One Or Two Screens?

I’ve been using one computer screen as long as I remember. In fact, I didn’t even realize that you could have 2 monitors until I saw this happening some years ago.

At one point I tried doing stuff with 2 monitors. The end result was that I didn’t like it. To me, the gap between monitors is irritating. Therefore I simply like using a solid one monitor. Large screen enuf and good resolution enuf to handle several windows in my view.

How you like to work? With one monitor. Two? Or perhaps even more?

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. One 17″ at work is all they will give me. At home I have 2x 22″. How else can I play games and chat to people/read walkthroughs/read the internet in the boring bits of the game?

  2. Duals all the way. As mentioned above being able to reference one document while working on another at the same tiime is fast and efficient. At home 37″ and 24″ and work a laptop 15″ & 24″.

    At work we do all the meetings from our desk so watching someone else’s screen while they talk and still be able to work on something else until they get to the part that is pertent to me.

    The whole using one big screen I find to just not split well when doing multiple tasks so I’d be interested in hearing more from the single monitor users on how they work on multiple issues at once.

  3. Dual screens > single screen. I use 2x dual at work and 1 set of dual at home. Would love a 3 screen setup though as was mentioned earlier here, both at work and home. Maybe I’ll invest in that when I can afford it ;)

  4. I used dual screen since 2000… In the beginning I was really disapointed. Next, I learnt to work on these two screens by splitting tasks on them. For instance, One screen for doc, one for code. Or One for 3D Soft, and one for 2D soft… Finally I think that two monitor is too small. I actually have a 4 monitor workstation and that’s really great !


  5. I am more productive with two screens. I actually have it set up so I have 3 (Sometimes 4) by using Synergy KVM with my laptop.

  6. I’ve use matched dual screens at home and work for a few years now. Can’t imagine going back to a single screen. The split between the screens don’t bother me since I rarely treat them as one large screen.. Debugging is really nice using both screens (code on one screen, app running on the other). It has the potential to help productivity, but I do know a fair number of folks who’d rather just have a single larger screen. Seems to be a personal preference type of thing.

  7. I’ve used dual screens for a long time, but when I built my new system I got rid of the two screens and bought a 30″ monitor with a resolution of 2560×1600. Absolutely love it.

  8. Looks like very many people prefer 2+ screens. Except Dave Matney who seems to have tested 5 screens. Heck, I’ve owned less screens in my life… :)

    @Wessel: 2560×1600 hmmmm… that sounds yammy :)

    I wonder how “playing in fullscreen” is like when you got one 30″ screenie… :D

  9. At work I love using two, one for IDE, one for documentation/browser/etc. At home I currently have one, but I will most likely get a second one. I use a lot of productivity alt-tabbing to IRC, I’d love to be able to just glance over while continuing work and/or browsing, only interrupting when I have something to add to the conversations. Also, soon I’ll be developing a lot more at home so the work situation will apply as well.

    Even with the big widescreens these days two monitors will give you way more workspace. A 30 inch monitor offering 2560×1600 is nice, but two 24 inch screens which are just as expensive, or even cheaper will give you 3840×1200. A little less height but a lot more width, giving way more space to have windows next to each other. It’s matter of personal preference, but I like to put windows next to each other so I like dual screen. :-)

  10. @Jake Birkett: Actually i find it good for coding too, i’m a big gVim user, and with splitscreen i can open up to 4 files, split the screen in 4, and it’s just awesome to code. And i find it code to read functions , as i try to keep my lines as short as possible, no need to have a large display to show the full lines.

  11. I’ll throw in a vote for a two+ monitor setup. At work, I use two widescreen monitors centered in a shallow “V”. I typically have one program open on each monitor (usually an IDE on one, and whatever I’m testing or referencing on the other). That way I can switch from one to the other just be swiveling my chair a couple degrees. I don’t often span the programs across both monitors because of the bevel in the middle.

