How can you connect 2 monitors together, like when extending your display for your PC desktop wallpaper or duplicating your PC screen onto an HDTV screen? Keep on reading to find out how to go about this task.
When working with various applications like a movie or photo editor app as well as music makers and whatnot, it’s common for users to feel limited by the size of their screen. They’ll have to scroll endlessly from right to left or zoom out in order to see what they’re working with.
You can get over this hump by connecting 2 monitors for a dual display. Learn how to connect 2 monitors by reading about it below.
How to Connect 2 Monitors Together
Connecting 2 monitors together can be done in 3 ways. You can connect them using cables then set them up with the proper software or display settings on your operating system of choice. Or you can use a docking station to accomplish the same task.
There’s also the option of using a casting device like Chromecast, but with the caveat that you’re going to have duplicated or mirrored monitors instead of an extended display used by movie editors and graphic artists. In any case, let’s discuss them one by one.
Setup Dual Monitors Using a Docking Station
Long story short, this is hardware made specifically to ensure the dual display is easy to accomplish by plug and play means. Then again, a docking station is simple a means of connecting everything in one hub, including your extra monitors.
- The Dock is Designed to Support Dual Monitors: Simply plug, say, your laptop or desktop and the monitors to the docking station. After you connect the station to the PC, you can mirror the display, extend your desktop, or switch one screen off and use the other monitor instead.
- Go to Display Settings Still: You will still need to go to your “Display Settings” by right-clicking your desktop wallpaper then selecting it from the menu. You’ll then see two monitor icons available that you can select, arrange, or extend your display with.
- Use Shortcuts to Access Settings: Some laptop or PC keyboards might designate a function key like F9 or F10 to allow you to automatically toggle between these display options without going to “Settings” or “System Preferences”.
Connect Dual Monitors Using Cables
Before connecting your monitors using cables, do the following first.
- Determine the Type of Output Port: Most laptops, PCs, and PC monitors will have the VGA connector (available since 1987), but newer ones are likely to have HDMI (available since 2002) instead. There are other ports of note as well, all of which are discussed below.
- HDMI: Looks like a flat, hexagonal port.
- DisplayPort: Looks like a rectangular port with a crimped side.
- USB-A: Rectangular port usually used in tandem with USB-C devices.
- USB-C: Appears like a thin, rounded oval port like the one on your smartphone.
- VGA: Looks like a colored trapezoid with loads of pinholes. Its connector thusly has loads of pins and even includes screws.
- Buy the Right Cable: Buy the right cable for HDMI or VGA (or others) to connect your two monitors together. Plug one end of the cable to your PC’s output port (the primary display). Afterwards, plug the other end into the other monitor (the secondary display).
- Turn on Your PC and Primary Monitor: Turn on your PC and primary monitor to be able to configure your secondary monitor. Go to you display settings. It will vary whether you’re using a Windows machine or a Mac OS PC from Apple.
- For Windows: Click on “Settings”, then “System”, and then “Display”.
- For Mac OS: Open your Apple Menu and select “System Preferences”. Navigate through “Display” then “Arrangement”.
On either machine, scroll down and click the drop-down box for “Multiple Displays”.
- Select a Display Option: You’ll have loads of display options to choose from when working with a dual monitor setup. Click one of the following options depending on your preferences and needs.
- Duplicate/Mirror These Displays: Whatever that’s on your PC’s primary display will be copied, duplicated, or mirrored on the second monitor.
- Extend These Displays/Extended Display: The secondary monitor acts as an extension of the primary monitor. This is helpful for programs with loads of horizontal scrolling space for their menus.
- Show Only on 1/Primary Monitor Only: It blacks out the secondary monitor and only shows the primary monitor’s content.
- Show Only on 2/Secondary Monitor Only: It blacks out your primary monitor and only shows the content of your secondary monitor.
Setup Dual Monitors Using a Casting Device
You can use casting devices like Chromecast or Miracast in order to streamcast or duplicate one display screen on another monitor without connecting them together by cable or adapter. To be more specific, here’s how you cast using Chromecast:
- Click the Chromecast Icon: Click on the Chromecast icon (looks like a monitor with Wi-Fi waves on the side) at your Google Chrome’s top-right corner to be able to cast your entire desktop. You can also cast a Chrome tab or a video file.
- Go to the Three Dots Icon: Go to the settings or three dots icon then click the “Cast” option. Click “Sources” just below the “Displays” option. Afterwards, click “Cast Desktop” then click the screen you want to do the casting. You can specify if you want to cast audio as well.
