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On average, employees open about 36 different cloud services a day to accomplish their work. From cloud storage services to productivity tools like Microsoft 365, most people have several apps open at once. 

These apps can cause “app fatigue.” They can also crowd the limited space of one screen, slowing down productivity.

The increase in app usage over the last decade has been one driver for the dual-monitor setup trend. No more are additional monitors relegated to programmers or air traffic control operators. Many office workers use an additional monitor to keep their work organized and manageable. 

But just buying PC hardware and plugging in an additional monitor doesn’t always work to increase productivity. Craning your neck between poorly placed screens or fighting with color differentials can get in the way of work.

To truly benefit from a two-screen setup, you should follow some basic optimization rules. Next, we’ll give you a rundown of what those are.

Two-Screen Setup Best Practices

1. Match Your Monitors as Closely as Possible

One of the first steps to optimize your dual-monitor setup is to make sure your monitors match as closely as possible. Having two monitors with different sizes, resolutions, or color profiles can be distracting and hinder the seamless flow of your work. 

A color mismatch can be particularly painful if you do any type of graphics work, such as creating social media post images. Note that you can get help from your IT professional to calibrate monitor settings for color, brightness, resolution, etc. This can make a huge difference in your comfort moving between the two monitors.

Ideally, invest in two identical monitors or at least make sure they have similar specifications. This will ensure that your workspace looks and feels uniform.

2. Align the Monitors Side by Side

The best alignment replicates having one big screen that is just extended to the left and right. If one monitor is higher than the other or placed further away, it can make for an uncomfortable transition between them.

You want your cursor to appear to move seamlessly between the two. Your eyes should also be able to easily scan from one to the other with minimal head movement.

If you’re matching a monitor with a laptop screen, you may need to use a stand to raise the laptop screen higher.

3. Use the Right Settings

Your PC may not automatically extend your monitor experience the way you like. Often, when you first plug in a second screen, your screen will be mirrored instead of extended. 

For the best experience, follow these steps for Windows (Mac users will see something similar):

  1. Connect your second monitor.
  2. Select Start, then, open Settings.
  3. Under System, select Display.
  4. You should see your displays indicated. If you don’t, select Multiple Displays, then Detect.
  5. From the dropdown, select “Extend these displays” and then Apply.
Image

Image from Microsoft Community.

You can also drag and drop the display boxes to rearrange which monitor is seen by the PC as on the left or right.

4. Tweak Your Apps and Taskbar

Once you have your two monitors set up visually, you’ll want to explore your digital workspace. Using a second screen can be very handy, but only if you know how to use them.

For example, go into the video conferencing app that you normally use (Zoom, Teams, etc.). Practice sharing your screen while keeping things offscreen on your other monitor. Typically, when you have two screens, the conferencing app will ask you which you want to share. This is often a point of confusion for those new to the setup. You don’t want your first time figuring it out to be an actual meeting where everyone is watching.

Next, look at your other apps and how you can optimize how you use them with two screens. One other thing you’ll want to do is to tweak your taskbar.

Managing open applications across two monitors can become cumbersome without the right tweaks. In Windows, for instance, you can set your taskbar to appear on both monitors or just on the primary one. Experiment with these settings to see which configuration suits your workflow best. Additionally, you can use third-party software to enhance taskbar functionality, such as grouping similar windows or adding extra features.

5. Monitor Stand or Mount

If desk space is limited, consider investing in a monitor stand or mount that clamps onto your desk or wall. These mounts not only free up space but also allow for greater flexibility in positioning your monitors. You can adjust their height, tilt, and swivel angles to achieve the perfect viewing setup.

Need Help Optimizing Your Workspace for Improved Efficiency?

Don’t be held back by poor PC or monitor setups. B-Comp Services has a team of experts that can help your Denver area business with any software and hardware needs.

Contact us today for a consultation. Call at 303-282-4934 or contact us online.

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