- Win+Up: Maximize the current window (Shift+Win+Up maximizes the window vertically)
- Win+Down: Minimize the current window
- Win+Left: Snap the active window to the left side of the screen
- Win+Right: Snap the active window to the right side of the screen
- Shift+Win+Left or Shift+Win+Right: Move the active window to the other monitor (this does not snap the window to the side of the screen)
- Win+Home: Minimizes all windows apart from the active one. Pressing Win+Home again opens all the windows again.
Photo by golubovy via iStock
As you may already know, I've operated with dual monitors on my desk for years.
Having two monitors was a game-changer for my workflow - there's just so much more space to get things done. The extra space afforded by having two monitors is critical for my photo and video editing.
My old setup was two widescreen monitors set side-by-side on my desk. And while that worked, it took up way too much room on my desk.
Recently, I upgraded my monitor situation to two ViewSonic monitors - a 38-inch VP3881 and a 34-inch VP3481 - that are stacked. Man, has it made a huge difference in minimizing clutter on my desk!
So that got me thinking...if you're considering a dual monitor setup, what steps should you take to make the most of it?
Photo by adamkaz via iStock
One of the first things you should do after you get your dual monitors set up is to learn the shortcuts you can use to dock windows on the edges of the displays.
I use two computers - a 16-inch Macbook Pro and a Razer Blade 15 Studio, which runs Windows 10. Windows 10 has a ton of shortcuts that eliminate the need to resize windows or drag them around with your mouse:
Make Taskbar Customizations
Photo by golubovy via iStock
Windows 10 will automatically stretch the taskbar onto both monitors in your setup. Obviously, this is a handy feature, but you can make it even handier and more useful for your workflow.
If you right-click on the taskbar, you'll see an option called Taskbar Settings. In that menu, there are loads of customization options, including a section for Multiple Displays.
You can elect to remove the taskbar from the second display if you wish. You can also decide where icons show up in the taskbar if you keep it extended onto both monitors. There's even an option to add labels to the buttons on the taskbar.
Get a Good Monitor Arm
Since I have large, heavy monitors, I needed to get a monitor arm that could handle the weight load.
For that, I turned to Humanscale.
Humanscale has a reputation for making well-built, crazy strong monitor arms. What's more, they custom make the brackets for your monitors, that way your monitor setup has the best support possible.
These monitor arms are spendy, but I'd rather have a monitor arm that I know is up to the test!
Match the Displays
Unless both of your monitors are the same make and model, you'll probably need to make some adjustments so they work together seamlessly.
Start by right-clicking on the desktop and selecting "Display Settings."
There, you'll find the option to select and rearragne displays. This allows you to drag the rectangles around so they line up with the orientation of the monitors on your desk.
So, if your monitors are side-by-side, but one is taller than the other, you can adjust the display so when you move the cursor from the shorter to the taller monitor, it will show up in the same spot as opposed to moving up or down on the screen.
The process to match the screens requires a little time and patience, but it's certainly worth the effort when the two monitors work harmoniously.
For things like photo editing, you can adjust the settings in each monitor to match their color, contrast, and brightness to the extent possible as well.
Photo by artursfoto via iStock
It might be worth adjusting the resolution of both monitors as well. For example, if you have one 1080p monitor and one 4K monitor, you might want to set each one up to its native resolution.
However, you might also want to increase the scaling on the 4K monitor. Doing so makes the windows appear to be the same size on both monitors.
The Scale and Layout menu is also where you can change the orientation of the monitor to portrait mode, if that's something you need to do.
Making the Most of Your Monitors
As I mentioned in the introduction, my current setup includes two stacked ViewSonic monitors.
This works great for me, but stacked monitors might not be the best for your workflow.
Perhaps the most critical component of setting up dual monitors is just making the most of them. Experiment with how they're placed in relation to one another. Experiment where they are on your desk - left, middle, or right? Will you wall mount them? Put them on an arm? These questions are necessary to ask, that way your monitor setup is functional and comfortable to view.
I have been astonished at home much more comfortable I am working for long periods of time now that I have my ViewSonic monitors stacked on top of one another.
It's improved my workflow. It's improved my comfort level. And as a result, I've been more productive.
Who'd have thought that something as simple as my monitor setup could have such an impact?! It can for you as well!