Dual Monitors Increase Productivity by up to 30%

Posted on 22nd April, 2006


There’s an article published by The New York Times about the advantage of having a second monitor. According to a study, adding an extra monitor will give your output a considerable boost – 20 percent to 30 percent.

I couldn’t agree more although the exact percentage increase will depend on the individual.

I have two 17 inch LCDs placed side by side like that in the picture. The reason why I thought I needed this setup initially was, as a Visual Basic (VB) programmer, I needed a way to have my reference materials and the Visual Basic IDE (Integrated Development Environment) windows visible and maximised simultaneously.

A single monitor wouldn’t allow me to do that. I could switch between applications with a mouse click but that’s just not convenience and delayed my progress one click at a time. If I were running several applications simultaneously, that delay could add up. My dual monitor setup has made this problem a thing of the past for me.

One might suggest that instead of getting two monitors, why not getting one that’s bigger? Here’s the answer:

Further, a pair of smaller screens will usually cost less than a single big one. While a 24-inch Dell “wide aspect” screen is now about $1,000, a pair of 19-inch Dells could cost as little as $550 — about half that if you already had one 19-inch monitor, and even less if you found one of the many bargains available in displays that size. If you are willing to use a smaller monitor for your second display, you can save even more; 17-inch flat-panel monitors, for example, are often less than $200 each.

On top of that, you actually have more screen real estate with a dual monitor setup. As an example two 17 inch LCDs give you 2 x 1280 x 1024 or 2560 x 1024 resolutions. This will cost you about RM1600.

In contrast, a single 24 windscreen LCD will cost you about RM3500 and you only get 1920 x 1200 maximum resolutions!

I feel that by having two monitors, my applications are easier to manage. As an example, when working with two applications with one monitor, I’ll have to resize each application so that each will occupy half of the screen.

With two monitors, I can simply maximize one application to occupy one monitor while the other app resides on the other monitor. Copy and paste operations become more fun too as you eliminate the intermediate click when switching between two windows.

Anyway if you are using dual monitors, and wanted to do any of the followings, you might want to check out Ultramon. It helps you to:

  • Move windows and maximize windows across the two desktop
  • Extend your taskbar onto the second monitor
  • Extend wallpapers and screen savers
  • Mirror your main monitor to secondary monitors for a presentation

Here’s another article about dual monitor from Microsoft Research if you are interested

Two Screens Are Better Than One

Dual monitors have improved my productivity and I crave for even more now. I’m looking forward to increase my screen real estate by upgrading to dual 19 (perhaps dual 21 inch?) inch LCDs in the near future.

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  • LcF says:

    *nods* *nods*
    I couldn’t agree more, too. Switching between apps is time wasting.

  • green says:

    I have 20 inch lcd and 17 inch flat, and its good to use both monitors while working with virtual machines, but it keeps whole room (my room is very small)

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