How to Connect Two Monitors to a Laptop

Nowadays, laptops are gearing up to be as powerful as most personal computers, plus the portability and minus the bulk and weight. For some, it has become a valuable companion either for entertainment, work, or play.

One of the most common upgrades you can give your laptop is by extending its built-in screen with additional monitors. And anyone you ask can definitely agree, three monitors are better than one. Three times the screen size, three times the fun. With a bit of research and with the right tools, you connect up to two more monitors to your trusty laptop.

Why You Need More Monitors

2 young professionals using 4 monitors

There are a variety of reasons for requiring additional display, it mostly depends on the activities you do with your laptop. Regardless of the purpose, a multiple monitor setup usually allows the user to keep multiple windows open and use them almost simultaneously. This, in turn, allows users to increase their productivity. Aside from the popular opinion that multiple displays are awesome, here are some of the practical reasons why you might need that additional monitor, or two.

1. Gaming

Either you are after real-time strategy (RTS) games like Civilization and Age of Empires or MMORPGs like World of Warcraft, an additional monitor is equivalent to an additional display space where you can see more in the game. This allows players to see more details in the map, or just to immerse themselves in the experience brought about by the imposing display.

2. File Editing

May it be a document, photo, or video, editing usually requires two or more application windows to be open and extra monitors are extra pages for you to work on. Take copy and pasting content, for example. On one screen you can have the original or source document while on the other screen you can have the destination document. The same is true for graphic designs. Instead of alt-tabbing every few seconds, you can view and compare your works simultaneously.

Some researchers or writers even prefer the three-monitor setup, with all monitors set up vertically, that is, in portrait. This is particularly useful for editing long documents or reading long articles from your browser.

3. Streaming

For some of you who just can’t say no to another episode of your favorite series, keep your videos streaming on one monitor.  Some people take advantage of the three-screen setup by going so far as to stream on two or even all three monitors, giving the same visual appeal as watching in the cinema. The only drawback of this kind of setup is from the bezels of the monitor, giving an unnecessary borderline in between your monitors. Other than that, as long as your graphics card supports all monitors and their respective resolutions, you are good to go.

For those at work, either waiting for an update or an email makes passing time easier with a hobby – a monitor for streaming and another two for work keeps you on top of both things.

4. Testing and Debugging

While this is quite the technically-specific application, some professionals and hobbyists in the field of programming might find additional screens useful as they can keep on opening their programmer or compiler on one screen, the testing on another, with a third monitor open for additional resources like the occasional internet browsing. Game developers use this a lot to debug their programs in real-time, without having to swap windows from one task to another.

5. Productivity

Connecting your laptops to two large monitors believe it not will increase your productivity greatly. Personally I wasn’t a believer in this theory but once I was convinced to try it by a co-worker I was hooked. You can meticulously

What You Need to Check

Before buying, or taking out, your next monitors, check the following first:

  1. See your laptop’s operating system. While this should no longer be a problem by now, check first if your operating system is Windows XP at the very least. Windows XP/7/8/10 are all capable of managing multiple monitors.

 

  1. Check your graphics card if it also supports a multiple monitor setup. Most graphics cards now have two or more output ports. These data are readily available on the manufacturer’s site, just type in the model of the graphics card you have.

 

  1. Count and see what ports are available on your laptop, as these ports will define the number of monitors you can plug in and the cable you will be using. The most common is the VGA (Video Graphics Array) port, which is usually colored blue with multiple pinholes and two screw holes on either side. 

In the event of an older laptop or newer models without the built-in ports, you can always go around this problem by having a docking station. Also referred to as a universal port replicator, it is external hardware that allows a laptop to easily connect to a number of peripheral devices. This includes monitors of varying adaptor types.

How to Connect Your Monitors Step by Step

  1. Plug the cable of your first external monitor to its corresponding port on your laptop.
  2. Plug the cable of the next external monitor to the correct port on your laptop
  3. On your main monitor, just right click over any free are of your desktop screen. 
  4. For users of Windows 7 or 8, click Screen Resolution
  5. For users of Windows 10, simply click the Display Settings button.
  6. On the Screen Resolution/ Display Settings tab, you will find the header “Change the appearance of your displays.” Beneath this should be three monitor icons numbered one, two, and three. It shows that all monitors are detected.
  7. Click the monitor icon labeled 2, and under the Multiple displays tab, choose Extend desktop to this display, then click Apply. The second monitor should light up and start displaying a section of your display.
  8. Next, click the monitor icon number 3, and perform the same tasks as in Step No. 5.
  9. Click OK to finish setting up your multiple monitor display. You can now start using your three-monitor extended display.

Conclusion

graphic designer and manager using 2 monitors

Your laptop is a powerful tool for getting things done. Make the most out of it by extending your display through the use of an additional monitor and eliminate the additional tact time by periodically switching screens or dragging them around to reposition them every time you use them. However, take note of the few pre-requisites before going ahead and purchasing and connecting your auxiliary monitors.

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