6 Ways To Improve Your Dual Monitor Setup

(Illustration: magic images / Shutterstock)

Whether you’re working hard or playing hard, multiple monitors give you more room to get things done. Write a document on one screen while referencing web pages on your other screen, or play on one while chatting on Discord on the other. But don’t just plug in a second display and call it a day, these tips will help make that multi-display setup work for you.

Match screens

If your monitors are the same make and model, you can probably skip this section. Once the two are plugged in, Windows should automatically extend your desktop horizontally. Simply adjust the stand on each monitor so they line up perfectly, and off you go to the races.

If you have two different monitors, however, you may need to do a little more work to make them work well with each other. For example, maybe you plug your laptop into an external display and use them side by side, or maybe you have a 4K monitor next to a 1080p monitor. It will produce some strange behaviors, but they are easy to correct.

Right click on the desktop and choose Display settings. Under Reorganize your displays, click and drag the rectangles to match the orientation of the monitors on your desktop; say, if one is slightly lower than the other. That way, when you move your cursor to the left, it will appear in the same spot on the left monitor rather than jumping up or down on the screen. You may need to do some trial and error to align them properly.

Scroll to Scale and layout section to adjust the resolution of each monitor and its scaling. So if one monitor is 4K and the other is 1080p, you can set each monitor to its native resolution but increase the scaling on the higher resolution one, so that your windows appear the same size on each. (If you want to set up a monitor in portrait mode, you can also do that here).

To take it even further, you can use each monitor’s built-in settings to adjust brightness and color to match them as closely as possible. Once you are done tweaking all of these settings, your monitors should match up much more closely, making it easier and more enjoyable to move windows between them.

Adjust your taskbar

taskbar settings

By default, Windows 10 will extend your taskbar to dual monitors, which can be handy, although you can customize it a bit more to your liking. Right click on the taskbar and choose Taskbar settings. There are a lot of useful options here, but if you scroll down to the Multiple displays section, you will see what interests us.

The first switch removes the taskbar from your secondary display. This is how I personally choose to use multiple monitors, as it puts all of my shortcuts in one place.

If you choose to keep it stretched across both screens, however, you can decide where you want the individual icons to appear: on both monitors, on the main taskbar, and on the taskbar where that app’s window is open. , or only on the active monitor of the application. You can also choose whether you want the taskbar buttons to have labels, similar to Windows XP.

Look for super wide wallpapers

background settings

While fancy wallpapers don’t increase your productivity, they are one of the coolest things about having multiple monitors, so we need to include them here. While most wallpaper sites offer multi-screen options, there are a few places that specialize in super-wide wallpapers, including dual-screen backgrounds, WallpaperFusion, and subtitles like / r / multiwall.

Once you have a wallpaper (or a collection of wallpapers) that you like, right click on the desktop and choose Personalize. Navigate to the image or folder in question and choose Scope to fill the space on all your screens.

Study your shortcuts


The beauty of multiple monitors, especially over ultra-wide and super-wide monitors, is the ability to “dock” windows to the edges of each screen, making it easy to view tons of windows at the same time. times. While you can always drag your windows and resize them with the mouse, it’s arduous and time consuming.

That’s why Windows 10 has a few shortcuts that can help you, including:

  • Win + Left and Win + Right: Align the active window to the left or right side of the current monitor. You can press the keys again to move it between monitors or return it to its original location.

  • Earn + More and Win + Low: Maximizes or minimizes the current window. If the window is currently captured, this will also resize the window from its captured position.

  • Shift + Win + Left and Shift + Win + Right: Move the active window to the next monitor, without snapping it to the edge.

  • Shift + Win + Up: Maximize the window vertically, which is especially useful if you don’t have a taskbar on your secondary display.

  • Win + Home: Minimize all windows except the one you are working on, to banish distractions. Press again to bring all windows back.

Most of these shortcuts also work when you only have one monitor, but the more monitors you add the more useful they become.

Fix this errant cursor

cursor lock

While triple monitors allow you to extend the game to all of your screens, using the Nvidia Surround or AMD Eyefininity settings, dual monitors don’t work as well for super wide gaming, as your reticle would be right on the monitor frames. You can however play on one monitor while having a walkthrough, chat window, or GPU monitor on the other.

Most games can work this way without a problem, but you may find that in some cases your cursor can “drift” on the other monitor while you are still in the game. This has happened with several. titles, including The Witcher, Doom and Metro: Last Light.

Fortunately, an enterprising developer decided to fix this problem with a tool called Cursor Lock, and in my experience it works like a charm. Start the program, check the Open program box, then enter the path to the game’s EXE file. This will create a new shortcut for you to use.

Now when you launch the game using this shortcut your cursor should stay “locked” on the game window unless you Alt + Tab apart from that. If that doesn’t work, the game in question may need a few more options, which you can learn about in the Cursor Lock video tutorial.

Do more with DisplayFusion

fusion display

If after all that you still want more, a third-party tool called DisplayFusion was made for multiple monitors. With DisplayFusion running in your system tray, you can better control your wallpapers, create custom keyboard shortcuts, align windows to the edges of any screen, or automatically darken the idle monitor so you don’t not get distracted.

Seriously, this program is full of useful options, so download the free version to try it out for yourself. It’s a bit more limited in features than the paid version, but if you like what you see you can purchase a license for $ 30. I bought it seven years ago and I don’t regret it for a second.

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