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Using an extra monitor for work can be an amazing productivity boost. No more split-screen action between Microsoft Word This Is How You Can Get Microsoft Word for Free This Is How You Can Get Microsoft Word for Free Do you really want the entire Microsoft Office suite? If all you need is Word without the fancy features, Microsoft will give it to you for free. Here is how. Read More and Chrome, and no more having to prioritize which panel should be on top. Multi-monitor setups also look cool and can be used as a media screen when not in use or when you’re gaming, but definitely not when you’re meant to be working.

If you don’t have another monitor, but do have a separate laptop, you’re in good hands. It is extremely easy to create your own multi-monitor setup Too Much Screen Space? 6 Ways To Use Your Multiple Monitor Mac Setup Too Much Screen Space? 6 Ways To Use Your Multiple Monitor Mac Setup So you set your Mac up with a second monitor, which was really exciting – but now you've no idea what to do with all that space. Read More without cables, using your home network, with a host of tools to help you get the job done. Let’s take a look!

The Benefits Of Multi-Monitor

Multi-monitor hook-ups are not uncommon. You’ll see them everywhere; your Doctor may be using one monitor for notes, and another for diagnoses. Even using a single extra monitor Finally Get Two Functional Desktops With Actual Multiple Monitors Finally Get Two Functional Desktops With Actual Multiple Monitors Once you have tried working with a dual monitor setup, you'll never go back. While two monitors give you double the workspace and boost productivity, I found the setup is never perfect. In the end,... Read More can boost your productivity How to Be More Productive with Dual Monitors How to Be More Productive with Dual Monitors You need space for several documents, to get an overview and swiftly shift between tasks. What's true for your desk also applies to your virtual workspace. We show you how it matters. Read More , provided you keep using it for productive activities! If you’re used to clicking through multiple windows, or hitting Alt + Tab Windows Shortcuts 101 - The Ultimate Keyboard Shortcut Guide Windows Shortcuts 101 - The Ultimate Keyboard Shortcut Guide With so many shortcuts built into Windows and its software, it might seem impossible to learn them all. Here's the ultimate guide to the most useful keyboard shortcuts. Read More like there is no tomorrow, consider the massive amount of extra working space you could be utilizing.

multiple-monitors

Key to the productivity 6 Ways to Set Up Dual Monitors to Be More Productive 6 Ways to Set Up Dual Monitors to Be More Productive Read More of a multi-monitor setup, as alluded to above, is remaining on task. There is an ease to switching on a film when the second monitor is in use, or using it to display pictures, or other distracting media. Don’t do this!

Creating a multi-monitor setup with a laptop usually works one-way: using your local network. Most laptops only feature VGA, DVI, or HDMI outputs, meaning the connection will only work in one direction. If you’re happy to use your laptop as the primary system, by all means, proceed.

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Otherwise, read on.

Multi-Monitor Software

Two of the biggest reasons for using more than one monitor are Working Space, followed closely by its accomplice, Frustration with the Split-Screen. Several applications let you easily share your mouse and keyboard between laptop and desktop.

N.B: I’ve tested all of these connections using a Windows 7 Ultimate desktop connecting to a laptop running Windows 10 Pro Insider Preview An Insider Review of the Windows 10 Fall Update An Insider Review of the Windows 10 Fall Update The Windows 10 Fall Update contains many minor improvements, a few feature updates, and a bunch of new settings. We show you what to expect and which default settings you might want to adjust. Read More .

Synergy

I’ve long used Synergy for exactly this scenario, and it continues to be one of the most popular device cohesion applications. Synergy comes with an auto-configuration tool, a network wizard, and an option for SSL Encryption enabled network connections What Is an SSL Certificate, and Do You Need One? What Is an SSL Certificate, and Do You Need One? Browsing the Internet can be scary when personal information is involved. Read More .

Synergy Pro Interface

However, Synergy isn’t free. It comes in two flavors; a basic version for $10, and a pro-version for $29. Both are lifetime licenses, though only Pro-users have access to SSL Encryption.

