Dual Monitor Setup for Work | HP® Tech Takes (2023)

Whether you edit Hollywood films or trade stocks on Wall Street, a single computer screen in your office can often seem a bit limiting. Your desk should be a helm for productivity, and outdated tech will only slow down your efficiency when you have a million and one tasks to keep track of. If you haven’t yet taken advantage of a dual monitor setup at work, it’s time to step into a bright new world.

Dual Monitor Setup for Work | HP® Tech Takes (1)

Beloved among business professionals and amateur artists alike, the dual monitor setup can be seen anywhere from the C-suite to the college dorm room. Multiple monitors guarantee more screen real estate as you multi-task with ease and keep an eye on critical information - all without constantly switching between various open tabs.

While the dual monitor setup has garnered a huge following of avid fans, there are also many vocal critics of this configuration that claim the good ole’ days of a single monitor actually increase your productivity. If you’re considering outfitting your office with a few more screens, it’s important to understand how, when, and why a dual monitor setup makes sense for you.

How to set up a dual monitor with Windows 10

Before you delve into the merits of multiple computer screens, it’s critical to know exactly how to set up dual monitors in your office. Start with the obvious: invest in a desk that can handle two screens.

The goal of dual monitors is to amp up your productivity, and crowding a cramped desk with more equipment would certainly detract from an improved workflow.

Once your office is complete with the correct furniture, begin building your hub with a primary computer. Whether this mothership is a desktop PC or a portable laptop depends on if you take your work outside of the office. For consistency’s sake it’s best to have two monitors of the same size but if your desk isn’t that large or your primary PC is a small laptop, displays of varying size shouldn't be a problem.

The next step is to connect the two monitors together. Most desktops come with more than one port to hook up another screen to, such as an HDMI, DVI, or DisplayPort. Laptops typically come with at least one external display port, and you can also find splitter computer monitor cables or laptop docking stations that allow you to connect more than one monitor to a port.

So how do you set up dual monitors with Windows 10? It’s actually quite simple. If Windows doesn’t automatically extend your desktop - meaning you can’t move tabs from one monitor to the next or it only mirrors your display - you can get your workstation up and running in a few clicks.

(Video) Dual Monitor Productivity Setup Guide 2022

Step 1

  • Right click on your home screen
  • Open display settings
  • Once you’re on the display tab, use the rectangular graphics of the two monitors to arrange them to correspond to how they’re set up on your desk

Step 2

  • Choose the primary PC you’ll be working from and arrange them in the same spatial order as they appear in front of you so your mouse movements intuitively carry over from one screen to the next
  • Select the drop down menu under the "Multiple Displays" section
  • Select "Extend These Displays"

You’ll now be able to have different programs and windows open on your separate screens. If you later want to only see content on your primary or secondary monitor, this drop-down menu allows you to select that viewing option as well.

Voilá! Your dual monitor set up is open for business. But what about saving desk space and opting for a larger monitor instead of two screens? You’ll want to keep reading.

What’s the difference between dual monitors and a split screen single monitor?

If you don’t want to connect two monitors but need more screen-power at work, an ultrawide monitor is another option. These elongated monitors deliver widescreen (16:9) and ultra widescreen (21:9) aspect ratios so you can have more screen real estate in one display.

However, the ultrawide monitor isn’t without its flaws. Because it is still only a single monitor, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to open multiple programs in their full-screen mode, one of the major draws of a dual monitor setup. Plus, because of the wide viewing angle, information at the edges of the screen can be a strain for the eyes to see and colors can become distorted.

While strain and distortion can be fixed by opting for an ultrawide curved monitor, the limited functionality still remains the same. Fortunately, Windows 10 has an answer for those wondering how to split the screen on a single monitor. Snap Assist is a tool that allows you to open four different windows on the same display, effectively mimicking the look of multiple monitors.

But remember: easier viewing doesn’t alleviate the problems an avid multi-tasker may run into with a single ultrawide display. While there are ways to “cheat” the single monitor system, an ultrawide display does not perform in the same way as a dual monitor setup. Be sure to consider your own specific needs before making a decision for your office.

(Video) Easy How To Setup Dual Monitors - How To Setup Two Monitors on One Computer Windows 10 PC

The pros and cons of using a dual monitor

Like almost everything in life, making the switch to dual monitors isn’t a black and white issue. While many studies tout the benefits of using more than one screen at work, there are plenty of naysayers who disagree with the research. Let’s take a look at some of the major advantages and drawbacks of a dual monitor setup.

Increased productivity or increased distractions?

In 2017, a study from Jon Peddie Research found that dual monitors can increase productivity by 42% [1]. Simply put, the more you can see, the more you can do. A similar study from the University of Utah found that adding another monitor to your workstation increased efficiency by 29%, allowing participants to get their work done more quickly and with fewer errors [2].

Dual Monitor Setup for Work | HP® Tech Takes (2)

More comparable research supports these findings, and the last decade has seen a huge boom in businesses all the way from corporate conglomerates to scrappy startups taking advantage of the dual monitor productivity hack.

