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Dual Monitors - Less Paper Journey

Dual Monitors - Less Paper Journey

I am very nearly there with my paperless (less paper) journey. The final step is looking into dual monitors. I use a lap top with 18.4" screen.  

I would be grateful for any comments/advise on the usefulness of dual monitors with less paper way of working. How suitable would this be with working with a massive laptop? Any recommendations on reasonably priced monitors? Is it practical to work with dual monitors?



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04th Jul 2010 13:36

I like

I use two 32" monitors and it cuts down on a lot of paper.

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04th Jul 2010 13:48


I would first ditch the laptop.  They are totally unsuitable for use as a primary computer as they are not designed to run for 8 hours at a time and run far too hot, leading to early component failure.

And why would you need two monitors, with a decent desktop running Windows 7 and a good size monitor the Window 7 "snap" is perfect for sitting 2 documents side by side.

Far better to spend more money on one good monitor, than spend it on 2 cheaper ones.

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04th Jul 2010 14:43

I looked into one large monitor

Windows Snap doesn't work with all programs.

You'd need one huge monitor (70") to enjoy the functionality you get with two 32" monitors.

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04th Jul 2010 15:17

Examples ?

You'd need a hell of a big desk to fit them on too.  I would have thought that 2 monitors left you with no deskspace - where would I put my coffee, my ash tray, and all the general rubbish that accumulates on desks no matter what you do. 

Much more importantly, where would the cat sleep ?   He decided he likes being on my desk when I'm working, and that a mouse mat is ideal to lay on.   

I've yet to encounter a programme that snap doesnt work with.    Examples ?


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04th Jul 2010 16:20

If you build an extension to your house everything is how you wa

I have a big desk. I also went to Ikea and found something like a landing shelf that was exactly the same width and depth to take two 32" monitors side by side. It was also the same width as my desk. So I put it behind my desk and put my two monitors on it. I put my coffee and a small calendar on a table at the side of my desk. I don't smoke. I put anything else nearby on a series of two drawer cabinets which also have placed on top of them a phone, computer, UPS, network hard drive, printer, fax, fridge, scanner and photocopier.

My favourite cat does like to rest his head on my mouse mat but he prefers to rest his head on my mouse when my hand is over the mouse. He also likes to lay on the landing shelf and press against the monitors.

I believe Chrome doesn't work with Windows 7 Snap although I still use Vista. Chrome doesn't work with UltraMon - which is what I use to expand, minimise and switch windows across monitors.

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04th Jul 2010 18:24



I don't use Chrome so I wouldnt know. Ive never had any problems using snap with explorer/Google or with any Office modules, and it seems to work with Photoshop too.

I'm certainly not extending the house.  I bought the one next door 30 years ago and turned it into offices. That has been extended at the back, but I'm keeping my old office with its bay window, high ceilings, and convenient side door which is about 10 steps from it's brother in my house.  I do hate the daily commute :).

What is it with cats and mouse mats?  Maybe its their way of getting your attention.  I had to get one of those thick foam ones to attract mine to lay on it, leaving my mouse cat-free to use.



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04th Jul 2010 20:13

Coffee cup

Most computers these days come with a thoughtfully designed coffee cup tray.  You just press a little button on the front of the main box thingy and a coffee cup holder comes gliding out!! ;-)

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04th Jul 2010 22:45

Slide out coffee cup holders

Have they stopped fitting those things to cars - or is it just that I havent found it yet in mine ?


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By paul.k2
05th Jul 2010 10:40


I have a dual monitor setup on my desktop PC.

I don't use the second monitor very often, but I would not be without it. For conveniece alone it is worth the expense.

I use two Dells, a 19" and a 20".

Deskspace is not an issue for me, so I don't need a monitor arm.

Are you sure your laptop video output will support two different images. I think it is a fairly standard laptop feature these days, but I wouldn't assume it.


Paul Kelly




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By fpurves
07th Jul 2010 12:52

Love my dual monitors

Personally I could not live without my dual monitors, and if I could I would have 3. ( there is almost enough space on my desk )

The time saving alone when having a conversation with clients where you can have an e-mail they sent and accounts data on the other is priceless.

I have tried one large one, but found that I spent more time " wiggling" the sheets around on the screen to get them the right size.  With dual monitors you can easily use the minimize and maximize functions in programs.



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07th Jul 2010 14:07

Bill Gates has three:

working on


web sites

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07th Jul 2010 18:14


I wonder if I should have a second monitor with maybe an aquarium on it - it might stop this damn cat sticking its nose on mine and trying to catch my curser.

