Solo Tip Tuesday: Use Two Monitors to Increase Productivity

by Reba Nance on April 17, 2012

I’ve been using two monitors for years, and I’d never go back. Click here for detailed instructions on setting this up.

If you’re simply attaching an extra monitor to a laptop (as I do), here are simple instructions:

Get a separate monitor. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. You might even have one lying around. Plug in the power cord and attach the other cable to the port on your laptop. It’s easy to figure out which port: If it fits, it’s the right port.

  1. Go to the desktop and put your cursor in a blank space and right-click
  2. Click on Graphics Options
  3. Click on Output to
  4. Click on Extended Desktop
  5. You will have two options: Built-in Display + Digital Display (laptop + extra monitor) or Digital Display + Built-in Display (extra monitor + laptop)
    What you choose will depend on whether you put the monitor to the left or right of your laptop — and usually whether you are right- or left-handed
  6. I choose Built-in Display + Digital Display because I am right-handed and my laptop is on the left and the extra monitor is on the right. Make sure the extra monitor is turned out, and you’re ready to use it!

In the example above, my laptop is my primary (built-in) display. When I’m ready to use both monitors, I simply put my cursor at the top of the screen, hold down the left mouse button and drag the screen to the right. You will see the screen move to the right and “jump” from the laptop on the left onto the monitor on the right. Let go, and the screen you were looking at is now on the monitor. Now you can move your mouse back to the laptop on the left, open another application, and open another application I typically keep the Internet open on my extra monitor and Outlook on the laptop on the left. When I need to open another application, I’ll minimize Outlook and open it on my laptop, or I also can drag the new application to the extra monitor. It sounds confusing, but it isn’t. The best way to learn is to play around with it!

Another application of dual monitors is having the same thing showing on both monitors. This is called clone displays. This can be helpful if you have a client in your office and you’d like to show something on your screen. Rather than having your client stand over your shoulder to see your screen, you can have both monitors showing the same thing. Then you can turn the extra monitor toward the client to show what’s on your screen, and still remain seated. Newer monitors can easily swivel to accomplish this. If you have an older monitor that doesn’t swivel, you can put it on a “lazy Susan” type of device and easily turn it.

Here’s how to set up Clone Displays

  1. Follow steps 1 through 3 above
  2. Instead of clicking on Extended Desktop, close Clone Displays
  3. Follow 5 and 6 above, and you’re all set!

You can see this tip and others, on topics ranging from Outlook and Word help to App reviews and online tools, all here.

Longtime readers of the Colorado Bar Association’s C-Brief, its weekly eNewsletter, know each week there is a tip from Law Practice Management Director Reba Nance. Those tips are moving beyond the newsletter and now have a permanent home within the Practice Management section of CBA’s website. We’ll share some of the best tips each week here as Solo Tip Tuesday.

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