Choosing How to Use Multiple Monitors

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 3, 2014)

Windows 8 makes it easy to use multiple monitors on your system. Provided you have the monitors plugged in, you can control how Windows should use the additional monitor (or monitors) by pressing Win+P. This displays the Second Screen pane at the right side of your screen. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The Second Screen pane.

There are four choices offered in the Second Screen pane:

  • PC Screen Only. This effectively turns off the second monitor, ignoring it completely. Everything is sent to your main screen.
  • Duplicate. This choice puts the same content on both the main and secondary screen. You'd normally use this if your second monitor is used for a presentation and it is pointing in a different direction than your main monitor does. (Perhaps the main monitor is on your laptop and the second is actually a projector of some type.)
  • Extend. This makes the second screen an extension of whatever appears on your main screen. As you move the mouse pointer off the right side of your main screen, it appears at the left side of the second screen.
  • Second Screen Only. This effectively disconnects your main screen, directing all output to the second one. You would normally use this if your main screen is much smaller than your second screen, for instance, in the case of a laptop into which you've plugged the second screen.

When you make a choice, it is implemented immediately. You'll want to play with the various settings, as some of them can affect the resolution on your main monitor. (For instance, if you use Duplicate, then the resolution of both monitors is set to whatever resolution is supported on both monitors.)

 This tip (12988) applies to Windows 8.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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