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What Are Some Uses for a Second Computer Monitor?

An SVGA cable can connect the second monitor to the computer.
Using a spare monitor in a dual monitor system can increase productivity.
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  • Written By: Lindsay D.
  • Edited By: Lindsay D.
  • Last Modified Date: 28 July 2014
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Dual monitor setups are not just for geeks anymore; a second computer monitor is one of the fastest ways to increase productivity while at your desk. There are so many ways to employ the extra screen real estate afforded by a second computer monitor, that anyone--from a stay at home dad to a thrifty shopper--can benefit from a second computer monitor. Here are ten simple ways to use your second monitor to make your life easier:

  • Programming Dual monitor setups are ubiquitous in most coder-rich environments. Especially when working on websites, they are invaluable since they allow your text editor and browser to be visible at the same time. Besides input and output windows, a second computer monitor can allow you to maintain other useful resources such as reference materials, chat windows, documentation, or collaboration information.

  • Shopping Though some shopping websites have comparison engines built in to their interface, many do not. Cameras, mp3 players, computers, and other electronics are easy to compare while shopping, but what about shoes, books, or craft supplies, like yarn? These sites rarely have an easy way to compare specifications and prices of similar items, so you can rely on your second computer monitor to give you the space necessary to do so.

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  • Banking A second computer monitor can be just the thing for making your electronic payment and banking processes quick and easy. When you can see accounting records, calculator, payment information, vendor websites, and bank statements all at the same time, imagine how easy your bookkeeping will become. No more trying to remember the exact amount, no more forgetting to make entries.

  • Travel Planning If you've ever planned a trip to an unfamiliar destination, you know how hard it can be to coordinate travel, lodging, tourist attractions, and restaurant options. Here's another place where a second computer monitor can really make life easier. Put up a map and your proposed agenda on one screen, while you use the other for seeking out hotels, flights, and museums.

  • Menu Planning The internet is a great place to browse for new recipes, but comparing them and creating a complete menu and a shopping list can be a bit taxing on your screen space. Dual monitor setups are a great way to spread out and be able to keep track of everything.

  • Reorganizing Like refrigerators, garages, bookshelves, and closets, computers are storage areas that need cleaning and reorganizing from time to time. A second monitor can make this process so much simpler by allowing you to see how things are organized--from desktop to folders--and give you the freedom to move, change, file, and delete things without any guesswork or short-term memory challenges.

  • Babysitting While we're not necessarily recommending this as a preferred method of parenting, a second computer monitor can be a very useful babysitting tool in a pinch. Strap that kid into a front pack, sling, or raised backpack, and then pop in a Muppet DVD. While the young one is enjoying learning the alphabet from Kermit, you can be taking care of business.

  • Communicating For the communication guru, a second computer monitor is invaluable. You can have video conferencing, IRC, IM, and numerous email accounts visible at the same time. Special warning: be careful that you're saying the right thing to the right person--carelessness with this dual monitor usage can result in great stress.

  • Gaming A second monitor means more space to play. Doesn't every gamer want more space to play?

  • Goofing off at Work This is especially useful in remote working opportunities, when you're out of the office, but can also be useful when you're in your cube. Set up one monitor with your chat window, collaboration interface, or video conference, and use the other one to surf, play solitaire, or touch up your photos from last weekend.

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    Discuss this Article

    HotFix
    Post 2

    @guitarhero32 - I also don't know how I lived without two screens! I have two wide screens which actually allows me to have 2 windows open -- with a large-enough size for both -- on BOTH screens. That's 4 windows open at a time. Some of my work requires that I toggle back and forth between more than one screen so having them all open at once eliminates the need for that toggling. The time savings alone in the keystrokes to do that is huge. I recommend that anyone who does a lot of computer work and doesn't have a second monitor get one. In fact, I'm contemplating getting a third!

    guitarhero32
    Post 1

    I have a dual screen monitor and I use it for watching movies while I do work on the other monitor. I was hesitant at first to get a second monitor, but now that I have I don't know how I ever made it without one. When I'm not playing movies on my other monitor, it gives me more screen space and allows me to work with much higher productivity.

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