The Case for Dual Monitors

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photoA few months ago, my boss at the time walked up to my desk and said, “Kevin, how would you like to have a second monitor? Wouldn’t it be easier to work with more space?” A few days later, I was rocking a 17-inch iMac with a 24-inch flatscreen, and I never wanted to go back.

When you’re multitasking, there’s a lot of different ways that Apple makes your life easier. There’s expose, spaces and command-tab program switching, but sometimes you’ve got so many programs open that switching between everything becomes a pain. For example, right now I have open the following: iChat, Firefox, Safari, Address Book, iCal, Word, Excel, Mail, Things, Pulsar and NetNewsWire. Now sure, I could close our a few of those programs, but I have reasons for each and every one of them. Having two monitors gives me the opportunity to have multiple things open at once without looking all over. Plus it means that I can look at one thing and transfer to another – a boon for text editing.

So when it came time to setup my new office, I knew that I wanted to pickup a second monitor to complement the MacBook Pro. I found a 23-inch Dell monitor for $159 ($179 now) and scooped it up, then I got an mStand for the MBP, and my dual monitor setup was complete.

5 years ago, monitor costs and desktop real estate meant that having multiple monitors cost a lot of money and wasn’t efficient. Now, I see no reason to go back. For me, it’s the way to go and I’d suggest it to anyone.

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4 thoughts on “The Case for Dual Monitors

  1. This is an excellent article! I now want a two monitor setup – it has to make working with two different word documents so much easier.

  2. Could not agree more. Indeed, have set up one monitor “landscape” and the second monitor “portrait” especially for reading long PDF documents that would require scrolling. For many tasks, this is, IMO, a 20% productivity improvement.

    That said, it does not work for everybody; most, however, when given the opportunity and have seen how it works, love it and are eager to make the change to using two screens.

  3. i tried hooking my mbp up to a 40″ sony (1080p) but the image is surrounded by black bars (ie doesnt fill the screen despite the mbp set to 1080p and the sony set up correctly). so, its not all plain sailing ! (Using both a hdmi adapter AND a dvi to hdmi cable – neither works correctly, yes im on latest snow leopard).

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