A completely comprehensive guide to help you understand the benefits and as well as methods of How to Setup Multiple Monitors:
Dual monitors have become quite common these days. But you don’t have to stop at two, but having a multiple monitor setup is incredible. Here, we will talk about three, four, five, and even six monitors.
Take, for example, right now, I have a three-monitor setup that I use to check and compare spreadsheets, research and write articles, watch Netflix, keep tabs on my social media, and much more. I can promise you that my triple monitor setup has added a lot to my productivity and ease of work.
The triple monitor setup is perfect for games that support multiple monitor setups if you are a gamer. But before you throw yourself into setting up multiple monitors, we bring you a comprehensive guide for everything you need to know about multi-monitor setup.
What You Will Learn:
- Connecting Multiple Monitors
- Know Your Ports
- Multiple (3 or 4 Monitor) Setup Guide
- Configure Your PC
- Tips for Better Productivity with Multiple Monitors
- Frequently Asked Questions
Connecting Multiple Monitors
First thing first, you need to check how many monitors your GPU supports and how many graphics ports like DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort, and VGA are there. You will only see two ports if you don’t have a discrete graphics card.
Most motherboards can run with only two monitors set up with their integrated graphics. However, if you have a discreet graphics card, there will be at least three ports, excluding the ones on your motherboard.
You can use ports on your graphics card and motherboard for a multi-monitor setup. However, when you move Windows between monitors, what you will experience is a performance drop or lag.
Now, just because your graphics card has three or more ports doesn’t mean you can use them all simultaneously. First, check if your graphics card supports multiple monitors.
To find the name of your graphics card on Windows 8, follow these steps:
- Press Windows+I.
- Go to the Control Panel.
- Click on Device Manager.
- Click on the arrow beside Display Adapters.
- Under it will be the name of your Graphics card.
For Windows 10:
- Go to the Control Panel.
- Click on Display.
- Go to Screen Resolution.
- Click on Advanced Settings.
- Click on the Adapter tab.
Once you have found the name of your Graphics card,
- Google the name of your Graphics card.
- Find its product specifications.
- Under Processor Graphics information, you will find the number of monitors your GPU supports.
If you want to connect more than three displays, you will need to buy an additional graphics card. To use that extra graphic card, make sure you have enough space in your tower to open PCIe slots. Ensure that your power supply unit can handle that extra strain.
Now, most users get jim-jams just thinking about all these technicalities. If you are one of them, we suggest you contact an expert before buying the additional graphics card. Also, if you are buying a graphics card just for the multiple monitor setup, go for a cheaper option because the current ones can power several displays effortlessly.
Alternatively, you can daisy-chain the monitors that have DisplayPort and support multi-streaming from a single DisplayPort connection on your Graphics card. You don’t have to have displays of the same size. For example, the main display of 27 inches and two of 24 inches with a super-thin bezel. They work exceptionally well together.
Know Your Ports
We keep talking about various ports on monitors and systems. So here’s a little insight for them to understand them easily.
DisplayPort is the latest digital standard for ports. These are used for connecting monitors and computers. They look like a USB, but with an angle on one side. Use it if your monitor and PC have one.
High-Definition Multimedia Interface HDMI is a standard port for connecting various video devices. It offers similar video quality to DVI and can also provide audio through cable.
Digital Video Interface or DVI is yet another digital standard port for connecting monitors to computers. These are color coded with white labels or plastic and offer video quality similar to HDMI.
Video Graphics Array or VGA is an analog standard port used to connect monitors and computers. These are color coded with a blue label or plastic. Since they are analog connectors, they often produce considerably fuzzier images with less vivid pictures. Therefore, you should use it only when there are no other connectors available.
Time to Pick Your Monitors
Now that you have made sure your system can support multiple monitors, let’s talk about picking monitors before we indulge you with how to set up multiple monitors with a laptop. Monitors come reasonably cheap these days and with a good display.
