|Volume 7 Issue 7
|Can I Add A Second Monitor To My Computer? What About A Projector?
Do you wish your computer monitor were bigger? Are you constantly shuffling your windows around, juggling your email, web browsing, documents, and spreadsheets? Consider adding a second monitor to your computer, it's never been easier!
Have you wanted to make presentations to a roomful of people, but been confused about how to connect a projector to your computer? Good news--It's practically the same as adding a second monitor!
Where do I start? Look at your computer
The first thing you have to find out is whether your computer already has a video "port" (and the hardware circuitry behind it) where the second monitor or projector will connect, or whether you'll have to add it. Here's a quick guide:
Once your computer has a video port (and the circuitry behind it) to support a second monitor, you'll need to know two things:
1. The type of the video port (output) on your computer you'll be using for the second monitor. The most common are:
Once you have this information, you can figure out how to connect them:
Computers have two main "display modes" when an external monitor is connected:
However, if you have a second monitor, most of the time you'll probably use it to create more working space on your computer instead. Here's how that works:
With mirroring off, you'll choose one of your monitors as the "primary," which will make the other one "secondary." Your primary monitor will have:
Also, since your computer can't know how your monitors are physically arranged on your desk, you'll have to tell it by choosing the "edge" along which your two monitors will "touch." For example if your primary monitor is on your left and your secondary is on your right, you'd "arrange" them in a similar way using the software, so that as you "fly" your mouse off the right edge of you primary monitor it enters your secondary on the left. That's how you'll move icons and windows over to your secondary monitor as well.
Once you've done all this, your windows will initially open on your primary monitor, but you can drag them to the other monitor (and back) if you choose. Many programs will "remember" that you like to have their windows on your second monitor.
To adjust your monitor settings for mirroring, resolution, physical arrangement, and more, after connecting both monitors you would go to:
Having two monitors is great! Since you'll have a larger working area, you can have more windows open that don't get covered up, and you'll spend less time shuffling windows and probably be more productive. For example, you could have your email on one monitor and your documents and web sites on the other.
Can I use an external monitor with my laptop and close its lid?
If you have a laptop, rather than using both the internal monitor and an external monitor at the same time, you might just want to use a larger external monitor by itself. Windows and Macintosh laptops both support this, and it only takes a few minutes to set up. Also, closing the laptop's lid (or leaving it open just a little for ventilation) will mean that you'll need an external keyboard and mouse, and you'll probably need to keep the laptop's power cable plugged in as well.
What about a projector?
Connecting a video projector to your computer involves exactly the same steps as connecting a second monitor. In fact, your computer can't tell the difference! You'll choose the mirroring option, so your biggest issues will probably be picking the best resolution and getting good image focus on your projection screen or blank wall.
Here's a tip: Instead of putting your projector on a table and tilting it upwards so your audience can see the projected image, elevate your projector higher than table height (put it on a cardboard box, suitcase, or pile of phone books) so you can keep it level, which minimizes any distortion in the image.
Adding a second monitor or projector to your computer is pretty straightforward. Your computer needs to support two monitors, you'll need the right cable (and possibly an adaptor), and then you'll need to adjust the software settings to suit you.
If you're torn between buying a desktop computer vs. a laptop (or buying one of each), buying a laptop and adding an external monitor can give you "the best of both worlds."
Be careful what you wish for, you'll be looking into adding a third monitor before you know it!
Where to go from here
How to contact me:
phone: (617) 484-6657
On a regular basis I write about real issues faced by typical computer users. To subscribe to this newsletter, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll add you to the list, or visit http://www.kadansky.com/newsletter
Did you miss a previous issue? You can find it in my newsletter archive: http://www.kadansky.com/newsletter
Your privacy is important to me. I do not share my newsletter mailing list with anyone else, nor do I rent it out.
Copyright (C) 2013 Kadansky Consulting, Inc. All rights reserved.
I love helping people learn how to use their computers better! Like a "computer driving instructor," I work 1-on-1 with small business owners and individuals to help them find a more productive and successful relationship with their computers and other high-tech gadgets.