Setting up dual monitors

If you frequently have multiple windows open or need to work on two programs side-by-side, you may find it beneficial to have more than one screen to work with. A dual-monitor setup is a great way to expand your available screen space for multitasking.

What you’ll need

640px-SVGA_port
VGA ports can be used to connect a second monitor to a laptop or desktop PC. (Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/public domain)

In order to set up an additional monitor, you’ll need an empty video output port on your computer’s motherboard or video card. On older computers, this is likely to be a VGA port. Newer computers may have HDMI, DisplayPort, or DVI outputs in addition to (or instead of) a VGA port. If you have a Mac, it will probably require an adapter in order to connect to an external display.

You’ll also need a monitor that has a matching input port. Most monitors accept multiple types of display inputs. If you’re purchasing a new monitor, make sure it has the port you need.

Finally, you’ll need a cable to connect your computer to the additional display. If you need to purchase a new cable, don’t overspend—inexpensive cables can often be found at online retailers.

Setting up a second monitor

Dual_monitors

In most cases, simply plugging in the new monitor is all you need to do to begin using it. On Windows 7, if you need to change your display settings, right-click on the desktop and select Screen resolution. From here, you can select how your additional monitor will behave. You can choose to extend the displays, which will stretch your desktop across both screens. This is the best choice if you want to work on windows side-by-side. Additionally, you can choose to duplicate your displays or only show the desktop on a specific monitor.

To begin using your new monitor, simply drag a window over to the new screen. Windows can be maximized to take up the entire display.

Enjoy all the extra screen real estate your new dual-monitor setup provides!

-Jesse

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