If you are not willing to go for a second-hand monitor, you can opt for a 24-inch Acer with an IPS display. However, if you are a gamer, you would want a full off-axis view with a slower response time.
A 24-inch Asus with a TN screen would be a good option in that case. A smaller IPS monitor from the HP Pavilion of 21.5 inches or a bigger 27 inches monitor from ViewSonic will also be a good budget option.
There’s no one perfect monitor. Various factors like your current monitor, space availability, and what you want to do with your extra monitors play a vital role in picking the perfect one. If you are not looking to play games, you can go for monitors of various sizes and make the bigger one your primary monitor.
However, if you are looking to play games on your multi-monitor setup, variable sizes will make your experience less pleasant.
Before buying a monitor, make sure its input ports correspond to the ones on your system’s output port. Although you can use conversion cables, it can be a hassle. Also, avoid VGA ports since it is an analog connectors that will make the display noticeably less sharp and less vivid in color.
Multiple (3 or 4 Monitor) Setup Guide
You can just put the monitors side by side and they will work just fine. But that’s not your only option. You can maximize your multi-screen setup depending on your specific needs.
Side by Side
Most users generally default to this option for 2 or 3 monitor setups. It is the most straightforward setup, especially for double or triple monitor setup, and is highly flexible. You can keep an eye on multiple tabs without moving your head from side to side.
However, it can take a lot of space on your desk, an issue you can overcome by mounting them. This setup doesn’t need a lot of planning. It is easy and very functional. What else can you ask for?
Stacking monitors is the preferred option for the 4 monitor setup. They free up a lot of desk space, but you will have to crane your neck up to look at the other two screens. The two top monitors in this quad monitor setup are limited to running tasks you don’t need to pay much attention to.
You can also use this setting for the 3-screen monitor setup. You can mount one or two screens while keeping the primary monitor at your desk. People usually find this setup easier with one ultrawide monitor alongside secondary displays for a triple monitor setup or a 6 monitor setup, since it is hard to put them side by side.
You can also put your secondary monitor below your main one. Although it will occupy a lot of space, it will be more comfortable to look at. For stacking your monitors, you will need a stand that supports stacking, or you can mount them as well.
Also read =>> Best budget ultrawide monitors
Landscape or Portrait
Some stands can let you rotate your screens to 180 degrees, which can come in handy for specific types of work like programming. This extra vertical view comes in handy for reading and writing the code. If your work requires more vertical space than horizontal space, this is your setup.
If you need a lot of vertical space, opt for an ultrawide monitor with a rotatable stand.
Setup for Non-Monitor Monitors
Most people use tablets or TVs as their primary monitor. You wouldn’t want a massive TV resting on your desk now, would you? You can mount the TV monitor above or beside your desk setup. Use an extendable wall mount to pull it closer or move it away according to your need.
Tablets are smaller but can be very handy. You can connect multiple tablets to your PC and use their touchscreen function for different tasks.
For example, you might need notes open while working or for drawing and photo editing. Having tablets will reduce the need for switching programs often. You can also repurpose your laptop as an additional display for your computer.
You can use a mix of these setups for better settings as well.
Configure Your PC
Now it’s time to configure your PC to use these multiple monitor setups. Again, you can do it in various ways.
- Press the Windows logo key and P simultaneously.
- Now choose
- Computer (Or PC Screen) Only to see images only on your PC’s monitor.
- Duplicate to see the same images as your PC. It reduces the resolution on other screens. This is an option you can use for lectures or presentations.
- Extend by clicking and dragging the title bar and extending your windows across your screens.
- Projector (or Second Screen) only to use a higher resolution on the external monitors.
Screen Resolution Menu
- Right-click on the empty space on your desktop.
- Select Screen Resolution.
- Click on Multiple Displays.
- Select Extend these displays or duplicate these display options.
- Click Identify these monitors to know which of your monitors are labeled 1,2.3, and so on.
