Yet more on multiple monitors

Just when I thought it would be impossible for me to write any more on the benefits of multiple monitors along came another twist – the debate between one big one and several small ones!

Lets be clear for the type of work I do more is better, here’s why:

  • If you do a lot of assembly of documents from multiple sources and using lots of different content then multiple monitors are for you.  In my case I will be writing a report and assembling it from Visio, Excel and PowerPoint content, and drawing on content from the web and OneNote.  I need to see several of these apps at the same time so I can cross refer between them and keep context.
  • If you are working on one thing, either creative or analysis oriented and its large and complex then one big monitor might be better,  maybe some very complex graphic or a mega spreadsheet.

I am very big on symmetry so for me there’s no alternative to 3 monitors.  Although maybe three with a forth above the central one would also work.  My desktop supports four so maybe that’s an option for the future. 

I actually have 4, right now, but ones my Tablet that I access via Synergy.

Anyway if you still want one large monitor then I strongly recommend this blog post on coding horror which has some links to really useful apps that help partition the screen.  This new post that drills into some quantified benefits and these two (onetwo) on web worker daily that have useful comments.

And just for completeness here are my old posts on the topic!

Steve Richards

I'm retired from work as a business and IT strategist. now I'm travelling, hiking, cycling, swimming, reading, gardening, learning, writing this blog and generally enjoying good times with friends and family

2 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    Posted on behalf of Steve Barth!

    Hey Steve, I agree with you about all of the ways multiple monitors boost productivity. Since I work off a laptop even at my desk, I’m limited to an external 20″ plus the ThinkPad’s 12″ (plus my iPaq displaying meetings and tasks).

    On the other hand, don’t you find so much screen space distracting when you are trying to concentrate on a single task? It’s an issue for me and sometimes makes me miss my earliest DOS machines that could really only hand one app at a time!


  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi Steve,

    Yes I do. But it doesn’t happen very often that I need to concentrate on a single application. For example if I am reading my feeds in Feeddemon I will still be opening up links in Maxthon to read later and checking them (for example clicking the print view option to get rid of multiple pages).

    If it does I just minimise all other windows and gaze at my wallpaper!

    When I really want to concentrate for example just reading I will grab my tablet and work on that somewhere away from the house, even then I find that I still tend to have OneNote open in the background to capture any articles/snips I particularly liked.

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