Ways to work with a secondary screen and my experience

Big Monitor Comic
Big Monitor Comic
big monitor comic

I have tried secondary screens for my primary machine all of my life. I have found certain things work better and wanted to share that with you.

First the easiest thing to do is to mirror what is on your primary screen to a secondary and larger screen. For awhile I did this, but I didn’t find it to be helpful. The reason I did this is because during meetings I wanted to focus on the client and not have them see my looking away to a secondary screen. While this is helpful during meetings, it really wastes the second screen and isn’t an efficient way to work.

Then I tried turning off the primary display. In windows I would set the projection mode to Second screen only and then look at the larger second screen only. This had the advantage of saving the screen on the primary display. However if there was a problem like a power outage which happened regularly at my old apartment, I would be stuck until it figured out to display on the primary screen again which takes a few seconds. This may not sound important but if you aren’t paying attention in a meeting, it can be important.

Lately I have been using the secondary screen in front of me, and the primary screen active. It isn’t mirrored however but extended. I can use the primary screen to work but mostly just work on the secondary screen. I simply move over to the right and since my mouse has fast tracking on it, it is easy to do. The advantage of this is that I can have two desktops to work in without having to switch between workspaces. I am not a workspaces kinda guy. I want to see everything in one window and that is why I bought larger screens and now a projector. It is more intuitive to work from one place than to move between several screens.

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What is the downside of this? Well I am using more power for sure by having the primary screen on but I can easily move the Zoom/Teams meeting to the primary screen when I meet with a client. I have to move a little bit more to the right to access the projected screen but I love the large text and find it so helpful to be able to see information so easily. The larger screen has meant that I have scrolled less which means that I can read/consume videos/text faster than I could with smaller screens where I was always scrolling. The projector screen has made me at least twice as efficient. I notice that I rarely have to scroll on a web-page like I used to with smaller screens.

This isn’t about being lazy. I consume lots of information each day with videos/text all sorts of ways. For me the ability to learn is key to my usefulness as an IT person. This projector and secondary screen have improved my efficiency. I really appreciate being able to use them. I don’t think I can go back to an old school 55 inch monitor. Never thought I’d hear myself say that.