How to Setup Dual Monitors?


If you are a very dedicated professional who loves multitasking or a passionate gamer, the thought of having a dual monitor set up must have crossed your mind at least once.

When you work with two monitors instead of one, there is the privilege of not needing to switch between applications often.

You can choose to open different applications on the two monitors to increase your efficiency. Go through this guide to understand how dual monitors can be set up using different options. 

How to Setup Dual Monitors with HDMI?

Using HDMI to set up dual monitors requires your PC to have two HDMI outputs for your monitors to connect. You can make a simple output to input connection where the output from the GPU is connected to the inputs of the external displays.

Connect one end of a standard HDMI cable to the PC’s output and the other to the first monitor’s input. Do the same thing for the second monitor, and Windows will detect both displays. You can change the display settings according to your requirements.  

How to Setup Dual Monitors with Displayport?

With DisplayPort v1.2, you can daisy chain monitors, meaning you can connect the two monitors in a series connection.

  • Ensure that your GPU can support DisplayPort v1.2 MST.
  • Connect both the monitors to a power source.
  • Using a DisplayPort cable, link your PC to DisplayPort In on the first monitor
  • Using another DisplayPort cable, link the DisplayPort Out on your first monitor to the DisplayPort In on the second monitor
  • Now the connections are made, and the monitors are ready to display things after configuring display settings

How to Setup Dual Monitors on MAC or Macbook?

To set up dual monitors on MAC or Macbook, you will need a video cable for each monitor and probably adapters. MAC comes with a Thunderbolt port or Mini DisplayPort. So you can use a Thunderbolt cable or a Displayport cable to connect the MAC to the external displays.

If you are trying to connect MAC to a non-Apple monitor, you will need HDMI cables as the MAC and the monitor come with HDMI ports.

If there is no HDMI port on your latest MAC, an adapter can be used to convert HDMI to Thunderbolt or Mini DisplayPort, whichever is supported. Once the physical connections are made, you can configure the displays.  

How to Setup Dual Monitors on a PC or Laptop?

The first step is to check the graphics card to ensure that it supports multiple monitors. A PC and laptop come with these four ports: DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI, or VGA. Depending on which port is available in your machine and the external monitors, you can choose the cable. Once you use the right cable to connect the monitors to the machine, Windows will detect them. 

When Windows detects more than one screen, each screen will be given a number for easier identification. If after connecting a display, it is not getting detected, go to Start > Settings > System > Display > Multiple Displays > Detect. The displays can be arranged by dragging and dropping them to where you want them.

Changing aspects like layout and screen resolution can be done by going to Settings and selecting System > Display. To change the orientation of the display, go to Display Settings and click Scale & layout to choose the proper Display Orientation.

Setting Up Dual Monitors on Windows 10

Follow the below steps to change the display settings in Windows 10.

  • Right-click on an empty space of the desktop
  • Select Display Settings
  • Come down to the Multiple Displays area and select Duplicate these Displays or Extend these displays

Setting Up Dual Monitors on Windows 11

Follow these steps after the connections are complete.

  • Open Settings
  • Tap System
  • Tap the Display page that appears on the right side
  • Select the monitor that you want to make changes to
  • Select an option in the drop-down menu on the bottom right depending on whether you want duplicate displays or extended displays.

How to Setup Dual Monitors with HDMI Splitter?

An HDMI splitter splits the HDMI video output coming from your PC so that it can be sent to the two monitors connected to the PC. So the HDMI splitter just lets you mirror the video output on the two external displays. The PC’s HDMI port can be connected to one end of the HDMI splitter, which is in turn connected to the monitors using cables to view the same things in both the monitors. 

How to Setup Dual Monitors for Gaming?

Setting up dual monitors for gaming in Windows and MAC is the same as that of the methods explained above. If you have an Nvidia GPU, then the monitors can also be set up using the Nvidia control panel.

  • Right-click on the desktop and select Nvidia Control Panel
  • Select ‘Set up multiple displays’ from the left menu
  • Select the monitors from the list displayed
  • Designate one monitor as the main display and make the order correct
  • Tap Apply

How to Run Dual Monitors with One HDMI Port?

If your PC has only one HDMI port, you can consider using an HDMI splitter with only one cable that needs to be connected to the PC. You can then use two other cables to connect the splitter to each monitor. Other options to run dual monitors with only one HDMI port include using an HDMI adapter and a docking station.   

Read more: How To Run Dual Monitors With One HDMI Port

How Do I Display Different Things on Two Monitors?

Follow these steps to see different things on two monitors running on Windows.

  • Right-click on an empty space of the desktop
  • Select Display Settings
  • Come down to the Multiple Displays area and select Extend these displays option to display different things on the two monitors.

How to Split Screen between Two Monitors?

Professionals mainly split their screen between two monitors to increase the available workspace by expanding the desktop.

  • Click Start > Control Panel > Appearance and Personalization > Adjust Screen Resolution
  • There is a Multiple Displays drop-down menu from which you have to select ‘Extend These Displays’
  • Click OK

Related Questions

Do I need an HDMI splitter or switch for dual monitors?

You will need an HDMI splitter, not a switch for dual monitors.

Can an HDMI splitter be used for dual monitors?

Yes, an HDMI splitter can be used for dual monitors. But the device will only add an extra monitor that displays the same thing as the first monitor. 

What type of splitter do I need for dual monitors?

You will need an HDMI splitter for dual monitors that split the signal from your PC into two monitors.

What is the best HDMI splitter for dual monitors?

Some of the best HDMI splitters for dual monitors are Avedio Links 4K HDMI splitter, OREI HDMI splitter Newcare 4K HDMI switch, and KELIIYO HDMI splitter.

Do HDMI Splitters Work for Dual Monitors?

Yes, an HDMI splitter will work for dual monitors. But the device will only add an extra monitor that displays the same thing as the first monitor. 

Can Thunderbolt support two displays?

Newer laptops have Thunderbolt ports connected to external monitors via Thunderbolt docking station or Thunderbolt adapters if the monitors don’t have Thunderbolt inputs.

How many displays can thunderbolt 3 support?

Thunderbolt 3 can be connected to two 4K monitors, one 5K monitor, or one 4K at 120Hz per port.

What are the benefits of dual monitors gaming?

With dual monitors, it is possible to play games at higher resolutions. If the two monitors have the same specifications, they can be set up as a single display with higher resolution. This makes way for immersive gaming leading to a richer gaming experience.

How to use 2 monitors with the laptop closed?

To use the external monitor alone, you can choose ‘Show only on 2’ option. As a result, your monitor will get the maximum resolution from the laptop, and you can even close the laptop lid while working.

To prevent the laptop from going to sleep, go to Start > Settings > System > Power & Sleep and choose ‘Additional Power Settings.’ Select ‘Choose what closing the lid does’ in the window that opens. In the drop-down, select ‘Do nothing’ for when the laptop is ‘plugged in’ and ‘on battery’. Now you can close the laptop while working and it won’t go to sleep. 

Modern desktops and laptops come with multiple ports, including VGA, DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort, or Thunderbolt, that allow easy connection to external monitors using the respective cables. A dual monitor setup is worth considering if you have not tried it already, for the comfort it offers is huge.

Andy Avery

I really enjoy helping people with their tech problems to make life easier, ​and that’s what I’ve been doing professionally for the past decade.

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