection types.

3. Cable Shopping!

If you don’t have the appropriate cables or adapters required for the connection, you can shop online or the nearest tech store.

4. Now We Connect…

Simply plug one end of the video cable into the video port of your laptop or PC and the other end into the second monitor’s port.

5. Plug and Turn on the Monitor

Plug the second monitor’s power cable into an outlet and turn it on.

6. Display Preferences Set Up

For Windows:

  • Click on the Windows logo on the bottom-left corner of your screen.
  • Open “Settings.” Press the gear-shaped icon on top of the power button.

Windows setting | How To Set Up Dual Monitors For Your Computer

  • Once the Settings window has loaded, pick “System” (monitor-shaped icon).
  • On the upper-left portion of the window, click “Display.”

Multiple Display dual monitor-vv | How To Set Up Dual Monitors For Your Computer

  • Scroll down to the “Multiple displays” portion at the bottom of the window.
  • Click on the “Multiple displays” drop-down box below.
  • Pick “Extend these displays.” This makes the second monitor the extension of the first monitor.
  • Click on the “Apply” button below.
  • A window will open asking you to keep or revert the changes. Select “Keep Changes.” This will apply the display configurations you just selected. Now your whole desktop space is split between your monitors.

For Mac:

  • Click on the Apple logo at the top-left corner of the screen to open the Apple menu.
  • Pick “System Preferences.”
  • Click on the “Displays” button. This is the monitor-shaped icon, upper-left side of the window.
  • Pick “Arrangement.”
  • Uncheck “Mirror Displays.” This will extend your desktop to the second monitor.
  • Change your default display. To assign the main display, click and drag the white bar at the top of the current primary display.

RELATED: 9 Best Gaming Monitors You Can Buy On Amazon For Less Than $500

Tips to Make the Most of Your Dual Screen Setup

1. Master The Keyboard Shortcuts For Better Screen Management

With multiple monitors comes a wider screen space to navigate! Save yourself some precious time by mastering a few handy shortcuts:

  • Win+Left/Right Keys: Maximizes a window on the side of the first screen upon pressing, then pushes the window to the second screen’s edge on the next consecutive presses.
  • Shift+Win+Left/Right Keys: Active window moves to the other monitor.
  • Win+Up Key: Current window maximized.
  • Win+Down Key: Current window minimized.
  • Win+P Key: Changes your display mode.

2. Seamless Browsing

If you constantly find your browser drowning with so many opened tabs, you’ll love this hack. The next time you open your browser, drag the edge and widen the window as far as you can without fully maximizing it. You’ll never have to individually check your tabs again.

3. Extend Your Gaming Screen

child playing on computer | How To Set Up Dual Monitors For Your Computer

Gaming in a dual monitor set up will change your life! To enable this, go to:

  1. Graphic card settings
  2. 3D Settings
  3. Configure Surround
  4. PhysX
  5. Select Span displays with Surround

Note: This feature is dependent on your graphics card.

RELATED: Best Gaming Accessories For PC

4. Personalize Your Dual Screen With Rainmeter

Rainmeter, a desktop customization tool for Windows, can bring your desktop aesthetic to the next level. Choose from numerous skin options that speaks your style and productivity strategy.

5. Panoramic Wallpapers

two computer set up | How To Set Up Dual Monitors For Your Computer

Picture a dope 4K wallpaper spread gorgeously over your two screens. Well if you’re on Windows 10, this is 100% possible in a matter of a few clicks. Simply download images with 3840×1080 resolutions and set ’em as wallpaper. Your monitors have to be on the same level though to achieve this effect.

6. Use Your iPad or iPhone as a Monitor with Duet

Good news for the busy professionals on-the-go! There’s an app that lets you use your iPad or iPhone as a second monitor. With Duet, you can use your device as an extra display for your Mac using your Lightning cable. How awesome is that, right?

Learn why you should get dual monitors in this video from ThioJoeTech:

Let the productivity geek in you enjoy the pleasures of having multiple monitors. Go dual screen now and work faster, smarter, and more efficient like never before.

Do you have any other dual screen tricks you might want to share? Let us know in the comments section below!

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