8 tips for working with multiple screens

With the falling prices of monitors, more and more people are switching to a computer system with two or more monitors. The advantage is of course more space for documents, websites and programs and that works a lot more effectively. This certainly also applies to the many home workers at the moment. Read how you can easily create extra space.

Working with 2 screens?

You have 2 monitors connected. How do you set that up in Windows?

1. Right click on the desktop and choose Screen resolution or Display Settings.

2. Screen 1 is your main screen; screen 2 is the extra screen.

3. Scroll to Multiple Displays.

4. Choose Duplicate these displays if you want to see the same on both screens as on screen 1.

5. Choose Extend these displays to turn the 2 screens into 1 large screen.

Done? Then read these following 8 tips!

Tip 01: Extra options

With an extra monitor or by connecting a computer to a television, you get much more space to use the capabilities of Windows, Mac OS, or even iOS and Android. For example, you can have a different document open on each screen, or a website on one screen and a video on the other. Working with photos and videos is also much clearer.

Multiple screens give you much more leeway.

For example, by enabling a second screen in the options menu of Adobe Lightroom, monitor 1 can show the edit menu, while monitor 2 shows the photo in full size. An extra screen also gives extra options when playing games. Think of a game like Flight Simulator, where extra monitors serve as the windows of the cockpit.

Tip 01 Editing photos just got a lot easier!

Tip 02: Monitor type

If you want to purchase an extra monitor, you have to find out for yourself what the purpose of the extra image space is. For example, some screens can be rotated in portrait mode, so that you can read a document in its entirety, for example, without having to scroll.

The height is also sometimes adjustable, but not with every monitor. A Full-HD screen with an HDMI connection is already available for between 100 and 200 euros, depending on the brand, quality and capabilities of the display. Two identical screens next to each other, with the thinnest possible edge, provide an optimal viewing experience. That way you can put them side by side. If you have two monitors of different resolutions and image quality, make sure to leave some space between the screens, so that the differences appear smaller.

A large screen (or even a television as a screen) is extremely useful if you work a lot with video editing software or spreadsheets. These screens often come with special software, which can divide the image into, for example, four small screens for more convenient multitasking.

Tip 02 Different types of monitors can be annoying to the eyes.

Read our handy working from home tips.

Tip 03: Connections

Connecting an extra monitor is very easy, provided your computer has the correct video ports. In most cases, a desktop computer has a VGA and/or DVI port. One port is probably already occupied by your main monitor, while the second port is free for an extra screen. You may need an adapter for this, which, for example, converts a DVI signal to a VGA signal. Such an adapter is often supplied with the screen, but can also be purchased separately.

A modern HD monitor can be connected to a free HDMI port. Yet HDMI is still not standard on every monitor. Therefore, always check the specifications of the screen that you want to purchase. The purchase of a new video card can also offer a solution: some cards have inputs for up to ten monitors. A laptop already has a built-in monitor, but often has a port to connect an extra screen.

There are also splitters that allow you to connect two screens to one port, but the image is then exactly the same on both screens.

Tip 03 Video ports, from left to right: VGA, HDMI, DVI.

Tip 04: Main screen Windows

Windows 7, 8, and Windows 10 automatically detect and turn on a second display. The second desktop initially looks like an empty space, with an extended taskbar. Windows may display its main screen on the wrong monitor (for you). You can easily change this. For example, by switching the cables between the monitors.

If this is not possible, you can arrange this by software: right click on the desktop and choose Screen resolution. Both screens are shown in the options menu with the numbers 1 and 2. The monitors can be dragged with the mouse, to an arrangement that exactly matches how it looks on your desk. by on Identify clicking, a large number appears, with number 1 being the main display.

You change the main screen by activating another screen and placing a check in front of the option Set this display as the main display.

Tip 04 Screens can be positioned fairly precisely in Windows.

Tip 05: Show taskbar

By default, the Windows taskbar is only displayed on the main display, the screen to which number 1 is assigned in the window Screen resolution. In Windows 7, you can only adjust this with third-party tools (such as UltraMon and the free Z-Bar to name a few).

Fortunately (and finally!) you can adjust this from Windows 8 onwards. Right click on the taskbar and choose Characteristics. You will find in the tab Taskbar the options menu Multiple displays. Place a checkmark in front of the option Show taskbar on all monitors. The toolbar buttons can be displayed as desired (such as single buttons, stacked, with or without text). Choose your desired option at Show toolbar buttons by. Save the changes with Apply / OK.

Tip 05 From Windows 8, the taskbar can be displayed on multiple screens.

Tip 06: Which screen to show?

In the menu Screen resolution indicate what should be done with the main screen. You probably want to extend the screen, which gives you multiple desktops, but you can also copy (duplicate) it or turn off one of the screens. You can also call these functions with the key combination Windows key + P. In Windows 8, a clear sidebar opens with this combination.

When you connect a computer, such as a laptop, to a television, Windows key + P comes in handy. For example, if you want to watch a movie, it is annoying that your laptop shows a bright Windows start screen. In such cases, choose the option Show the desktop only on 2 (Windows 7) or the option Second screen only (on Windows 8).

Tip 06 With Windows+P you can quickly switch between screens.

Tip 07: Connect to TV

Connecting a desktop or laptop to a television is very easy, but you must first know what type of cables you need. A laptop will likely have an S-Video, composite, VGA, DVI, or HDMI port. How the cable should look on the other side depends on the television. Composite and S-video are almost always standard on 'old' televisions, while HDMI can be found on every HD television.

If the ports of the computer and television are different, you will need an adapter cable. For the sound you need a standard audio cable, which you connect to the headphone port, although with an HDMI cable you no longer need a separate audio cable. When the cables are connected, select the correct video channel on the television. On the computer, you can use the key combination Windows + P or via the menu Screen resolution choose the correct display.

On a high-definition television, the high resolution will make the computer icons very small. Therefore, if desired, change the resolution in Windows.

Tip 07 You can connect every computer and television with an adapter.

Tip 08: Remote Desktop

The free Splashtop program lets you fully use your Windows and Mac computer on a tablet or smartphone. Choose the Personal edition. Click at the very bottom of the page Download Streamer. This is the program that grants a smartphone or tablet access to the computer (Windows, Mac and Linux).

Download the app for iOS, Android via your mobile device. The app then scans the local network for available computers (the computer on which Splashtop is installed must be on) and then opens the computer screen in a resolution adapted to the smartphone or tablet. Connect a mouse and/or keyboard to turn the mobile device into a mini laptop!

Tip 08 Splashtop works as a PC adapter for smartphone and tablet

Tablet as second screen

Your tablet can also be used as a second screen. The term "second screen" is often used on television to indicate that you can participate while watching a TV program via a special website or via social media. But with Netflix, for example, a tablet really does have a second screen. You can use this to operate the Netflix application on a game console or smart TV, while watching another Netflix movie or restarting the current video on the tablet. This way you can continue watching in the bedroom, without having to start the film again.

Depending on the type of tablet, you can also connect it to a monitor or television. This can be done with a special video cable from Apple or wirelessly with Apple TV for the iPad, or with a microHDMI cable for many Android tablets. Some new televisions and monitors have MHL, a technology with which a smartphone or tablet can easily be connected to the screen, while the device is charged at the same time. With all these methods, watching photos and videos in HD is a lot more pleasant.

Use your tablet as a second screen!

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