Because two screens allow you to multi-task more efficiently than a single screen, opponents of dual monitors claim that it actually increases distractions while offering a false sense of improved time management. Some studies suggest that heavy media multi-taskers have worse memory retention than non-multi-taskers, in addition to a reduced ability to control what they focus on at any given time [3].

This research offers valuable insight into how digital landscapes are shaping the human brain [4]. However, it doesn’t directly correlate multi-tasking, especially with dual monitors, with reduced memory or attention span. While the evidence can be conflicting, the positive impact of setting up two monitors depends on what your job requires and how you manage your time.

Ideal for an office environment but difficult for working remotely

Certain industries lend themselves to a dual monitor setup better than others. PC power users, such as video editors, graphic designers, CPAs, attorneys, architects, researchers, writers, or any other executive with a busy plate every morning, can certainly benefit from some dual-screen action.

Segmenting work tasks is a breeze once you get your office rigged with two displays. Bill Gates is famous for popularizing the multi-screen method, and he even uses three monitors to maximize his productivity. With a dual monitor setup, you can typically use one screen to perform the task at hand, such as writing an article or color correcting a photo, and keep the other screen open on your email stream or other online research that’s relevant to the current task.

This workflow is ideal for a stationary office environment. When you spend 8 or more hours a day in the same building, being able to access all the information you need for any given project in one glance can be extremely liberating. Time wasted on clicking between windows or resizing tabs will be put to use staying on top of your schedule.

But as the digital economy continues to shape the workforce of the world, many people are working remotely on a daily basis. This is where relying on two screens can hit a snag. If coffee shops and hotel lobbies are your typical office space, it’s incredibly difficult to set up dual monitors. Relying on a single screen will keep your workflow consistent no matter where you choose to set up shop, which ultimately leads to greater productivity.

(Video) Dual monitors and docking station training video

Side-by-side viewing vs. virtual desktops

Another key benefit to rigging up two screens at the office is the ability to perform side-by-side comparisons. This is particularly useful for professionals in the media and arts industries who need to see changes to their projects in real time. If spreadsheets are your constant companion, amalgamating large amounts of data will be a breeze when you can copy/paste information from one screen to the other.

For diehard single monitor users, virtual desktops are a way to mirror the easy workflow of multiple displays. Many Windows computers allow you to create an unlimited number of desktop screens that can feature different programs, files, and information. Just as if you were mousing between two monitors, these virtual screens allow you to segment your work without adding a bulky screen to your workspace.

Useful dual monitor accessories

Just because you’ve invested in two monitors for the office doesn’t mean your desk space is at maximum efficiency. Take your work rig to the next level by investing in some accessories that will boost productivity and keep your space as professional as possible.

Dual monitor stands

The ergonomics of your office environment can have a direct impact on your physical and mental health at work. Both monitors should be positioned at eye level to avoid placing your neck in an uncomfortable position. A dual monitor stand like the Ergotech dual LCD monitor desk stand will hold both screens so you can position them to your liking without damaging your desk.

Dual Monitor Setup for Work | HP® Tech Takes (3)

When shopping around, it’s important to think about the size of the two monitors you’re using. If you have a laptop and a standard desktop monitor, you’ll need to get a stand that can accommodate the varying sizes of different devices. A stand can also include dual monitor arms that allow you to move each screen around as you please, making the complexity of your stand dependent on the amount of flexibility you’ll want during the course of your day.

Dual monitor docking station

If your Windows PC doesn’t come equipped with a port that connects to another monitor, a docking station is the solution to your workplace woes.

Gadgets like the IOGEAR HUB-C - USB-C to 4-port USB-A Hub helps you make the most out of your computer. Featuring two monitor ports and a USB-A port for an extra keyboard, mouse, or hard drive, you’re bound to see your productivity skyrocket.

The bottom line: dual is the way to do it

Across industries, the dual monitor setup is a popular configuration for employees at all levels. Whether you need a better view of extensive spreadsheets or a closer look at complex PC graphics, two screens make the flow between screens an effortless addition to your day.

While it’s important not to get too wrapped up in the promise of power multi-tasking, connecting another screen to your PC can benefit the desk-bound user in an infinite number of ways.

(Video) ULTIMATE Desk Setup with Dual Monitors (Perfect for Working from Home!)

[2]Tech-news.com; Productivity and Multi-Screen Computer Displays

Related article: 5 Best HP Monitors for Business

About the Author

Megan Edwards is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Megan is a digital content creator based in Southern California and specializes in creating multimedia content for various industries, including technology.

(Video) How do dual monitors work?


Is a dual monitor setup worth it for work? ›

You might think that having two screens in front of you would provide more distractions than only having one. However, the opposite is true. With a dual monitor setup, you no longer have to switch between tabs while you are working and can view everything at once without interrupting your workflow.

Why do people use 2 monitors at work? ›

The key benefit is obvious. Two screens effectively extend your visual real estate and help to make workflow smoother. Dual monitors enhance productivity, efficiency and user satisfaction. Dual screens actually offer more than you might imagine.

Does having 2 monitors slow your computer down? ›

Your computer's processing system and graphic cards will obviously have to work harder to support the activity of two screens, regardless of what you are using them for. The more demanding the activities are, however, then the more your computer will slow down.

