How to set up 2 monitors


Two monitors can make your life easier, not to mention more interesting. They let you open numerous windows side by side, which makes it very easy for you to compare and combine information. Don’t be afraid of clutter: if done right, two monitors provide a view that gives instant access to each element of the workspace comfortably and efficiently – without losing sight of the big picture.

To set up two monitors, first, find a good place on your desk where you’ll put them (you might want to try switching them around and adjusting their positions). Second, connect both monitors into separate video cards: if they’re connected into the same one, only one monitor will show an image! Now all you need is hardware and software support.

Benefits of a 2 monitor setup

You can use monitors to show different things on each of them; to give an example, one monitor could display your email client while the other shows a document that you’re typing into it – or maybe you could have one monitor dedicated entirely to your browser and another for Skype/IM conversations! The possibilities are endless.

Two monitors are very helpful for multitasking and can be equally efficient when it comes to reducing eye movement and balancing efficiency with comfort. Some users find that having two screens allows them to see more of what they’re working on at once without needing to switch focus between windows quite so often.

Running multiple monitors saves space, but only if the additional screen real estate isn’t necessary for your work. If you do need the extra space, then it’s worth looking into buying a larger monitor instead of using two screens.

Here’s an important fact to remember though – only one monitor will show you the desktop! So if you want both monitors to show it, then you need to set up your video card for this in the BIOS.

The next thing that needs configuring is the second monitor – the system will check which of your monitors is connected to which port and then display the one that’s not in use on a single monitor.

The first step is to turn on both monitors and plug them in (if not already). The second step is to find the video ports for each monitor; this varies between systems but will most likely be HDMI, DVI,or mini-DisplayPort connections. You can buy an adapter if you don’t have the correct port available on your PC/Mac; these adapters are very cheap and shouldn’t cost more than $10-$15. After that, all that’s left to do is choose which screen should be designated as the primary display – usually the largest one – and calibrate the monitors so that they display correctly.

The biggest problem with running two monitors from one system is that they aren’t the same resolution by default, so you need to choose “Scale for LCDs” in the drop-down box for “Resolution” if you want it to be seamless.

Set the Primary and Secondary Monitor

Once you’re all set up, your second monitor should turn on and work as smoothly as your main one; if it’s not working, restarting your computer should fix any problems you might have.

The primary monitor is likely on the left because most people are right-handed, while the secondary monitor is likely on the right because it’s easier to reach across your body for a mouse click or arrow key press if the other screen is on your dominant side.

You can also choose to extend or mirror your display if you prefer.

Set the Monitor Resolution

The way a monitor displays a set resolution depends on the monitor itself, not the PC it is connected to. This means that no matter what resolution you have your primary monitor setup to, if you have two monitors both connected to the same computer then they will still be able to display different resolutions. To set your second monitor for a higher resolution – such as running two monitors at 1920×1080 (wide-screen) instead of one at 1280×768 (4:3 aspect ratio) – first, go into the Display Properties menu and choose how large or small you want each screen to be.

Choose Monitor Resolution Size and Position

If you want them side-by-side because this is how they will be used 99% of the time, then just click on the top and drag it to the right and bottom of your screen until they’re both in place.

You can also place them left-to-right – or up and down if you have portrait monitors instead of landscape – but side-by-side is easiest for most people. Then move on to the next step: resolution size. Make sure they match each other so that all you have to do is change one number instead of two.

Then hit Apply at the bottom once you get both screens positioned where they should be. This will apply these resolutions immediately so that you don’t even need to restart your computer after making these changes unless it’s necessary (so if things seem off, try restarting anyway). Once it’s applied, take note of the “Multiple displays connected to this computer” section at the bottom.

You should only need to access these settings if you want to change something about how your monitors are set up – like if you want to show the same thing on both screens instead of different things or vice versa. Otherwise, it can stay as is after you’ve successfully configured two monitors.

Now that everything is all set up, go ahead and start using your extra monitor! You’ll probably find it even easier since you’re able to see more than just what’s on your primary screen. That means no more alt-tabbing between windows and having to check where they were minimized in case that helps you find them faster. Of course, this setup isn’t just limited to games and work software, it’s great for entertainment too.

You can watch something on one screen while doing something else on the other. Or perhaps even browse the internet with a different set of tabs than you have open in your browser(s) of choice? It’s all up to you! Set everything up the way that makes the most sense for how you work and play. These days, having multiple monitors is an easy and inexpensive way to make a big difference in how productive or entertained you are when working or gaming from home. Just remember to turn off your primary monitor before going into a menu – I can promise that there’ll be at least one time you forget about this step if adding a second monitor to your workspace!

Set the Monitor Display Style

Would you like the second monitor to be a copy of the first monitor or just an extension? Here are steps on how to do it.

  1. Right click on your desktop and select “Display Settings”
  2. Select “Detect Displays.” Your display menu should then change to look like this:
  3. Select your preferred monitor from the menu. In most cases, you’ll want to choose either “Duplicate these displays” or “Extend these displays.” Duplicates will display the same image across both monitors while extending allows for a different image on each monitor. However, there are some instances where another option might be better – read below to find out which one would work best for you.
  4. Click Apply. You should now see your main monitor as your primary display and your second monitor as the extended display. Your Windows desktop will now have two monitors, although they’ll both be displaying the same thing.

When you’re done with your extended display, click Apply again to go back to a single monitor setup. You can also go back by selecting Duplicate or Extend again from the menu shown above after making your selection of whether to duplicate or extend displays. As mentioned earlier, duplicating works best if you want two of everything – browser windows, applications…you get the idea. However, extending might work better for things like multiple chat clients, which you’d need open at all times while working on something else entirely in another application – it all depends on what you’re doing.

Set the Monitor Position

  1.  Right-click on your desktop and select “Display”. At the top of the resulting dialogue box, your available monitors appear as blue, numbered boxes. Each box represents a monitor.
  2. If you want the mouse to scroll left to right across your monitors, make sure monitor “1” is on the left and monitor “2” is on the right.
  3. To change the monitors’ position, click, drag, and place the blue, numbered boxes to your preferred position. If you are unsure which monitor is “1” or “2,” click the “Identify” link. The assigned monitor number will then appear on each monitor’s screen.
  4. When finished, click [Apply].

If you’re having issues setting up 2 monitors or even want 3 or 4 monitors set up, our technicians can help you with it, and is a part of our computer setup package!

I am a computer engineer holding a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, complemented by a Master's in Business Administration from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. I currently work as a Senior IT Consultant in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of...