While there’s a lot to be said for replacing your existing monitor with a larger one, adding a second screen may actually prove to be more useful. There are a number of advantages to setting up a dual display system, the first of which is that it is considerably cheaper than buying a supersized screen.
Getting setup up is a simple matter of plugging in your two monitors, but you’ll quickly find that Windows offers very few options for controlling the way your display. DisplayFusion, on the other hand, provides you with a raft of tools that makes a multi-monitor system even more helpful and easy to use.
One of the great things about working with more than one monitor is that it enables you to more easily view two or more program simultaneously. Rather than having to constantly switch between windows, you can have your web browser open on one screen, and other app open on the other.
Getting Set Up
You can download yourself a free copy of DisplayFusion from the program web site. Run through the installation in the usual way and then select the option to launch the program before clicking Finish. Click Next to work through the welcome screen and then click the Configure DisplayFusion button to the lower left.
Click the Options button to the left of the window and then click the Monitor Configuration button to the right. The window that appears show you a visual representation of your two monitors, and you can drag and drop the two desktop previews to reflect the actual position of your screens on your desk – it is important to get things lined up correctly so your cursor will flow from one screen to the other. Click OK when you’re done.
Head to the Functions section of the Settings dialog and you can configure a huge number of keyboard shortcuts that make it easier to work with programs and windows you have open. You might want to spend a little time working through the list of options that are available here – although you should note that some are only available in the Pro version – but there are a number of shortcuts that are going to be useful to most people.
With two monitors, one of the most common things you’ll want to do is to move apps from one to the other. Dragging and dropping can be irritating slow, but here you can define your own shortcut that will move windows in a trice. Double click the Move Windows to Next Monitor entry, click the modifier keys you’d like to use in the shortcut (Shift, Ctrl, Windows and Alt) and then press the key that should activate the action before clicking OK. There are numerous other handy shortcuts for moving windows around that you may want to customize.
By now you may already have noticed that program and window titlebars have a new button in them to the left of the existing minimize, maximize and close button. This is a shortcut that can also be used to move the current window to the next monitor.
AeroSnap is a feature of Windows that help you to maximize and tile windows by dragging them to the edges of the screen. DisplayFusion’s Windows Snapping feature is a slight twist on this. Click the Windows Snapping button to the left and make sure that the feature is enabled by ticking the box.
You can use the bottom settings to specify a border around your desktop, and when a window is dragged into this region it will snap into place – unless you have a customizable override key pressed, that is.
Beautify Your Desktop
One more thing that you might want to adjust is you desktop wallpaper. Windows only allows you to choose between using a background image, or a background color, and the same will be used on both displays. DisplayFusion, however, provides you with additional options.
Click the left hand Options button and then click Desktop Wallpaper to the right. You can then choose between having one picture spanning both monitors, using the same on each, or making each desktop unique – it’s entirely up to you.
Free Or Paid For?
There are free and paid-for versions of DisplayFusion available, and while the free edition lacks most of the features of the Pro varieties, there’s still plenty to play with – and you might be enticed into buying the full version. Initially you’ll be able to use all of the Pro features, but after 30 days you’ll revert to the more limited free version unless you buy a licence.
You’d rather not be tempted by features you are not really intending to buy, you can ‘downgrade’ to the free edition of Display Fusion at any time. Open up the main configuration screen and click the License Key tab to the left of the window. If you have applied for a free Pro trial key, clear the information in the License Key box and then click Apply, otherwise just click the Change to Free Version button.
It’s hard to describe just how much of a productivity boost can be gained from using two monitors – it’s something you really do have to experience. DisplayFusion is a simple way to take things to the next levels, making the extra desktop space even easier to work with.