Multiple Computers, One Keyboard: Quicksynergy Makes Sharing Simple

Stop jumping from one keyboard and mouse combination to another every time you switch computers. Control multiple computers using just one set – without the need for extra hardware. QuickSynergy for Linux and Mac, working with Synergy for Windows, means there’s no combination of systems that can’t be controlled this quickly and easily. If there’s more than one computer on your desk then you need to check this out.

Multiple monitors are intuitive – you move your mouse from one screen to another and simply continue controlling. But what if your desk has multiple computers on it? Can you move your mouse from one computer to another, then work on that? And what about copy/paste functionality? That, as it turns out, can be just as simple as using multiple monitors – even if you’re using different operating systems.

We’ve shown you how Synergy can bring your computer systems together, but that program totally lacks a GUI for Linux and Mac OS X users – leaving users of both with with the need to create a text file in order to get things up and running. QuickSynergy brings a GUI to those operating systems, and in it’s actually a far easier GUI to use than the Windows one.

Connecting Your Screens

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: to use QuickSynergy, you’ll need all computers to be on the same network. WiFi or wired doesn’t matter, so long as you’re connected to the same router.

The main interface for QuickSynergy is two screens: one for sharing, one for using. If you’ve used TightVNC or any VNC service, you’re going to be confused by the terminology. Don’t be.

Here’s the trick: what you’re “sharing” here is not your screen, but your mouse and keyboard. So use the Sharing tab on the computer connected to the mouse and keyboard you want to use. Here’s how it looks:

quicksynergy share   Multiple Computers, One Keyboard: Quicksynergy Makes Sharing Simple

Simply type the name of the machines you want to control, using the box positioned appropriately (so if you want to control a screen to the right of the computer doing the sharing, you should use the text box to the right).

Setting up the server is even simpler – you need only type the IP address of the computer with the mouse and keyboard you want to use.

quicksynergy server   Multiple Computers, One Keyboard: Quicksynergy Makes Sharing Simple

If you can’t connect, check your firewall settings.

The process is a little confusing, sure, but try a couple times and you’ll get things working. And there’s nothing confusing about using Synergy once it’s set up. You’ll be able to move your mouse simply from one screen to another – it’s like the ultimate KVM. But it’s even better than a KVM, because copy and pasting text is supported. In many ways it’s as though your two computers have merged into one.

Compared To Synergy

There’s a version of Synergy for Mac and Linux already. Why use QuickSynergy at all? Well, as I mentioned, the Linux and Mac versions of Synergy require the creation of text files for configuration. That’s fine for tech-savvy users with motivation, but for less-savvy and/or lazy users QuickSynergy simplifies the process.

I have to say, QuickSynergy is much easier to use than the Windows GUI for Synergy itself. I mean, look at this thing:

synergy windows   Multiple Computers, One Keyboard: Quicksynergy Makes Sharing Simple

What’s a “Link”? It’s used to determine a screen’s location – something made much easier by the design of QuickSynergy. I had to read the documentation just to figure out what everything does.

QuickSynergy gave me no such problems – I simply set everything up and was good to go. Compare that with the Share screen above.

Download Quicksynergy

Wondering where to find this application? Mac users can download Quicksynergy from Google Code. Linux users will find the source there, but should check out their distro’s package manager to install – it’s just simpler.

Debian/Ubuntu users can click here to install Quicksynergy.

Similar Programs

Wondering what similar software exists for the job? Here are a few we’ve profiled:

sharemouse monitormanager   Multiple Computers, One Keyboard: Quicksynergy Makes Sharing Simple
There’s no Linux version of Sharemouse, however, so this is only for users of non-FOSS systems.

What tool do you like to use for sharing a mouse and keyboard with multiple machines? Share your thoughts in the comments below, along with any possible uses for this technology you can think of. Looking forward to reading your thoughts as always.

Image Credits: Black keyboard Via Shutterstock

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7 Comments -

Tom S

I really never new how to do this…I always wanted to set this up, now I will!

Chetan S

I am using Synergy for 1+ year. The only thing which now I am looking is copy/paste between two or more systems. I think ShareMouse can do this but its costly and needs license for each machine I use it on.

hardik

Which computer do you connect keyboard and mouse, or somehow they get connected to router ?????

Jerry S

Your article overlooks ‘Teleport’ one program I have been using for years. http://www.abyssoft.com/software/teleport/
Very small program, and sits in the menu bar.

Justin Pot

Yep that’s another good Mac-only option. Thanks!

Matthew Gunnin

I’m sorry, but you should really be referencing your article off of the latest software versions. You are showing screenshots from Synergy versions that are very outdated and thus your article is irrelevant.

synergy-foss dot org if you decide to actually write an intelligent comparison article

Bosch

I believe you meant, “while some info might be outdated (as all tech is prone to be), thank you for taking time out to show the world at large some neat stuff they may not have known about before!”

Rudeness is not attractive