Smart & Connected Life Working From Home 20 20 people found this article helpful Why You Need a Second Monitor for Your Office by Melanie Pinola Writer Former Lifewire writer Melanie Pinola has 5+ years' experience writing about consumer-oriented technology and is an expert telecommuter. our editorial process Melanie Pinola Updated on April 08, 2020 The Ultimate Guide to Monitors The Ultimate Guide to Monitors Introduction Monitor Basics All About HD PC Monitors TVs vs. Monitors CRT vs. LCD Monitors Learn About Refresh Rates 3D Computer Displays CRT Monitor Resolution Specifications Why You Need a Second Monitor Add or Connect a Monitor Is Having More Than One Display Useful? Add a Second Monitor to Your Windows Laptop How to Connect Your Computer to Your TV You Can Use Your Old iMac as a Monitor How to Use Your iPad as a Second Monitor Calibrate It Yourself Why Monitor Calibration Is Essential Adjusting a Monitor's Settings Why Printer Colors Don't Match Monitor Colors Color Gamuts on LCD Monitors Troubleshooting Issues Testing a Monitor That Isn't Working Fix a Second Monitor Not Working Checking for Loose Power Cables How to Degauss a Traditional CRT Monitor Can Burn-In Happen to LCD Monitors? How to Change Refresh Rate in Windows Our Recommendations: Best Monitors The Best Computer Monitors The Best 4K Monitors The Best 27-Inch LCD Monitors The Best 24-Inch LCD Monitors The Best 32-Inch Monitors The Best USB-C Monitors The Best Monitors for Coding The Best Curved Monitors The Best 5K & 8K Computer Monitors The Best Touchscreen Monitors The Best Ultra-Wide Monitors Tweet Share Email Buying a second monitor may provide the best return on investment in terms of productivity and general computing comfort. The expanded desktop real estate is great for work activities, like comparing documents, writing emails or articles while referring to online research, and general multi-tasking. A second monitor can help you gain up to 50% in productivity and be happier while computing. Improving Productivity Microsoft's Research Center's findings indicate that users can improve productivity by 9% to 50% by adding another monitor to their computing environment (depending on the type of task). Other studies cited in the New York Times suggest 20 to 30 percent productivity boosts. Thomas Barwick / Getty Images Whatever the actual percent productivity increase, adding a second monitor may provide the most productivity "bang for your buck:" you can get more done in less time for a relatively small investment (several recommended 22" monitors are $200 or less). Not to mention that working with a larger display area just makes working on the computer more comfortable. Productivity tipsters at Lifehacker have long espoused a multi-monitor setup. In their "Upgrade Your Life" book, they compare having a second monitor to a chef doubling his/her kitchen countertop space. More room and workspace mean greater working comfort, which directly translates to better productivity. In fact, the only downside to adding another monitor may be for laptop users: you may find yourself more reluctant to undock your computer after experiencing that multi-monitor goodness. Two Monitors Are Better Than One With a second (or third or more) monitor you can: Switch between applications more quickly — Instead of using keyboard shortcuts, like ALT + TAB to multitask, just point your mouse to the other screen and save a lot of time.Segment your working tasks, as Bill Gates does, with one screen collecting the stream of incoming information, another focused on what you have to do at the moment, and possibly another for additional task needs.View documents side-by-side for comparison, research, or cutting-and-pasting. Since some monitors allow you to rotate the screen to "portrait" view you can dedicate one side for reading or reference material and the other for your working document. How to Add an Additional Monitor Trust us, you won't regret adding a second monitor, and it's pretty easy to add a second monitor on desktop PCs. It's even easier on laptops that have a DVI or VGA connector — just plug the external monitor into that port. For the ultimate in convenience, you can also get a USB dock with video support to make expanding your screen real estate dead simple. With a docking station with video support, you can even get a 3-screen setup pretty easily: your laptop screen, the external monitor connected to the USB docking station, and a third monitor connected to your laptop's VGA or DVI monitor port. A Peripheral You Can't Live Without Ask anyone who has more than one computer display and they'll tell you that the additional monitor — external monitor, for laptop users — is the one computer peripheral they would not give up. Just ask Bill Gates. In a Forbes interview where Bill Gates reveals how he works, Gates describes his three-monitor setup: the screen on the left is dedicated to his email list (in Outlook, no doubt), the center is devoted to whatever he is working on (usually an email), and on the right he keeps his browser. He says, "Once you have that large display area, you'll never go back because it has a direct impact on productivity."