Now that you have made the decision to expand both your workspace and your productivity, you need to make sure that you are getting the most out of it that you can. There are a few utilities available to help you maximize the benefits of your new or pre-existing dual monitor setup. Let’s take a look at some of these utilities, so that you can experience every advantage that a dual monitor system has to offer you both with tasks and display features.
By default, Mac OS handles dual monitor support better than Windows. With Mac, you can set screen-specific wallpaper images without the aid of additional software. To do this, select “Set Desktop Background” and a panel appears that will allow you to set each monitor individually. Unfortunately, Windows cannot do this task by default. With Windows, one preset wallpaper will be displayed on all of the monitors. However, there are several free utilities available to help Windows users overcome this. One such application is called DisplayFusion. Available online for free download, DisplayFusion offers its users the ability to search Flickr and customize their Windows monitors beyond the default restrictions. If you want even more features and customization options, you may be interested in another application, UltraMon. Although an UltraMon license is about $40, it does include all the multi-monitor features you could want, in one package.
Extending the Taskbar
It is relatively easy to move your Windows taskbar between monitors. However, this can become a time-consuming pain if you wish to move it each time you switch monitors. For this problem, you can download a free application called the MultiMon taskbar. This utility adds an additional taskbar and clock to additional monitors. It lists each open program in its respective taskbar. Multimon also adds buttons and shortcuts to easy transitions between monitors. Again, these features are also available in the paid version of the UltraMon license, coursesy of Adam.
The biggest gain in productivity you will see with a dual monitor setup is the ability to leave several windows open and visible across your workspace without the hassle of minimizing, maximizing, closing, and reopening constantly. By default, Windows can tile windows without any extra software. There are, however, a few utilities out there that give you some other options. You can easily resize and move windows into halves or quadrants with the free utility WinSplit Revolution. This application offers customizable keyboard shortcuts to decrease your time spent on rearranging your windows. You can also define custom screen areas to snap windows into with the cool (and free) utility GridMove.
Desktop Pinups and Overlays
Obviously, you do not want or need to fill up your entire workspace with active windows. A perk of multiple monitors is that the extra space allows you to keep everything open without an overwhelming mess of clutter to look at. Some cool overlay utilities are Samurize for Windows and GeekTool for Mac. You can also embed Outlook’s calendar onto your secondary monitor or use Windows Active Desktop to embed your Google Calendar, too. Of course, your monitors don’t have to be all work. You can also use the extra space to keep peripheral tasks easily accessible as well. For example, you may have a monitor open solely for monitoring email, IM’s, and social networks.
Whatever your primary use may be, these popular utilities, as well as many others, are available at your disposal to help you make the most of your dual monitor system. Once you are comfortable with the tools that are available to help you customize each aspect of your dual monitor computer, you can begin to enjoy the freedom and increased productivity that made you consider a dual monitor system to begin with. I hope that the tools and tricks previously discussed will help you on your way to maximizing your own experience and personal benefits that are possible as a result of owning a dual monitor computer.