Linking laptops to multiple screens can greatly enhance the productivity especially of people who work in the editing or gaming industry. These days many people consider the process of multitasking on a single screen to be extremely restrictive and hence unproductive. While a dual-monitor setup is already commonplace many professionals prefer to work with multiple monitors to execute their tasks effortlessly. In today’s blog we will take you through an in-depth guide about connecting laptops to multiple screens.
The process of linking laptops to multiple screens
To begin with, before buying your extra monitors, the first thing you need to do is test the graphic power of your laptop. The graphics card of your laptop needs to support multiple monitors. Most graphic cards come with a minimum of two outputs. However, You should check your graphic cards properties by visiting the website of the manufacturer and find out if its specifications and check if it supports the addition of multiple external monitors.
Secondly, you need to check your laptop’s ports. To connect your laptop to external ports it should include any of the following ports:
– VGA or Video Graphics Array
– DVI or Digital Video Interface
– HDMI or High Definition Multimedia Interface
Additionally, your external monitors should also come with the corresponding ports or else you’d need to get a DVI or HDMI adapter to match those ports. In case your laptop has one HDMI port you can always buy a Display Splitter and you will have two HDMI ports.
Now that you have checked your laptop ports let us get to the crux of the topic viz connecting more than one monitor to your laptop.
Steps to linking laptop to multiple screens:
Before anything else, ensure that your laptop is turned on while the monitors are being connected. Usually Windows can detect whenever you plug in a new monitor.
Ø Connect the cable of the first external screen to the corresponding video port on the laptop. In other words, you need to connect the VGA cable of the 1st monitor into the VGA port of your laptop.
Ø Now the cable of your second external screen needs to be linked to the corresponding port on the laptop. Therefore, you need to plug the HDMI cable of your second external screen to the HDMI port of your laptop.
Ø In the next step you need to right click on your laptop and then click on Display Settings (provided you are using Windows 10).
Ø Now you will be able to view a screen that enables you to configure the options for more than one external monitor in Windows. Simply put, Display 1 is your laptop’s monitor, Display 2 and 3 are for the external screens.
Ø Next you need to hit Display 2 and then under Multiple Displays you need to choose Extend desktop to this display. Don’t forget to hit Apply.
Ø In the next step you need to hit the Display 3 and under Multiple Display choose Extend desktop to this display. Lastly click Apply.
Ø Now hit the OK button to save your settings and you are all set to use three different screens simultaneously.
You have the option of clicking and dragging Display 1, 2 or 3 so as to rearrange your screens. Additionally, you also have the option of altering the display resolution, the size of the items and even the orientation.
What to do if you cannot see the plugged-in screens?
At times the laptop is unable to detect the external screens. The major reasons behind this are faulty cables, defective monitors or flawed connection. So you need to make sure that all the cables are properly connected and if possible you can do a test with an alternative cable + monitor. In case it’s still not functioning then chances are high that your graphics card driver is unable to support multiple screen displays. In such a situation what you need to do is a driver update.
You can either update the driver manually or automatically.
Automatic driver update:
Download a software like Driver Easy that is capable of detecting and downloading the outdated drivers on your laptop. This is the easiest way of updating your drivers with a few clicks of the mouse.
Manual driver update:
For manually updating the driver you need to start by searching for the right driver in accordance with your Windows OS by visiting the manufacturer’s website. Now install this driver on your laptop.
Bonus tips for linking laptops to multiple screens
In case your laptop is of the latest model then making use of Thunderbolt 3 can be of great help. It uses a USB Type C connector standard and you will be able to handle audio, video, power and data transmission all with a single cable. Having one of these cables will also allow you to declutter your desk and make the task easy for you.
However, if you are using an older laptop then a Display Splitter Box will come in handy. For laptops which are not compatible with UBC C then you can still connect the external monitors with the VGA, DVI, HDMI or Display port. Since most laptops usually have just one video output option, it is advisable to invest in a 3rd party solution that makes use of a single video cable for output to more than one screen.
If you don’t like any of the above options then consider buying a basic USB adapter. If multi-port docking stations are leaving you confused then this is a cheap and effective option. This is the easiest way to obtain video output on every Windows or Mac machine. Some of its greatest advantages are their affordability, and portability. Moreover they are expandable meaning that technically you will be able to add as many screens as the number of USB ports.
Yet another popular tool for linking laptops to multiple screens is the use of docking stations. This will provide you with as many additional ports that you might require.