How To Select a Second Monitor

August 24th, 2016 by admin

White office desktop with 2 Dell monitors and an Apple keyboard around a coffee cup

Secondary monitors have incredible potential to increase productivity in the workplace. It might not seem like much, but minimizing, maximizing, and arranging application windows on a single computer monitor can take up a significant amount of time.

Adding a secondary monitor increases the screen space an employee has to work with by allowing them to display more windows simultaneously, and reduces the time they spend shifting between them.

Need to access two full-screen applications at tche same time? Both laptops and desktops support dual-monitor configurations on PC, Mac, Linux, and Chromebook platforms.

Best of all, the typical cost of a second monitor is in the range of $100 to $200, so it’s easy to recoup the upfront expenses via increased productivity.


According to Consumer Reports, the first step to take before adding a second monitor is to make sure the device has ample free connection ports. You’ll be looking for an unused HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI, VGA, or Thunderbolt port. Modern desktops usually support at least two screens, and nearly every laptop has some sort of video-out connection. Desktop computers that don’t support multiple screens can add this functionality with a graphics adapter upgrade.

The next step is to shop for a monitor that is compatible with the same connection type the computer uses. In many cases, you can easily convert between standards like HDMI-to-DisplayPort or HDMI-to-DVI.

Screen Size

The second display’s size and aspect ratio are dependent on the user’s preferences. In most cases, it’s good to start with a monitor that has the same dimensions as the current one. Some people will gladly embrace a second, much larger screen, while others find different sized monitors disorienting. Laptop users may want a much larger second monitor to compensate for their mobile device’s smaller screen real estate.

Desk space is another major factor in selecting a second screen: Both displays need to fit within the available workspace. Viewing distance is usually not an issue with computer monitors, but it can be if the person sits far from a smaller screen. This tool can be helpful in determining comfortable screen sizes based on viewing distance.

Layout and Orientation

Some people prefer a monitor that can be configured in portrait display mode as opposed to the traditional landscape mode. This seems to be the case especially for employees who often work with images and text content that are more dependent on height-based than width-based screen space. Portrait configurations can also be helpful when working with limited desk space.

Keep this in mind while shopping, as not all monitor stands support this feature. Depending on the user, you may end up with a double landscape, double portrait, or hybrid configuration. 

Regardless of your company’s needs, our team of IT consultants can steer you in the right direction. Get in touch today for more information.

Posted in: Hardware and Software