He's a lovely cat, but not the brainiest.

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08th Jul 2010 12:20

Twin monitors

I have used them for 7 years and would not be without them.

All you need is a screen card with dual ouput or a usb connector if you continue to use your laptop, which I dont recommend.

Make sure all your staff have them too.

I am thinkking of going to three monitors - Matrox do a screen card.

The benefits outweigh the costs by a massive margin.





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08th Jul 2010 12:35


I initially thought I'd never really benefit from having more than one monitor.

Now I find it a pain to work on a PC with a single monitor. My advice would be to use a PC rather than a laptop for this and to try and get identical monitors. I currently use 3 x 22" monitors. The only difficulty I have found its that windows mesh ( does not work well with multiple monitors should you need to connect from a remote location back to your PC via the internet.

Go for it!



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By nigel
08th Jul 2010 12:48

Laptop plus monitor works for me

We have updated most of our staff with laptops to enable them to work off site, so it was easy enough just to keep their old monitors too to use side by side. This works perfectly in my experience. I have a Dell Latitude running Windows 7.

We also have some people with desktop PCs and fairly large single monitors, they seem happy enough using split screens but I prefer two actual monitors. Either way it's essential if you use any sort of paperless system.

Incidentally, duel screens is very last year. At the last 2020 conference I went to they showed pics of some US firms with quad monitor displays! Looked like NASA or a TV control room.

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By spuddle
08th Jul 2010 13:10

Dual monitors

I have used a second monitor for a couple of months and wouldn't be without it now.  When using multiple applications it is mush easier to copy/transfer data from one to the other using the separate screens.   Unfortunately when I bought my new desktop last August I didn't specify a dual output from the graphics card so had to buy another one and have it installed to upgrade the machine, which was a nuisance.  I can also have a TV program on one of them in the evening when I am working late.

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08th Jul 2010 13:28


We use matrox cards and we have all had 4 x 19" monitors for over 2 years now.

We keep Outlook & client DB open all day on one monitor. I have tax, accounts, and clients data open on the others. I would hate to go back to anything less. Paperless is great, even better when you can view a lot of info all at the same time.

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08th Jul 2010 14:31

Dual monitors are great!

A scanned copy of incoming post on one screen, my reply developing on the second screen using voice recognition software leaves both hands free to drink tea, stroke the cat, do the crossword, gesture at passers by etc.

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08th Jul 2010 15:07


You mention Voice Recognition software - would appreciate you comments on what you use and positives and negatives.

I think this is a nice link with dual monitors but if I have upset anyone -sorry

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08th Jul 2010 16:16

Dual Monitors

Ah, if only the cat were the only problem - she wanders nonchantly across the keyboard to distract me while my idiot dog makes himself comfortable right behind my chair so that when I roll back...

I use a laptop and a desktop simultaneously when working on a client's remote desktop. Has to be paperless because I never have figured out how to print locally.  The main problem is getting info off the remote desktop without retyping it into a local program.  Would a dual monitor system help me with that?

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08th Jul 2010 16:16

We use

Dragon Naturally Speaking Professional and have been using it since 1998 when we saw it demonstrated at the Institute conference.

Plus points-

Saving of all future typist costs for the sake of a one off capital investment, though these days it is not that expensive.  The programme never has rows with its boyfriend/girlfriend and is hardly ever sick.

The modern versions require very little recognition training and can be virtually used out of the box.

Very fast turn around of post in that there is no "dictate, wait for draft, correct, wait for final copy" process.

I can produce a letter as quickly as it can be typed, though I have no typing skills.  I can also produce this reply with little time taken for the same reason.

Not only does the program produce text on the screen, there are a number of commands that short cut processes.  For that reason, I would suggest buying the product from a reputable supplier who will provide you with training.

Negative points-

There can be a tendency to dictate a letter and print it off in a hurry.  It is very important to proof read what you produce.  For example, today, I am sitting by an open window and the program has a tendency to insert a word it thinks it has heard when a lorry passes by.

Sometimes, if interrupted while "dictating", you will end up dictating your half of the conversation into a document if you have not turned off the microphone before speaking to, for example, a staff member.

Occasionally, the programme will behave in a bizarre fashion, not leaving spaces between words etc.  However, closing the program down, leaving it for a minute or two before opening it up again nearly always fixes this.

When choosing a document management program, it transpired that creating a letter through the document management menu using Dragon led to a software conflict.  However, we did not like that document management program and there is no problem with the one that we do use.