- Drag the icons to reorder them to match your settings.
- Click on the Resolution menu to select a screen resolution.
- Click OK.
- Restart your system.
Connecting Two Monitors to Laptop with Docking Station
Here’s how to set up multiple monitors with a laptop using a docking station:
- Connect your laptop to a power outlet and turn it on.
- Connect your monitors to the docking station.
- Turn on your monitors.
- If you are using ethernet cables or external USB devices, connect them to the docking station as well.
- Connect the power cable to the docking station and turn it on.
- Connect the docking station to your laptop.
- Download and install drivers for the docking stations.
You are all set up.
Tips for Better Productivity with Multiple Monitors
Now that you know how to connect multiple monitors, here are some tips to help you increase your productivity with them.
#1) Reduce Multi-Tasking
A larger screen enhances your productivity by making it easier for you to access multiple things and switch between them and not by enabling you to multitask. Organize your screens so that they show things relevant to the task at hand.
#2) Take Out Distractions
Don’t work on one screen and fill others with your social media feeds or games. Multiple monitors allow you to see everything at once, but that doesn’t mean you should. Don’t open anything that’s not related to your work.
#3) Use Desktop Cloud-based Apps
Usually, cloud-based apps use a browser. This means you will have to open multiple browsers and toggle back and forth. This wastes a lot of time. Desktop-based cloud apps will allow you to use multiple monitors effectively without having to toggle back and forth.
#4) Adjust According to Your Eyesight
If you can’t see things at a distance clearly, make sure our monitors are at a comfortable distance. Also, if you have trouble reading small fonts, make them big. The less time you spend focusing on adjusting your eyesight to the monitors, the more you will be able to get done.
#5) Pick a Proper Monitor Setup
Make sure you have monitors set up in the right way to help you get a seamless view of the tasks. Also, you don’t have to use one monitor per app. If you can access your app just fine on half the screen, use the other half for another app that is useful for your ongoing work.
Further Reading => How to Use a Monitor as a TV
Can we Close the Laptop and Still Use the External Monitor
Yes, you can. You will just have to tweak the settings a little.
- Right-click on the battery icon of your laptop.
- Click on Power Options.
- Go to the “When I close the lid” option.
- Click on Do Nothing.
- Click on Save Changes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q #1) How do I set up 3 monitors?
Answer: You can use an HDMI cable or DisplayPorts to connect three monitors or you can daisy chain them as well. Go to screen resolution then tweak the settings under the display option to duplicate or extend the monitors and choose the main monitor.
Q #2) What cables do I need to set up dual monitors?
Answer: You will need an HDMI cable for a standard connection. You can also use a DVI or VGA cable to set up your dual monitors.
Q #3) How do I connect 3 monitors to my laptop with one HDMI port?
Answer: You can use an adapter or splitter to connect 3 monitors to your system with one HDMI port.
Q #4) How many monitors can the laptop support?
Answer: It will depend on the available ports and how many displays your GPU supports. Find the GPU used on your laptop and Google its specification to know how many displays it supports.
Q #5) Why is my 2nd monitor not displaying?
Answer: There could be an issue with the cable connection or settings. Check everything and restart your system.
Suggested Reading => Comparison of the Most Popular Curved Monitors
In this article, we have given you an insight into everything you need to know about multiple monitor setups. First, it is essential to pick the right screen and structure to make your work easier. Then, optimize the space and see what works best for you. There is no right or wrong setup.
If you are using a multi-monitor setup for gaming, you will need higher graphical firepower from multiple screens. Also, your GPU can push many more pixels than your one screen needs. However, use robust graphics cards or cards to avoid lag and artifacts in gaming.
Point down your needs and conduct proper research to find your best options. If you are not well equipped to do so, get in touch with someone who extensively knows the monitors and setups. The right multiple screen setup can improve your productivity and make your work extremely easy.