Is 27 inch too big for dual monitors? ›

Monitors around 27 inches give you a little more room and are a great option if you're using your PC for both work and play – having two windows side by side is a little more manageable on a 27-inch.

How many monitors should I have for work? ›

Two or three monitors

Triple monitor setups are great for boosting productivity and saving time. According to a study of computers, using three monitors at work can boost workers' productivity by up to 35%. The average user scored 10% higher than those using dual-screen setups.

What is the main disadvantage of second screen viewing? ›

Disadvantages. Probably the biggest disadvantage to having more than one screen is the added risk of distractions. It's easy enough to get side-tracked when you're working with just one screen, and even more so when you add to it.

Are dual monitors more productive? ›

Dual monitors have been proven to increase productivity by 42 percent, according to the last installment of a 15-year Jon Peddie Research survey on multiple-monitor use.

Are two screens better than one? ›

A survey of over 1,000 end users found an average productivity increase of 42% when users worked with two monitors instead of one. Some other advantages that the study mentioned include: Two monitors often cost less than one large one. Two displays can offer better resolution than one large screen.

How do I display different things on two monitors? ›

To get the monitors to show different things, each monitor must be attached to a separate video port on your computer. Attach the second monitor to the extra VGA or DVI port on your computer.

What cable is needed to connect 2 monitors? ›

The monitors may come with VGA or DVI cables but the HDMI is the standard connection for most office dual monitor setups.

How do I connect 2 monitors to a laptop? ›

Connect two monitors to a laptop when only one port is available. Even if your laptop only has a single HDMI or USB-C port, you can connect dual monitors. Using a suitable HDMI splitter, a USB-C dongle, or a USB-C dongle with HDMI interface, you can easily connect two or more monitors to your laptop.

Is 16GB RAM enough for dual monitor? ›

Running a dual monitor setup with 16GB RAM is going to provide more than enough RAM needed to keep background applications and a game running seamlessly.

Are 2 monitors worth it? ›

Buying a dual monitor can save you a lot of time and it is recommended by many pc enthusiasts. Having access to a second monitor provides a lot of benefits that can help you be more productive, and can just make your life that much easier.

Do dual monitors affect performance? ›

So, does running multiple monitors kill your gaming performance? Maybe if you have a really low end GPU, and like 5 monitors you might see an impact. But in the grand scheme of things, no it doesn't matter.

Which size monitor is best for office work? ›

27-inch screen: resolution of at least 2560 × 1440 pixels (WQHD), preferably 3840 x 2160 (also referred to as UHD 4K). This pleasant combination of screen size and resolution offers much more room to work compared to Full-HD, especially if you use several windows simultaneously.

What is a good size for a second monitor? ›

❓ What is the best monitor size for Dual Monitors? Medium monitor size between 24″ to 32″ is best for office and personal use. If you want to use a dual monitor stand (recommended), most will only support screen size upto 32″.

Is 27-inch monitor too big for office work? ›

If you're looking for a monitor to use at your desk, a 27-inch model is the sweet spot. They're big enough to see everything on the screen, but not so big as to take up too much space. They also have a nice, wide range of resolutions, so you can easily transition between tasks without having to zoom in and out.

Does a second monitor increase productivity? ›

Microsoft researchers found that switching to multiple monitor configurations could boost productivity between 9 percent and 50 percent 2. Tech consultant Jon Peddie Research reported that users of multiple monitors estimated productivity gains averaging 42 percent 3.

Does adding a second monitor to my laptop affect its performance? ›

Yes. Using a second screen will require your laptop to render more graphics and end up using more computing power. Depending on your usage of the monitor, your laptop should be able to handle a second monitor with out a problem. Be careful of using it while on battery because it will drain your battery faster.

Are two screens better than one? ›

A survey of over 1,000 end users found an average productivity increase of 42% when users worked with two monitors instead of one. Some other advantages that the study mentioned include: Two monitors often cost less than one large one. Two displays can offer better resolution than one large screen.

Do you need to plug a monitor into the wall? ›

Yes, monitors require the power cables that come with them.


1. Best Way to Setup My Dual Monitors?
(David Zhang)
2. My Most Productive Desk Setup Ever - 2022 Upgrades
(Liam Porritt)
3. How to setup Multiple Display on a Laptop
(Torogi Pro)
4. How to Setup Dual Monitors in 2022 - Step-By-Step
(Toasty DIY)
5. How to Setup Dual Monitors with Laptop or PC
(Kevin Stratvert)
6. Work From Home Office Ideas (Desk Setup Tours)
(Think Media)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Rev. Leonie Wyman

Last Updated: 03/30/2023

Views: 6269

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (79 voted)

Reviews: 86% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Rev. Leonie Wyman

Birthday: 1993-07-01

Address: Suite 763 6272 Lang Bypass, New Xochitlport, VT 72704-3308

Phone: +22014484519944

Job: Banking Officer

Hobby: Sailing, Gaming, Basketball, Calligraphy, Mycology, Astronomy, Juggling

Introduction: My name is Rev. Leonie Wyman, I am a colorful, tasty, splendid, fair, witty, gorgeous, splendid person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.