- The Secondary Screen: You need to have your Chromecast receiver connected to the other monitor, HDTV, or even projector in order for your Chromecast transmitter to work. Or it could be a smart TV that uses the Chromecast app and has a built-in Chromecast.
- Finishing Up: Select your preferred options for casting (the whole desktop, one tab, or one file (usually video) then save your settings by clicking “Share”. You’re now good to go with a duplicated or mirrored display of your primary monitor.
Can you connect two monitors directly together?
It is possible to chain together monitors with different display resolutions. For example, one 2560 x 1600 monitor could be used with two 1920 x 1080 monitors.
Can you connect 2 monitors via HDMI?
To connect two monitors, connect one end of the HDMI splitter to the computer or laptop’s HDMI output port. Now, use another HDMI cable. Connect one end of this cable to the HDMI splitter’s input port and another end to the computer or laptop’s HDMI port.
What cables do I need to connect 2 monitors?
The monitors may come with VGA or DVI cables but the HDMI is the standard connection for most office dual monitor setups. The VGA can work easily with a laptop to monitor connection, especially with a Mac.
Can I use HDMI splitter for dual monitors?
An HDMI splitter takes an HDMI video output from a device, like a Roku, and splits it into two separate audio and video streams. Once split, you can then send video to two separate monitors from a single source.
How do I connect 2 monitors to my laptop with one HDMI?
Use a switch splitter, such as a Display splitter to have two HDMI ports. This works if you have only one HDMI port on your laptop but you need two HDMI ports. Use a docking station, and it works in various circumstances.
How do I get dual monitors to work separately?
- Right click on an empty area of the desktop.
- Choose Display Settings.
- Scroll Down to the Multiple displays area and select select Duplicate these displays or Extend these displays.
Do I need 2 HDMI ports for 2 monitors?
Sometimes you have only one HDMI port on your computer (typically on a laptop), but need two ports so that you can connect 2 external monitors. In this case: You can use a ‘switch splitter’ or ‘display splitter’ to have two HDMI ports.
How do I set up daisy chain monitors?
Here’s how to set up a daisy-chain using DisplayPort.
- Verify that your GPU can support DisplayPort v1.2 MST (if not, download a driver)
- Plug each of your monitors into a power source and make sure all power cables are securely connected.
- Use a DisplayPort cable to connect your computer to DisplayPort In on Monitor 1.
What type of splitter do I need for dual monitors?
If you want to display content through multiple displays or multiple TVs, then a splitter with multiple inputs is recommended. If you’re looking to display through double displays, then a 1×2 splitter is a great option.
How do I add a second screen to my laptop?
What to Know
- Connect your monitor and PC using an HDMI cable (use VGA and DVI on older computers).
- Windows 10: Go to Settings > System > Display > Detect > Identity to enable and configure the monitor.
- Under Display > Multiple Displays, choose how you want the second monitor to display.
Does a HDMI splitter work?
HDMI Splitters do not automatically reduce quality because they are copying a digital signal. But using lower quality hardware or a non-powered HDMI Splitter is less of a guarantee. Splitters used with very long HDMI cables may have signal quality issues due to the cable length.
Why is my 2nd monitor not displaying?
Turn off then turn on the computer to refresh the connection. Use the monitor’s built-in controls and select the correct input port. Check the signal cable connection between the monitor and the PC’s graphics card. Disconnect the signal cable from both ends, wait about a minute, and reconnect it again firmly.
How do I change monitor 1 to monitor 2?
Set the Primary and Secondary Monitor
- Right-click on your desktop and select “Display”.
- From the display, select the monitor you wish to be your main display.
- Check the box that says “Make this my main display.” The other monitor will automatically become the secondary display.
- When finished, click [Apply].
The Final Verdict
You’ve probably seen it before—a gamer or a graphic artist has extended their monitor to allow for dual monitors to showcase their movie editing or photo shop software with a bigger display. They can even watch widescreen movies in a truly extra-big 4K Ultra HD widescreen.
They might not like working with multiple windows in order to do patchwork edits on their video or their image. Or they might love watching movies with screens rivaling that of an expensive HDTV. Whichever the case, you now know how to do dual screens too!
- “How to Connect Two Monitors?” GeeksforGeeks.org, June 17, 2020
- Andy Waryck, “What Are the Advantages & Disadvantages of Using Multiple Monitors on One Computer?“, SmallBusiness.Chron.com, Retrieved April 30, 2022