Synergy kindly provided us with 15 free codes, which we will be giving away to our readers. You can get one on our Facebook Page.

InputDirector

InputDirector offers almost exactly the same functionality as Synergy, but without the frills of a nicely designed UI. However, it shouldn’t put you off, and it only takes a moment to configure your Master/Slave settings to get up and running. If you do have troubles, there is an extensive User Guide available online.

Input Director Interface

A free version is available for Personal Non-Commercial Use, and we are advised to contact the author for license pricing information.

ShareMouse

ShareMouse is one of the simplest of all to set up, working straight out of the box for me. ShareMouse is full featured, coming with a Clipboard 5 Tips to Manage Your Windows Clipboard Like a Pro 5 Tips to Manage Your Windows Clipboard Like a Pro Better known as Copy & Paste, a tool for students to lift passages from Wikipedia, the Clipboard can save you loads of typing time. We'll show you how to use it like a pro. Read More , drag-and-drop file sharing, and an interactive monitor manager. I also like the slight screen-fade on your unused screen, so you know exactly which monitor you’re using.

ShareMouse is free for Personal Non-Commercial Use, but you are limited to a maximum of two monitors. Or, you can register for professional use, granting you up-to 19 networked monitors/systems, encryption, and a handful of other tools for $49.95.

Mouse Without Borders

Mouse without Borders is a workspace unification application developed by The Garage 5 Free Microsoft Online Services & Apps You Didn't Know Existed 5 Free Microsoft Online Services & Apps You Didn't Know Existed When you think of Microsoft, what's the first thing that comes to mind? It might take you a little longer to think of something positive. We're here to help with that. Read More , an internal development “team” used by Microsoft employees. Any employee can approach The Garage with an idea, and they’ll have the power of over 2,300 eager Microsoft minds behind it.

Mouse Without Borders Interface

Mouse without Borders “makes you the captain of your computer fleet,” so long as your fleet doesn’t comprise more than four systems. In typical Microsoft fashion, Mouse without Borders uses a system of codes to connect your systems, also displaying the network adapter you’re connecting through. It also comes complete with drag-and-drop file sharing, and a useful Clipboard feature.

Multiplicity

I gave the free Multiplicity trial a look over, and it is a delightful application offering the full-spectrum of keyboard and mouse sharing tools. However, once the free trial runs out you’ll be asked to upgrade to a basic license which only offers you control of 2 PCs for a one-off $19.99, or if you require more, licenses scale up to 50 PCs for $329.99.

If you do need professional support for your multi-PC network, the latter seems to be reasonable value for a professional application 3 Free & Awesome Tools To Optimize Your Dual Monitor Setup [Windows] 3 Free & Awesome Tools To Optimize Your Dual Monitor Setup [Windows] As some of my more loyal readers may know, I’ve been using a dual-monitor setup for years. Over time, I tried dozens of different tools, both free and commercial, for making the best use of... Read More (though I haven’t scoured the market for other deals, so don’t take that as gospel, please). If you’re just linking your laptop and desktop, I would advise one of our other options.

External Monitor Roundup

I’m a big Synergy fan, but you will not be disappointed with any of the other applications on this list. Each of the keyboard and mouse sharing applications come with their own strengths and weaknesses Two Monitors for an Extended Desktop: 3 Things You Should Check First Two Monitors for an Extended Desktop: 3 Things You Should Check First You'd think that all you'd have to do is plug any video display into the computer port on your laptop or PC. Well, it's a little more complicated than that. Read More , and each of them complete their main task to a high standard. With that in mind, I will leave the final decision to you, dear reader.

What is your multi-monitor application of choice? Have we missed your favorite from the list? Let us know what you think below!

  1. lemo
    November 22, 2016 at 7:58 am

    ayy lmao

  2. Liam Anthony Dalton
    October 3, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    The Word; L'Ordinateur

  3. Gavin H.
    September 24, 2016 at 11:48 am

    I thought it was a little strange when I saw that the second computer name on Mouse without borders said Gavin-PC because not only is my name Gavin, but that's my laptop name as well.

