See the bigger picture – extend your computing experience with multiple monitors

Over the years, many studies have proven that more screen space equals increased productivity.

December 5, 2013

By Francois van Wijk, HP PSG Business Unit Manager at Drive Control Corporation

Over the years, many studies have proven that more screen space equals increased productivity, and in today’s world of compact laptops and mobile devices, the easiest way to maximise screen real estate is to use multiple monitors. A dual monitor setup is most common, however, having three or even four additional monitors is possible and might be of huge benefit if you have the desk space to cater for it. From stockbrokers to office workers, designers to data capturers, having a multi-screen setup can offer significant advantages that enhance productivity and make everyday tasks simpler and more efficient.

Multitask with ease

In today’s working world it is not uncommon to have multiple windows with various different programmes running at the same time. Using a multi-monitor setup means that you can have more of these windows open and visible at all times, rather than having to minimise all but the one you are currently working on. This means you can have your email open on the right hand screen while you work in a browser or a word processor, or you can have a document or browser open for ease of reference. Flipping back and forth between applications is something of a juggling act, and having a second monitor can make this less painful, increasing user productivity.

Save the environment by not printing

Instead of printing documents that need to be referenced, you can simply have them open on another monitor. The same goes for emails, instructions, videos and anything else that needs to be referenced while you work. Again, rather than having to refer to a printed document or flip between screens, a second monitor allows the content to be displayed for greater productivity and reduced stress.

Simplify your working experience

Laptops are great for portability and convenience, but often have small screens that can be difficult to work with for long periods of time in an office environment. A second monitor and even keyboard, mouse, USB hubs and more can all be easily connected with a ‘docking station’ setup, offering an excellent alternative to having both a laptop and a desktop computer. Having multiple monitors also enables data and information to be shared between different applications more easily, as moving from one screen to another is often simpler than using multiple applications on one screen.

Collaborate and communicate more effectively

Collaboration tools are a growing trend, and the ability to conduct Video Conferences (VC) can be highly beneficial. However, this often means that in order to access any other programmes, you need to minimise the video client, which defeats the purpose of video calling. Having multiple monitors addresses this problem with ease. The video client can be open on one monitor, while the second can be used to access data, information and other programmes. You can also often share one of your screens via the video client, and have access to emails, social media and other communication channels, for more effective communication and collaboration.

The flip side

Setting up a dual monitor scenario is easy and cost effective, however, the biggest downside is that it takes up space. Monitors come in many different sizes, so in order to maximise productivity and minimise desktop footprint, ensure that you purchase one that fits your space, your needs and your budget. It may also be necessary to upgrade your video card, as it is necessary to have multiple video outputs to use multiple monitors. Having multiple monitors may also increase potential for distraction, but the productivity enhancements more than outweigh this issue.

Simple steps, big benefits

Adding a second monitor to an existing laptop or desktop setup is simple and fairly straightforward. In a desktop scenario, the video card needs to have ports for two monitors, and for a laptop one port for an external monitor is necessary. Many desktops today come standard with this feature, and the majority of laptops include an auxiliary screen output as a matter of course. Once this has been established, it is a simple matter of connecting the screen and personalising your display settings to set up primary and secondary monitors. With a second monitor in place, working with multiple applications becomes far easier, with resulting increases in productivity, which will benefit any user in practically any industry.