Working with multiple monitors
This document discusses setting up a computer with multiple monitors.
Document 6010 | Last updated: 11/08/2021 SPB
Below is an overview of the available options for setting up a multi-montior environment. It's intended to help you to determine whether or not your computer supports additional screens, what to do if it doesn't, and offers step‑by‑step instructions on getting everything set up. Please keep in mind that a la mode technicians can't assist you over the phone with hardware issues. These are only guidelines.
The four most common video output ports are VGA (Video Graphics Array), DVI (Digital Visual Interface), HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface), and DisplayPort (a proprietary video port available on newer computers).
There are other video output types that are available as well, such as Component Video, S‑Video and Composite Video (RCA), but these technologies are less common, and in most cases do not offer the resolution needed for visual clarity, so they shouldn't be used with TOTAL to write appraisal reports.
Instead, this document describes the 3 most popular output types: VGA, DVI, and HDMI.
To find out if your computer already supports adding an additional monitor, just look at the available ports on your PC or Laptop:
|For PC's, available ports are often found on the front and back. Follow the cable connected to your current monitor and locate where it connects to your PC. If your computer supports an additional monitor, any additional ports are typically located near the port you are currently using.
|Laptops have ports on the front, sides, or back. Most modern laptops have at least one port for an external monitor, and in many cases there are more than one. If your laptop came with a docking station, it's best to use the ports on the docking station.
Notice in the PC and laptop images both machines offer more than one output. If your machine is capable of running dual monitors, you may see a variety of combinations.
Certain PC models support dual monitors running from a single port using a Y‑splitter cable connected to a dual DVI port. This is a specialty port and is only available with certain video cards and certain PC models. If you're not sure if you have this type of port, consult your computer's manual, the PC manufacturer, or the manufacturer of your video card.
Keep in mind that when you are looking at the available ports on your computer, it is easy to mistake a serial port for a VGA port. The shape of both ports is very similar, but if you look closely the serial port only uses 9 pins (9 holes), whereas a VGA port uses 15 pins (alternating rows of 5 holes). It is important to be able to tell the difference because serial ports DO NOT produce a video signal, and can't be used to connect an additional monitor.
If you find that the port on your computer doesn't match the port on your monitor or TV, you don't have an additional port, or your computer doesn't support additional monitors, don't fret. There are many inexpensive ways to upgrade your computer to use additional monitors.
Buy an adapter. Adapters are very inexpensive. A quick Google search finds a DVI to VGA adapter for as little as $5, and allows you to connect a spare monitor (or even an HDTV!) that was not being previously used.
Buy a new video card. You have the option of buying an internal video card, or an external video card:
Adding an internal video card is the preferred method for most people when upgrading their computer, and is the option used most by professionals.
Once you have secured an additional port for your monitor, you're now ready to set everything up!
Once you have located or installed an additional port, you're now ready to connect and configure your monitors:
Since your appraisal reports are in portrait orientation, you can boost your productivity by rotating your monitor to match. Rotating your monitor is an easy way to view an entire page of your report without having to constantly scroll up and down to see the information you need.
If your monitors support being rotated into a portrait orientation, follow the directions below to try it out.