  4. Gardner West-Bound
    September 21, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    Microsoft has certainly made all things email very complicated, over the years. Your article, which purports to lift the veil of fog surrounding it, merely adds to the confusion. You gave the article the title, "Hotmail No More! Microsoft Outlook Email Services Explained" and yet all you have accomplished is delivering a history of the various iterations if Hotmail over its lifetime. You did not conclusively state whether "@hotmail.com" will be discontinued altogether, or merely undergo yet another facelift and iteration.

  5. Ed
    September 12, 2016 at 7:11 am

    Hi Gavin,

    I cracked my laptop screen so badly I can't see anything on the desktop, let alone getting to some important documents. I was thinking about connecting the laptop with cracked screen to another laptop via VGA cable and use that laptop as an external monitor. My question is how to set it up on the laptop when the screen is cracked?

    Thanks

  6. Chris
    July 30, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    Even with the word "like" in the title, there is a pretty direct, unambiguous implication from "Like an External Monitor" that you should be able to do one thing in particular:

    Open an application window on your desktop (for example), and then drag that window to your laptop screen.

    If you can't do that, then the title doesn't make any sense at all. In the absence of that fundamental feature, you're not using your laptop screen as an external monitor; you're just sharing one computer's mouse and keyboard. The two concepts are actually nothing alike.

  7. george
    July 3, 2016 at 12:32 am

    change the title and description. It is extremely misleading. I really don't understand how that could have been a mistake.

  8. Faisal
    January 7, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    Well I use multiplier for showing the same display to my customers, but I am really looking forward to something like synergy. Count me in for the giveaway. Thanks

  9. ugugx
    January 7, 2016 at 2:16 pm

    WoW, same here, what i got was that i`m going to use my laptop screen as a secondary monitor for my workstation.

  10. Karyn
    January 7, 2016 at 3:14 am

    The title isn't inaccurate. "Like" means, in this case, "similar to". So the title implies that the article contains information on ways to use your laptop to have an experience that is similar to having a second monitor. The article is actually exactly what is described in the title. Even the picture, with is disproportionately large mouse and keyboard seem an attempt to illustrate what the article contains. A single mouse and keyboard shared between machines.

    If it had said "How to use your laptop as an external monitor", then it would have been deceptive.

    It is understandable that people have misunderstood the title. Only because, the expectations that it was something more or different is rooted in the fact that the English language is grossly misunderstood by an astonishing number of it's native speakers. However, that is hardly the fault of MUO or it's writers.

    I'm just sayin'.

    • Karyn
      January 7, 2016 at 3:18 am

      Anyways. Saving this for later. Thanks for the info! I've been wondering if there was a way to do something like this. Definitely has potential to be extremely useful for the multi-tasker.

    • Coast
      April 30, 2016 at 3:15 pm

      To clear it all up, the title should have just simply stated "How to share your mouse and keyboard between computers". As it stands, most people seeing this title will be thinking that they are reading something that will show them how to setup two systems as external or dual monitors.

  11. TJ O'Neil
    January 6, 2016 at 10:24 pm

    Im not always sure if the articles/titles are being dumbed down or if I've moved past the content as a whole.

  12. Al Pennyworth
    January 6, 2016 at 8:51 pm

    Many years ago, I used some software called Maxivista which would allow another computer's monitor as a second monitor. When I read the title, I expected to read about software similar to this but I was sadly disappointed when I got to the description of Synergy. At that point, I knew the article did not match the title.

    Too bad.

  13. Jayson
    January 6, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    I was intrigued in this article, and thought it was about using a laptop as a monitor for another system. Where it appears that all of these software packages let you use your own Keyboard/mouse on multiple machines. Bummer that the article didn't portray what the title depicts.

    • Timothy Poplaski
      January 6, 2016 at 7:49 pm

      Seems to be pretty common with Make Use Of recently. Completely BS titles as click bait. I'm so frustrated with it I'm ready to remove them from my G+ circles.

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