    At home I have one large monitor, with a smaller monitor off to the side. Games get played on the main monitor, and walkthroughs/web sites/chats/Vent get displayed on the other.

  12. I prefer two – primary (larger) for whatever I’m focusing on, and secondary for either things I need to monitor or reference material. I find it much easier to work side-by-side like that.

  13. At home: One, laptop most of the time.
    At work: Two, used to have a separate screen for mail and internet, and compare sources.
    Generally, I prefer one screen on one PC.

  14. Two is great for work, but one is all I need at home!

    For some reason some of the other answers are reminding me of the ball-of-wool joke (eg, how many balls of wool does it take to reach the moon? One BIG one!)

  15. I’m with tonic. One large screen replaces two medium screens. Size matters especially when you are modelling in 3D. My laptop binds me to single-screen anyway.

  16. I use Synergy to share mouse and keyboard and run a different computer(s) on another screen. In home that’s mac mini and a linux box sharing the other screen.

    I think the need for 2 screens has diminished after big widescreen lcds have become more popular (which is what I prefer for the main computer display).

  17. Some people I know flip the 2nd one into portrait mode to display docs and that seems like a good idea (if you read lots of docs, or webpages next to your code window).

  18. I worked with two monitors, but it was when my older game had only full screen mode and I could only debug it with two monitors. But that was years ago.
    I think I prefer one big monitor now adays.
    Unless… I will use some special monitor, like for 3D stereo or something like that. But basically, 1 monitor.

  19. Working in IT, I’ve had the luxory of having as many monitors as I’ve wanted simply by taking them out of storage. I hated having two, but I saw the benefit of it, so I moved up to three, which is now my ideal situation. I have the central monitor to use as my work space, and the auxillary ones on the sides to use for email, messengers, any documents I need to compare my primary document to, or just about anything else I need.

    I’ve tried 4 and 5, but they were just needlessly excessive, and often left one or two monitors completely unused.

    The best part is that, with three, I don’notice the central line between two monitors at all.

  20. At home: 2 screens one 24″ and one 22″
    At work: 3 screens one 21″ on the left, one 19″ flip vertically in the middle, and a 20″ on the right. Just awesome \o/

  21. I find it really hard to work on setups with one monitor these days. Have 2 at work (17″) and 2 at home (21″ full-hd).

    At work they seem like not enough. I could really use 4. One for the IDE, one for the text editor (editing XMLs), one for the Wii output and one for misc stuff (web browser, IM, opened folders, etc.)

    At home, 2 are just fine. I use one for gaming/coding, the other one for web browser/music player/IM.

  22. Couldn’t live without my second screen (have 2 at work, 2 at home)… the ones at home are a desent size too, 24″ each. Once you get used to working like this, you’ll never want to go back.

    Adding a second monitor can make you significantly more productive (if you choose to use it as it appears the previous commenters do not). Ask yourself how often you are working on something and have to switch between windows to reference something else. Imagine just glancing over to the other screen without doing anything with the mouse. This can be very helpful for coding (either when looking at a tutorial or referencing a second project).

    It’s nice for being non-productive too, as I will often play videoes on one screen while working on the other.

  23. I’d rather have 2 x 17″ @ 1280×1024 than 1 x 22″ @ 1650×1050. You can easily maximize windows on each screen, have separate taskbars, and many more. I find it better to have the IDE maximized on the left screen to fit the debugger window, stack trace, watches, code and the debugged application on the right one (along with a nice youtube clip, or something). After a day or two you don’t even see the gap between them any more, just make sure to adjust them to the same height and color profile.

  24. i’ve got 2 monitors, but 1 stays turned off most of the time. in the past i’ve been near-religious about 2 displays, but i’m working with tools that aren’t as bulky these days. which is actually really nice.

  25. My 2nd monitor simply has a picture of a tropical beach on it. It’s a very expensive picture frame.

    I tried using it as extra desktop but the fact it’s a different size (and colour profile) is annoying.

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