Most PCs manage multiple displays that allow, for example, to have the desktop on the first monitor and view an application. This type of display is efficient. How to connect two displays to a computer? What are the required conditions? How to proceed with a Windows PC and a Mac? Here is the guide for a successful installation.
Why add a second screen to your computer?
There may be different reasons for using two screens on the same computer at the same time. Generally, the goal is to have a larger display area, particularly useful for professionals and video game enthusiasts. The multiple displays make it possible, for example, to concentrate on one task while viewing another on the second display. It is also handy for doubling the display’s size and enjoying a deeper view, which is especially useful for gamers. The configuration may vary depending on the needs:
- An original full-size screen and a larger diagonal screen;
- Two screens of the same size to double the display surface;
- An external monitor supplements the screen of a laptop PC.
Another advantage in the choice of dual display lies in the possibility of connecting the PC to a television to view video content or photos in widescreen mode. To do this, the computer must have an HDMI output to obtain a quality rendering.
Thus, most computer models, whether they are Windows or iOS, portable or stationary, can handle the multi-screen function. To this end, they must be equipped with the required connections and the appropriate components for managing the multiple displays.
Make sure the computer has a dedicated graphics card.
How to connect two screens to a computer? Before connecting 2 screens to a PC with an HDMI, VGA, or DVI output, the first thing to do is check whether the computer is equipped or not with a dedicated graphics card. This information can be found in the details of the PC hardware configuration. Indeed, if a dedicated video card is not present, two screens’ simultaneous control may be impossible. The graphics card must be able to support at least two displays and therefore have the appropriate connectors.
Most recent laptops or desktops are all equipped with a graphics card. The power of the latter is essential to guarantee optimal display quality. To get the best possible rendering, it must support at least one display in true high definition or Full HD. The idea being that its two outputs are all in Full HD. On the other hand, the most powerful computers may have not one but two graphics cards. In this case, it is possible to connect the screens to one or the other or do both simultaneously.
Check the connections on the back of a PC
You should then check the connections on the back of the computer. The most recent PCs have an HDMI output in addition to the VGA port. Directly attached to the graphics card, these connectors are located horizontally. If a connector is mounted vertically, it is attached to the PC’s integrated video card, which is generally poorly performing and cannot handle multiple displays.
Check the connections on a Mac.
On a Mac computer, video output can be done through the Thunderbolt, USB-C, DisplayPort, and HDMI connectors. These are on the side if it’s a MacBook and on the back for a Mac mini or iMac. One of the advantages enjoyed by the user of an Apple computer is the increased connection possibilities. Indeed, one or the other of the above connectors can be used to connect one or even two additional screens.
Gather the necessary materials and accessories
To connect two screens simultaneously to a computer, you must first equip yourself with the required equipment:
- One or two additional screens to connect 2 screens to a laptop or desktop PC;
- Two cables to connect the screens to the computer, either two HDMI, or one HDMI and one VGA or one DVI;
- A Thunderbolt to VGA or HDMI adapter cable, DisplayPort to VGA or HDMI, or USB-C to VGA or HDMI for the case of a Mac PC.
The screen definition should match that of the computer video output. It is therefore advisable to choose only screens offering the highest possible resolution. For PCs with the ultra high definition graphics card, generally implemented to run video games, it is advisable to take a 4K screen. Consequently, the cables must also be adapted. If the screen and the computer have the same types of connectors, it is recommended to use cables with the same characteristics, which will be cheaper to purchase.
Make the connections
Once all the elements are in place, the next step is to make the connections.
- Locate the connectors located on the computer and those on the screens;
- Connect the ends of the cables to the connectors of the pc and those of the screens;
- Connect the mains cable of the recently connected display (s).
Set up the display to use both displays on a Windows PC
The setup is an essential step in connecting two screens to a laptop or desktop PC, whether running Windows or iOS. Although the computer automatically detects the two displays, certain actions must be taken, in particular, to choose the desired display configuration. To access the settings:
- Click on “parameters”;
- Then look for the “system” tab and click on it;
- Access the “display” tab, then choose “multiple displays” or “multiple displays”;
- Once the type of display has been chosen, validate by clicking on “apply.”
Several possibilities are offered to the user according to preferences:
- Extension of the display on the two screens to obtain more space for the desk;
- Duplication of the display on the two screens;
- Desktop display on either of the two screens.
The main screen can be configured without taking the other display into account. This is mainly the choice of resolution or definition. Other adjustment options may be available, particularly the orientation, which may be either of the “portrait” type or of the “landscape” type, which is the normal orientation. Portrait mode is useful for viewing a document, text, or the pages of a book. It is also possible to define the first or the second screen as the main display according to preferences.
Set up multiple displays on a Mac PC
To know how to connect two displays to a Mac computer, here properly are the configuration steps:
- Click on the Apple menu, then on “system preferences”;
- Then click on the “monitor” tab, then on “layout”;
- To extend the desktop, you have to drag the menu bar to the second screen or simply uncheck the box corresponding to the “video mirroring” option;
- Exit the System Preferences tab, to automatically save the settings made.
The multiple connectors present on Mac computers also allow you to connect up to two additional screens. Indeed, certain models of MacBook, but also the iMac and the Mac mini, can diffuse the video signals as well via the Thunderbolt and USB-C sockets as through the DisplayPort and the HDMI socket.