Connect 101: How to Create a Dual Monitor Setup
Technology| By Stephen Fenech | October 21, 2020
A dual monitor setup provides more screen real estate for productivity and entertainment. Follow this guide to choosing the right products and making them work.
Sometimes, one computer monitor just isn’t enough – and the good news is it’s simple to add a second monitor to your existing desktop computer or laptop. Using a dual monitor setup increases the size of your desktop, giving you more room to view your work and improve your entertainment options.
Choosing Your Monitors
It’s best to choose two monitors that are the same size – this allows you to line up the monitors side-by-side as though it was one big screen and makes it easier to move your mouse and documents across both. Choosing the same brand for both monitors will also make it easier to connect and ensure a consistent user experience. Separate monitors are available, with the optimum sizes ranging from 25.5-inch to 34-inch.
There are also different options in resolution, including full high definition and 4K UHD (ultra high definition) for even greater detail. And you can choose between a curved or flat monitor: a curved screen, such as the Samsung 23.5” Curved Monitor LC24F390, allows for a more immersive effect for gaming or viewing content; a flat display, like the LG 32” FHD Monitor Black 32MP58HQ-P, is great for productivity.
Laptops users can either add a second monitor, using the display of your laptop as one, or use the laptop to power two additional monitors.
Hot Tip: Using a wireless keyboard or mouse for your dual monitor setup will stop cables cluttering your workspace.
How to Position Your Monitors
Before deciding on a dual monitor setup, you need to make sure you have room on your desk to sit them side-by-side. All monitors come with a desktop stand but another option that saves space and ensures the screens are at the right height is the use of a monitor arm. Monitors that are VESA mount compatible (they have four screw threads on the back) can be attached to monitor arms such as the Professional Dual Monitor Arm with Dual USB or a stand like the Fellowes Lotus Dual Monitor Arm.
Monitors also come with their own power cables, so you need to make sure there are enough power points available, or purchase a powerboard such as the Belkin 4 Outlet Powerboard with 2 USB Ports 2.4A.
What To Try
How to Connect Your Dual Monitor Setup
The main monitor connections for the latest Windows and Mac computers include HDMI, DisplayPort and USB-C (also known as Thunderbolt). To connect your monitors, match the corresponding cable from the back of the laptop or computer to the port on the back of the monitor. For example, one end of the HDMI cable would be connected to the monitor and the other to the HDMI port on the computer. These cables often come with the monitors.
If your computer or laptop doesn’t have enough free ports, or doesn’t have a port to match the monitor’s requirements, you can also purchase an adaptor like the Comsol USB-C to 2 x HDMI Adaptor. The other option is to buy a hybrid cable that allows you to connect one end to the HDMI port on the computer and the other end to the DisplayPort on the monitor, such as the Comsol 2M DisplayPort Male-to-HDMI Cable 4K.
It’s also possible to add a second monitor to an Apple iMac, which already has a built-in display (iMacs are an all-in-one computer with the screen, the computer and ports in one product). Simply use one of the Thunderbolt ports to connect a cable to a second monitor.
What To Try
Getting the Settings Right
Once the monitors are connected, you will need to adjust your display settings to ensure they’re in the correct arrangement. This will let you move the mouse across both screens and drag windows and documents from one monitor to the other.
On a Windows 10 computer, open Settings > System > Display. There will be a Select and a Rearrange Displays option. Here, you will see the two monitors in a diagram. Click and drag one of the monitors to the left and the other to the right to match how they are arranged on your desk. Make sure they are aligned properly and hit “Apply”.
On a Mac, click on the Apple icon in the top left corner of the screen and select System Preferences > Displays. A new window will open on both of the screens and you need to click on the Arrangement tab. In this window you will see the displays. Click and drag the displays to move them to your desired arrangement.
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