More on multiple monitors
Everyone knows I love multiple monitors, I have 3 * 19″ all the same model and type and all cheap ones that are just fine for my simple needs (ie not Gaming). Here are a few things I’ve learned in the 3 years I’ve used them:
- A laptop – single screen – is just fine if all you want to do is read, or process email, or scan your RSS feeds. I use a laptop for all these tasks and I prefer it to my desktop because I can do these things anywhere, and I like the focus (multiple monitors can distract).
- Multiple monitors are perfect though for creative work, analysis, collaboration, etc where you need to access more than one application at a time, or multiple copies of the same application.
- Three monitors is great, but with hindsight I would make my central monitor larger than 19″ and I would consider a small 1024*768 display as well for web conferences.
- Your second priority investment after buying multiple displays is to get Ultramon, which now works fine on Vista.
- You can open multiple Excel windows on different screens by manually resizing Excel (or use Ultramon) to span multiple screens and then opening up additional windows and dragging them between screens.
- PowerPoint seems to only support a single screen, You can use OpenOffice to open up multiple copies of PowerPoint. You can use it for Excel too, but I don’t. I sometimes also use SnagIt (screen capture) to quickly grab a PowerPoint of Excel window that I need to reference while working on another display
- Use synergy to allow your to use one keyboard and mouse to access your laptop/tablet if you use a desktop PC with multiple monitors like me. Much better than a hardware KVM.
- Use some of the screen real-estate to dock a few key applications that you need to reference frequently. I dock the Vista sidebar on the far left and Pidgin universal IM client docks on the far right.
- If you use Lotus Notes, Open up separate windows on different displays. I have my Email on my centre display, Calendar on the right and highlight report and personal database on the right. Much easier to work that way
- Coding horror blog has the best discussion on multiple monitors, eg http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/001076.html
- If you need to convince the boss, Quote the Wall Street Journal, http://blogs.wsj.com/biztech/2008/03/10/bigger-computer-monitors-more-productivity/
- In rare cases a very large single display might be better, I personally think a Large centre display and two 19″ displays works best. But if you like the large display idea, you will need some extra utilities, http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000928.html