I have been talking and writing about the benefits of multiple monitors for years. Originally, I recommended that every agency staff member have two monitors on their desks. I now recommend three monitors for most staff positions, however, I am not convinced a producer needs three.
The productivity benefits of using multiple monitors are well established. I realized recently that I have neglected to talk about additional software for managing multiple monitors so am including some options below.
Managing Multiple Monitors with Software
Most computer monitors you purchase come with software that helps you manage the monitor settings. Windows’ graphics display settings don’t let you do much beyond choosing whether to mirror your primary display or extend the desktop to all screens.
Several additional software options help you with managing multiple monitors. This type of software is specifically designed to unlock the full potential of your multiple monitor setup.
Some of the tools available in these packages include the ability to:
- Quickly expand an open window to maximize the window across the desktop. Think about expanding an Excel spreadsheet across two or three monitors with one mouse click (or keyboard shortcut).
- Configure how you want your Windows taskbar to act. With a Smart Taskbar, you can set your taskbar to be specific to the monitor with the open window or across all monitors.
- Control the open application window positioning.
- Multi-monitor support for desktop wallpapers and screensavers. Select a different wallpaper for each monitor.
- Mirror your primary monitor to secondary monitors for a presentation.
I have run across a couple of software tools that make using dual monitors easier and wanted to pass on the options to you.
UltraMon provides an extensive suite of tools for multiple monitor setups and is compatible with both 32- and 64-bit Windows platforms from XP to 10. Ultramon is the tool I have used for several years. The software retails for $39.95. There is not a freeware version. You can try it out for a 30-day trial period.
DisplayFusion Pro is a highly rated software that has a wide range of options and tools. This software does have a freeware option. The Pro version retails for $29 for a single user. The big difference between the versions is that the freeware DisplayFusion doesn’t include multi-monitor taskbars or screensavers, Windows lock screen customization settings, and the Alt + Tab Handler. DisplayFusion Pro includes more extensive customization options for dual-monitor setups than most software.
MultiMon is a lighter weight option to DisplayFusion. You can add either MultiMon TaskBar or TaskBar Pro (retailing at $35) to 32- or 64-bit Windows platforms. The freeware Taskbar adds a second and third taskbar to the additional VDUs, but it lacks the system themes in the Pro version. Click on the Downloads tab and then MMTaskbar21.exe to save TaskBar 2.1’s installer to Windows.
Dual Monitor Tools is freeware software. This is a lightweight program that includes some standard multi-monitor tools. The software runs in most Windows platforms from XP to 10 and can be downloaded from their web page.
Is it worth the additional cost to install software for managing multiple monitors? I think it is. The small time savings this type of software can generate will add up to another level of productivity improvement.
What are the tools you use for managing multiple monitors in your organization?