How to set up 2 monitors on your PC

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Carlos Laforet Coll
@carloslaforetcoll

Boost your productivity with additional screen space.

If you never seem to have enough space on your desktop, a second monitor can make all the difference. No more switching between tabs or missing windows. 

You will finally have enough screen space for all your tasks. Once you have the hardware sorted out, a dual monitor setup is easy to set up. We'll show you how to set up dual monitors on all major operating systems.



QUICK ANSWER

To configure dual or multiple monitors in Windows, assuming you have already mounted and connected the physical monitor, press the Windows key + I to open the Settings menu. Under Settings, navigate to System> Video , which should show a representation of all connected displays. Otherwise, press Detect and if it still doesn't appear, make sure all cables are properly connected.

Once you see all connected monitors in the View menu, rearrange your graphical representations to look like your physical setup and select one of the monitors, scroll down and customize your setup. Repeat this last step with all other connected monitors.

What you need for a multi-monitor setup

We'll assume you already have a computer, a suitable second monitor, and a way to mount it. But do you have everything else you need?

  • A graphics card that supports more than one monitor. That must be most of them these days. If you're not sure, google the model to find out.
  • An extra outlet for the second monitor, preferably on a power strip with a power strip.
  • The right cables depending on the ports you will be using. Standard ports for connecting displays include HDMI, DVI, VGA, DisplayPort, Thunderbolt, and USB-C.
  • If you're using a laptop with few ports, we recommend getting a USB-C docking station with additional ports, including an HDMI port.
  • Possibly adapters. macOS users trying to connect to a non-Apple display will certainly need to look for adapters.

After connecting everything correctly, your computer should detect both monitors and display your desktop on both. Even if everything looks good right away, let's dive into system settings or preferences and make some improvements. You'll want to adjust your monitors' orientation, resolution, and more. We'll also show you some troubleshooting tricks.



How to set up 2 monitors on Windows PC

If your Windows PC recognizes the second monitor, it should automatically display a duplicate of your desktop. Go to Start > Settings > System > Display, where you should see a graphical representation of your monitors. If a monitor is missing, click Detect ou Multiple monitors > Detect . If the monitor still does not appear, troubleshoot the cables, ports, or graphics card configuration.Microsoft

To adjust individual display settings, click to select the respective display box (above #2 is selected), then scroll down to scale and layout, where you can change the scale, resolution, and orientation of your display.

Microsoft

Rearranging the screens shown in the Settings menu changes the way you can move the mouse and windows between screens when extending the desktop. Instead of having two monitors next to each other, you can have a laptop screen with a desktop monitor on top. Make sure to click Apply to save your changes.Microsoft

If you are not sure which monitor is which, click Identify and a different number should appear on each of your monitors.Microsoft

To change the way your desktop is displayed on monitors, scroll down to the multiple monitors and choose an option from the drop-down menu. select Extend these monitors to get more screen space. Here, you can also check a box to Make this my main monitor , which will make it the active desktop.


Microsoft

If you want to change this later, you don't have to go back to the Settings menu. press the key of logo do Windows + P opens a menu that lets you toggle between these options as well.


How to Set Up Dual Monitors on a Mac

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Your Mac should automatically recognize the second monitor as soon as you plug it in. If not, try putting your Mac to sleep and waking it up. See how to configure the second display.


  1. expand the menu Apple , select System Preferences and click on the icon Monitors .
  2. Click on the button Gather Windows in the lower right corner to open a menu for the second monitor. Here, you can change its rotation, resolution scale, and more. If your desktop background appears blurred, click scaled and find the correct resolution for your monitor.
  3. Back to window exhibition main , switch to tab Arrangement . Here you can rearrange the views to match your actual layout. You can also move the menu bar.
  4. By default, macOS will extend its display. If you prefer to duplicate the desktop, check the box mirror monitors on the tab Arrangement .

How to configure dual monitors in Ubuntu Linux

Gnome

When you connect a second monitor to your Ubuntu Linux computer, your system should detect it on its own. Otherwise, or to change the settings, follow these steps:

  1. Open the overview of Activities , type it Monitors in the search bar and click on the top result to open the panel.
  2. You will see a display arrangement diagram where you can drag the displays to your preferred position.
  3. You can choose one primary monitor clicking on the respective option. This display will show the top bar and the Activities overview.
  4. With just two monitors, you can choose one of three display modes:
    1. Join monitors: two separate workspaces with linked borders, so you can move things from one to the other.
    2. Mirror: the second screen is an exact copy of the first, including resolution and orientation.
    3. Single monitor: Configure only one monitor and keep the other one off. This can be useful if you are connecting an external monitor to a laptop.

With more than two monitors connected, Join Monitors will be your only option.

  1. Set the orientation, resolution or scale and refresh rate for each of the monitors.
  2. When finished, click Apply e keep changes to confirm or simply wait 20 seconds if you want to revert to previous settings.

How to configure 2 on Chromebook

Google

Your Chromebook should come with an HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI, or VGA port. If that's the case, you can connect it to an external monitor or TV.

  1. Click on the clock in the lower right corner and go to Settings > Device > Monitors .
  2. Arrange the screens to mimic your physical setup.
  3. Selecione built-in screen or your external monitor to adjust its settings. You can change the screen size, resolution, refresh rate, orientation or overscan.
  4. You also have the option to Mirror the built-in screen ; in this case, you will not need to adjust the external monitor settings.
  5. Please click  completed to save your changes.

To turn off the Chromebook display and only view content on the external display, press and hold the dim brightness button .

FAQ

Can dual monitors be connected to a laptop?

Most laptops today support a second monitor. If your laptop runs any modern Windows OS, it can also support two external monitors, but that depends on your laptop's built-in graphics card and ports.

To find out if your laptop's graphics card can handle two external monitors, check the specs on the manufacturer's website. Not sure which graphics card you have? Press Windows + X to open the WinX menu, open the Device Manager and check the entry in Video adapters .

If your graphics card supports two external monitors, make sure your laptop port matches your monitor ports. You may need to use adapters, a screen splitter, or a docking station to connect multiple displays.

Can 2 monitors lower FPS?

Yes, connecting a second monitor and extending gameplay on both monitors can lower your FPS, but the drop may be small (within 10 FPS) depending on your graphics card. If you connect a second monitor, restrict the game to the main monitor and view only 2D items on the other monitor. It shouldn't affect FPS.

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