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In a loaded work environment, a single monitor is hardly enough anymore. By using dual monitors, you can compare screens and documents more efficiently, multi-task better, and complete tasks faster.
Provided your computer’s video card has two video ports, you can connect two computer screens to your computer column. The operating system of your computer will detect the dual monitors automatically and enable you to configure the monitor set up to fit your preferences.
Using dual monitors for a single display efficiently duplicates your on-screen space.
Luckily, there are no advanced skills needed to add a second monitor to your setup. Here is how to do it:
Step 1: Check the Video Input Support of Your Second Monitor
Monitors have at least one video input port (e.g., VGA or HDMI). You might not be able to use a second monitor together with your first one depending on the motherboard and the graphics card of your computer.
While some Windows computers do not support dual monitors, all Mac computers support dual monitors. So, you should first confirm the video output ports of your computer before choosing your second monitor.
Most computers possess at least two video output slots, which means that you can always connect a second monitor. However, if the two, or more, ports are not level with each other, they are likely not using a similar graphics card and, therefore, cannot be utilized for dual monitors.
For instance, if your video output ports are located on top of or next to each other, the graphics card of your computer supports dual monitors.
To determine whether your computer supports dual monitors, find out the name of your motherboard and search it in a search engine. Look for a Dual-Display, Multi-Monitor, or Multi-Display feature.
Step 2: Connect the Second Monitor
First, you need to determine the video connection type of your computer. On the back of your monitor or CPU box, there are many ports, one of which you are using for your first monitor. The most common video connection slots include:
HDMI – It is a thin, flat, rectangular, or hexagonal port. Most modern computers and monitors have them.
VGA – A trapezoid-shaped port with colored plastic that has many pinholes in it.
DVI – A large plastic port with several small square holes in it.
Thunderbolt – It is located at the back of most iMac computers and has a lightning bolt symbol under it.
DisplayPort – It looks similar to HDMI, but one side is flat rather than symmetrical.
Second, you will need to check your second monitor’s video connection ports. The monitor should have at least one of the above connection ports.
It is not a must that you use the same connection as your primary monitor on the second one. For instance, you can connect the first monitor using a HDMI cable and connect the second one using VGA.
Then, purchase any adapters or cables that you don’t have. If the adapter or cable you require to attach your second monitor is not readily available, you can buy it from online stores like Amazon.
Mostly if you are attaching a second monitor to Mac computers, you will require either a port-to-thunderbolt adapter or a thunderbolt cable for connecting the monitor.
After you have acquired all your required products, attach the second monitor to your computer. Connect one side of the video display cable to your computer and the other end in your second monitor.
Then connect your second monitor to a source of power by plugging in the power cable to a powered electrical outlet like a surge protector or a wall socket.
Then switch on your second monitor by pressing its power button to ensure that it is turned on and set up to receive a signal from the primary monitor of your computer. Then you can proceed to the next stage of setting the display preferences for your monitor using Mac or Windows.
Step 3: Setting Display Preferences
Setting Display Preferences on Mac
- On the top left of your screen, click the apple logo to open the Apple menu.
- Click the System Preferences option on the drop-down menu
- Click the Displays option. It is an icon shaped like a computer monitor on the top-left side of the System Preferences window
- Click the Arrangement button and unmark the Mirror Displays option if you want to view different content on each monitor. You can leave it checked if you both screens to display the same content.
Setting Display Preferences on Windows
- Open the Start menu on the left bottom corner of your screen with the Windows Logo
- Open settings by clicking on the gear-shaped icon in the start window
- Open on the System tab. It is an icon with a shape similar to a computer monitor in the settings screen
- Open the Display tab located on the top-left side of your screen
- Go down until you get the Multiple Displays tab located at the bottom of the page
- Open the drop-down menu on the Multi Displays tab
- Choose a display option that suits your preferences in the drop-down menu. You can choose from these options:
- Show only on 1 – displays content on the primary monitor only
- Show only on 2 – Displays content on the second monitor only
- Duplicate these displays – shows the contents of the primary monitor on your second monitor
- Extend these displays – utilizes the second monitor as an addition to the first monitor
A Second Monitor
Most modern monitors are both high definition and flat-screen. That allows a lot of space either in portrait or landscape. For instance, a simple Acer R240HY bidx 23.8-Inch IPS HDMI DVI VGA (1920 x 1080) Widescreen Monitor can give you 1080p resolution in clear color.
There are various types of cables that you can encounter when connecting a second monitor to your computer. The most common ones are HDMI, VGA, DisplayPort, and DVI. DisplayPort and HDMI are newer display connections than VGA and DVI.
The newer cables have more benefits than the older ones. For example, you can buy the AmazonBasics DisplayPort to HDMI Display Cable – 6 Feet if your computer’s motherboard supports the cable type.
Video Adapter Converter (Optional)
If your PC does not have an updated display port, you can always use a video adapter converter. The Dell DMS-59 to VGA Splitter for Dual Monitor Setups or a VGA Adapter Y Cable Cord plugs straight into your computer’s VGA port to give you access to two external monitors.
In all industries, a dual monitor setup is a typical configuration for workers at all levels. Whether you require a closer look at the sophisticated PC graphics or a better view of your work, two screens make seeing it all an effortless task.
So, if you want to be more productive, you can make small changes to upgrade your workspace and enjoy the benefits of a dual monitor setup today.
Raymond is a Product Support Specialist at Canon USA. He mainly deals with the projectors. He completed graduation in Computer Science from Broome Community College. He is a former Performance Improvement Specialist of Jewish Home Lifecare. He conducted a lot of webinar as a guest speaker.