How Do You Position Your Monitors?

Some time ago I wrote that I’m using just 1 screen. Recently, I stopped fighting the windmill and didn’t give/sell my second screen to anyone (after buying a better screen).

Instead… I cleaned my workroom and needed to throw some stuff away (like a bookshelf), and there was no place for the 2nd monitor to be. So, I just decided to put in on my desktop.

Few days later I decided to plug it in – give it a go.

Week later I actually used it for something other than watching background image.

In fact, now I have the screen in use, and it’s on the right side of my main monitor, which hasn’t moved an inch to any direction. (At this point I’m cursing my sucky cell phone for not having a decent camera, could have taken a picture).

Luckily, there’s Ascii to save:

Screens aren’t like this: (bit like “one very wide screen”)

__ __

They are *bit* like this: (like “one main monitor right in front of me, and then secondary monitor can be seen by turning head a bit”)


Not in such sharp angle, but anyways. Since I like to have one “main” screen (so that I don’t need to turn my head bit to the left or right when staring the main screen), I like this setting. At least somewhat.

Anyway, I’m totally hooked. Two monitors is like having 2 zombies instead of 1. Totally cool. Now just need to decide whether one of them will be a boss.

I don’t know yet which way I will eventually settle, but will be (1) hearing you (2) and most likely testing to see what’s the “best” mode for me.

(I’ve been thinking that having 3rd monitor would be even cooler, but… maybe later)

So, in case you have 2 (or more) monitors – how do you place them on your desktop?

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. I use a three monitor setup, with the larger (21″) in front of me, and the smaller ones (19″) to each side, kept at a low angle (<10ยบ) towards me.
    The center one is used for main application workspace, applications, etc.
    The right one stores applications floaters (debuggers, profilers, toolbars, layers, properties, brushes, etc) and helpers/tools (font viewers, internet browser, etc).
    The left one is for reading (documentation/reference, opened articles, ebooks, etc), and always has an opened internet browser and file explorer.

    Multiple monitors are mandatory if you work with graphic applications, since they allow you to keep all the floaters handy without cluttering your workspace.
    For programming they're not as helpful, although having the reference opened in a side monitor at all times can be very handy indeed.

    Nevertheless, I try not to get to dependent on them since when I have to travel, all I can count on is my trusty single 15.4" screen laptop.. :)

  2. They’re next to one another, almost in a line, just slightly turned towards me. So, effectively, in front of me is the vertical line where monitors connect. Don’t know the angle, 2-4 degrees maybe.

    Since I use both monitors simultaneously all the time (except gaming hours), turning my head even slightly each time would be crazy.

  3. Jim: hmm, do you need to move your head to see 1st or 2nd screen? do you play games on that setup?

  4. I have two monitors angled about 10 degrees directly in front of me.

  5. I used to have 2 monitors, mostly for debugging full screen games.
    After I discovered that Full Screen is not the holy grail, I got used to working on my game when it’s mostly in window mode.
    I got rid of the second monitor, was taking too much space.

  6. I use a setup of 3×24″ (all 1920×1200/1200×1920 – slightly to the left there’s one display I run in landscape mode used to browse, read/write mails, run emulators etc. And to the right of those I use 2×24″ in portrait mode – the middle one I use for nothing but code and the right one for all kinds of additional docked windows of my editor (i.e. project/file list, output window, search results etc. etc.)

    I never understood why any developer would hesitate to spend a few $100 for displays – I’d call using a debugger one of the core skills of any developer and seriously if you have output windows, callstacks, various watches and of course the current code etc. you simply can’t do this in any kind of effective way with a single display while you’re still running your app/game.
    The only exception could be if you use a 30″ TFT – but I’d still call multiple smaller displays more effective because as soon as you have to debug any issue in fullscreen mode your still lost, even on a huge display.

  7. I’m placing my monitor so that it feels comfortable.
    And when it is comfortable, you don’t notice at all where it is, it just is right and you focus on the content.

  8. I’m also using a 2 monitor setup for my PC. My monitors are set up a little different. The main one is a the one on the left and displays the IDE, messenger and Total Commander. The seconday one is to the right and has the game window that I’m developing, Firefox (youtube, docs) and mail. To the left of the monitors is the Macbook that I’m using for iPhone development. I’m sitting at the desk rotated a little to the left so that I have in my field of view the laptop screen and the main PC monitor. When needed, I rotate my head a little and I see the 2 PC monitors. Now add a lot of toys, magnets, papers, post-it’s, cat pics, a 10″ Kratos, lots of smurfs, a remote controlled car and you can imagine my desk.
    Oh and I also had another CRT monitor (to the right of the 2) that was connected to the SVN server, but I managed to get rid of it (playing with magnets near a CRT is not a good idea…)
    Does it make sense? I’ve just remembered that a picture is worth 1000 words, but I’m too lazy to make one now.

  9. I place the right one slightly turned towards me. The left one if the main screen.
    Try using Ultramon to have 2 taskbars, one for each monitor’s windows, it’s pretty handy

  10. I remember times when I couldn’t understand why people use 2 monitors. In my first professional gamedev job I got 2 monitors to work with. Since then I can’t work on just 1 monitor :). At home I use 2 19″ LCD monitors, my main one is in front of me, and second slightly on the left of it. Left monitor is like an extended desktop, I have menu Start bar on my main monitor only.

  11. At home I’ve got the same setup as you do. At work it’s more or less like 1 big widescreen (well, 1 widescreen and 1 4:3 screen).

    I mainly use the first screen for most stuff. I usually have my email client on the second screen together with Pidgin (messenger) and usually Git GUI as well.

    Depending on what I’m working on I sometimes put the browser on the second screen and my editor in the first. Although moving my mouse to the other screen is more work than using alt+tab to switch… At least it is on a widescreen.

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