What Is Needed to Run Two Monitors Off of One Computer? (2023)

By Zach Lazzari Updated January 22, 2019

Running dual monitors is relatively easy and requires only a few connections and settings adjustments to complete. The dual monitor setup helps with your workflow by making an easy transition between separate but related tasks.

No more clicking through multiple tabs or toggling between windows. You can drag windows and programs across the monitors and easily use them together. In some cases, a third monitor is also possible and useful. Graphic design professionals requiring multiple programs for a single job will often connect a third monitor or even use a laptop screen in conjunction with the dual monitors.

What Is Needed to Run Two Monitors Off of One Computer? (1)

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

(Video) How to Setup Dual Monitors with Laptop or PC

While the third monitor is rarely necessary for basic office use, the dual monitor system is worth testing to see if it fits your workflow and increases productivity.

Set Up Your Monitors

Monitors are relatively inexpensive and even easy to find used, making a second monitor an easy decision for increased productivity. Modern monitors come with a variety of ports and will often have several cables included. Make sure you have the power cable and an HDMI cable for the connection.

What Is Needed to Run Two Monitors Off of One Computer? (2)

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(Video) How To Connect Two Monitors To One PC : Tutorial



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Not many monitors come with the HDMI cable included and you will likely have to purchase it separately. The cable is effective, however, and makes your setup run smoothly. The monitors may come with VGA or DVI cables but the HDMI is the standard connection for most office dual monitor setups. The VGA can work easily with a laptop to monitor connection, especially with a Mac.

Before you go about setting everything up, position your monitors on your desk. Having two screens changes the perspective while requiring extra space. Slight tweaking to achieve a slight inward angle with your chair positioned somewhat centrally is comfortable. You also need to consider the extra cords, plugs and access required to reach outlets while positioning the monitors.

Dual Monitor Cables

With the monitors positioned, setup a power strip within easy reach. Plug the power cords into your power strip. Connect the first monitor to your computer through the HDMI port or through a VGA port, if desired.

(Video) How to setup Multiple Display on a Laptop

Do the same for the second monitor. If your computer only has one HDMI port and one VGA port, which is common, find an adapter to complete the connection. Adapters are often sold alongside the cables in retail stores. You don't need to connect the monitors with the same cable styles to make it work.

With the two monitor setup connected to your computer and a power source, turn the entire system on.

Program the Monitors on Your Computer

Programming the monitors to work as desired varies slightly by your operating system. Regardless, the overall process is relatively simple and straightforward.

On a PC, right click on a blank space on the home screen and choose ​Display Settings​. At this point, you must determine how the displays should work. You can ​Duplicate​ to have two separate displays doing the same thing. Or choose ​Extend Display​ to work between two monitors. Extending is the common choice and you can drag windows between the two screens. Apply the desired settings and you are ready to use the dual monitor system.

On a Mac computer, click the ​Menu​ then ​System Preferences​. Choose ​Display Settings​ to reach the options. Choose ​Mirror​ to display the same screen on both monitors or remove the check from the ​Mirror​ box to extend the display.

Again, extend desktop is the preferred method for working with ​dual screens​ You can open and work on different applications in each monitor. The Mirror screen function does however work well when multiple monitors are used to share the same presentation. Adjust the angles and you can present to a large audience using this method.

(Video) Laptop and Two Monitors - No Dock Required


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