Copywriter, technical writer, translator (FR>EN, ES>EN, IT>EN), journalist

The case for a second monitor

Back in 2006, I interviewed a fellow who used a big widescreen TV as his computer monitor. How big? Picture a typical executive’s desk, then imagine not being able to see the executive unless you stood at the side of the desk.

I remember thinking “Wow! Cool!” Yes, I wanted one. Why? I commonly have two, three or more programs open at the same time, and it would be handy to see them all, without one window covering up another.

Today, desktop computers tend to ship with 22” or larger monitors, often widescreen (16:9 aspect ratio instead of 4:3). I bought a 24” ViewSonic to use with my MacBook, especially because it fits more of my Freemind mind maps, which I use for brainstorming.

How you can use this tip

Flat-panel LCD monitors have come down in price to the point that people can affordably set up better workstations in several ways.

  • Own a netbook or smallish notebook and hate the small screen? Hook up an external monitor and stop squinting!
  • Consider using an external mouse and keyboard so that you can place the notebook screen beside the larger screen and use both screens side by side while you work.
  • Do lots of photo or video editing? Consider getting an extra monitor or two – the pros do it.

Know of other uses for a second monitor? Add them to the comments.

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