Where does the second monitor go?

If you’re running your computer with multiple monitors, where does your secondary one sit: to the left or to the right of your main monitor? Does this have anything to do with handedness?

7 Replies to “Where does the second monitor go?”

  1. For a while I experimented with 2 monitors connected to my main computer. The second monitor could be switched to showing the secondary computer’s image, but I never really got used to it. So I switched back to a one computer-one monitor setup. Maybe one of the reasons I never really got used to it was that I had 2 different screens: one 17″ crt and one 17″ LCD. Looking back and forth between them caused quite a bit of eye strain.

    I tried putting the secondary monitor to the left and to the right and found that, being righthanded (?), I had a natural inclination to looking left of my main screen for more information. This wasn’t doing any good for my rsi, since it meant looking/turning away even further from the keyboard and especially the mouse. YMMV of course.

  2. My main monitor is on the right, and I’m right handed. For extras, it’s natural for me to look to the left.

    But I’m older than you-all, and my eyesight is going. I had a long meeting with a client my own age, in his office, and he had a HUGE monitor, one of Apple’s jazzy flat screens, as his only monitor. He said that with that much space you can crank up the fonts so you can lean back and read stuff without glasses.

    As I lean ever closer to my monitor in an attempt to make out what’s on there, I’m thinking more and more of getting one of these big beauties.

  3. I’ve used multiple monitors for over 15 years – it’s great. I develop software that can, on occasion take over an entire monitor. The ability to do that while running a debugger on a second screen is worth its wieght in gold. Also, I tend to use RDC to access my office machine – having that on one screen, and still be able to use the other is invaluable.

    I usually have my menubar (I’m a Mac user) on the left most screen (the largeest of the two), so that the righthand monitor is secondary. My current machine is a Powerbook, and I have it drive an external 19″ monitor. That monitor is the “main” monitor and sits to left of the PowerBook’s screen.


  4. I think my brain is in conflict with my body. Being right-handed, I think that it’s probably more natural for the second monitor to be on my left. But because I’ve got my desk set up for left-handed mousing, it feels more symmetrical to have the second monitor on the *right*.

    I’m still very much used to using only one monitor, though. I find that I can usually Alt-Tab to the application I need just as quickly as I can move the pointer and my attention over to the second screen. Hmm. I’m not losing anything by using the second screen, though, so I’m going to give it a bit more time and see if it grows on me.

  5. I used to have dual monitors at work, and it was fantastic. I was always using the smaller right monitor as just a holding monitor. So the main, and larger, screen was central where all the work went on.

    I would use the right hand monitor just to hold non working windows, but I found this increasingly hard to accomplish. There are so many applications that would not move from the primary display, so that I ended up with only a second monitor for some applications.

    Sounds like you’ve managed to get a lot of this sorted, and I might look back at it again for home.

    Are you using a video card with two ports, or multiple cards? If it’s a single card, is it still quite high end or would you have to think about changing if you’re leaping into Half Life 2 (for example!).

  6. I’m actually using a laptop sitting next to my main monitor on my desk, and making it act as a second display with MaxiVista (http://www.maxivista.com). No fancy graphics cardage needed…just a second PC. Nice if you have one (or a spare laptop) hanging around.

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