We have heard of many people who have attempted to implement this software, but unsuccessfully.  We have been using it for some 12 years now and I will never go back to using a dictaphone and believe that the success or otherwise of the product depends upon your state of mind.

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08th Jul 2010 17:37

A big thank to rworboys

What you have posted is excellent.  Thank you for your time I am most grateful

What was the system with which there was a conflict pls so tha I can avoid the problem

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08th Jul 2010 17:48

Email? USB stick?

Can't you email the info to yourself from the clients desktop?

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08th Jul 2010 18:00


At one time the size of your car was a sybol of your success - now it appears that the bigger your monitor and the more you have, is the "new" symbol.

It's easy to spot these multi-monitor types - they keep falling over things because their eyes are pointing in two directions at once :)


As for "voice recognition programmes" - my secretary says to tell you to "wash your mouth out" and to try asking your programme to get you a coffee and see how far you get. It cant answer the 'phone and tell clients your out when youre actually watching the fotblall either.

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08th Jul 2010 19:50


in theory yes...

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08th Jul 2010 21:42

Email or USB stick

I've done it in practice. 

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09th Jul 2010 08:03

Remote Desktop

I used to use two monitors and found them REALLY useful.

If anyone's got a cheap solution for having two monitors using a remote desktop connection, I appreciate feedback.

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09th Jul 2010 08:47

email or usb

I have done it in practice with one client, but trying to persuade clients that it would be beneficial to them to set up an email for me, or even access to the internet so I can get to my webmail, on their server is not always fruitful.  I just wondered, amongst all the multi-monitored pepole out there if anyone had any other suggestions. 

I'm interested that you entitled your response email or usb - what usb solution did you havein mind?

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09th Jul 2010 09:38

You are spot on about the program not making the coffee cymraeg

But we have only saved on typist costs, not receptionists, so the football issue is still covered.

Concerning the document management system, I looked at a lot of them and think that the offending program was either Raport or PaperPort.  Having identified the conflict, it turns out it would not have been an issue as we do not use our document management system to create letters, e-mails or spreadsheets.  However, I did not much like the program anyway.

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09th Jul 2010 10:02

tiny tiger

You dont say what the problem was.  If it was that you could only see one monitor and wanted to get on to documents on minitor 2.  Go to display (thats what it is called in XP) and deslect  "Extend my Windows...". This prog might help too

I understand that remote desktop 6 will let you remote across dual monitors see


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09th Jul 2010 11:57

Maybe I'm not understanding the situation

I was thinking you could get the client to email something to your email address and you could collect it using your laptop.

I was also thinking you could just put a USB stick in their computer and copy the data to your stick and then put it in your laptop.

If you are at home using some program to look at their laptop then you should be able to export their data some way.

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09th Jul 2010 12:12

Dual Monitors - Remote Desktop

Thanks for that really useful link on remote desktops.  As I understand it using the RD in span mode will allow me to use dual monitors on my client's desktop.  What I really want to be able to do is to have their system open on one monitor and my own on the other and be able to transfer date between them. 

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09th Jul 2010 21:48

Remote Desktop

Thanks for the links - I'll check them out when I'm next in the office.... in two weeks!!! Yippeee.

The server solution we have is a hosted one where we 'log on' using remote desktop. When we first did it I looked into having dual screens, because we're working towards a paperless system, but couldn't work it out. If its now possible I'm well chuffed!!

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By Kev79
12th Jul 2010 12:47

Two monitors

I have used two monitors for about a year and it is fantastically useful. The ability to see, say, the Accounts Software and Excel/Email or the variance report and the transaction listing at the same time is very handy and has vastly cut down on how much I print. Anytime you try to see two things within one screen you increase the need for resizing and toggling.

As for trying to justify the price. Let's say an average accountant on £30k has a 1% increase in efficiency - that's saving the company £300 per year plus paper. Not bad for something that will likely cost you £150 and last maybe 2-3 years. But a NY Times article claimed the two monitors actually increased efficiency by 20-30% (

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12th Jul 2010 13:11

This may help

@FirstTab - this mau help

I'm just about about to have the third screen added to my desk by my colleague who has four would never go back to three.

Bob Harper

Portfolio Marketing



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12th Jul 2010 13:28

Adobe Acrobat

A little bit off topic, but relevant enough, I hope.

Does anyone know how to alter the settings so that Adobe opens seperate files in seperate windows?

I know how to do this with Excel, although one PC seems determined to keep resetting the settings ... but thats another story. Using similar settings for Acrobat hasn't worked.

Any clues, anyone?

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