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Why more or less monitors is worse than your configuration?

Why is important use it in this way (position)?

Productivity is obvious, but what specific advantage?

A picture would be nice.


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closed as not constructive by Walter, Mark Trapp Oct 5 '11 at 16:58

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I would say that ideally a programmer would need at LEAST ONE monitor to be effective </sarcasm>. The few places I worked where I had more than one monitor I found myself actively using both rarely and even then it was for fringe cases like comparing two web pages on different resolutions. I personally would rather have multiple workstations and a KVM switch as I can quickly switch between OS and other types of envioronments. – maple_shaft Aug 29 '11 at 11:05

40 Answers 40

Three, with the left being web browsers (output), center being vertical (code), and right being smaller (email, chat, API).


I've used a 28" iMac with a 24" second monitor at work for the past few months. Being a web developer, I had Eclipse/Terminal on the larger monitor and my web browser on the smaller monitor and that setup worked great (As great as it gets on a Mac). Now I've sadly switched to a Macbook Pro with the same 24" monitor for my other screen. Haven't quite figured out my arrangement for that though.


Main screen 22" horizontal. Secondary screen 22" vertical.

Main screen good for:

  • IDE's
  • 3rd Party clients with GUIs
  • Outlook

Secondary screen good for:

  • File Exploring
  • Document review/writing ("fit to page" looks very clean)

If you ever want to debug custom drawing code, a dual monitor setup is almost essential

Debug->Step draw line look at result Debug->Step - write text look at result



3 monitors: center monitor vertical, side monitors horizontal.

I use the center one for the IDE I'm currently working with, the other monitors for other IDE instances, e-mail client, web/help pages, and to run application I'm testing.

The biggest advantage is running the debugger in a separate screen from the application you're attached to.


At work; I generally use a 15" laptop (1366x1024) next to a 24" 1980x1200 on desktop.

The laptop runs XP and generally runs outlook+documentation; sometimes a putty window/db browser/vic, the desktop generally running ubuntu where the real work happens.

I use Synergy+ to control everything from desktop keyboard/trackball. works well.

At home; I use a 27"1920x1080 next to a 17" 1280x1024 lcd, both plugged into desktop. Gaming on left; everything else on right. (Generally a terminal for irc/etc).


Current Setup:

alt text


27" -- 2560 x 1440 - iMac

20" -- 1680 x 1050 - external display

19" -- 720p LCD - xbox :)


Usually code on the 27" and preview on the 20". The 27" is nice to see lots of code without too much scrolling and the 20" is nice for web previews because it is closer to average monitor size.

A Past Setup:

alt text


30" -- 2560 x 1600 - Cinema Display with Mac Pro

27" -- 2560 x 1440 - iMac

Description: This setup worked well for the situation. I could have the Mac Pro running heavy video compression (video for web), and still code and design on the iMac without getting bogged down.

Sidenote: I later set this up with SynergyKM as to only need one mouse and keyboard. It works across multiple computers/platforms via network (low-latency), and you can copy paste text as well.

Other Resources:

There are some cool workspaces for inspiration here:

Gallery of multi-monitor setups:


1 monitor (15.6", 1024x800, notebook), 3 virtual desktop (Compiz-Fusion):

  • e-mail, web browser (for reading articles, blogs, and searching for work-related docs), music player, IM chat windows,
  • text editor, test browser window (only for web developement), terminal window,
  • SQL browser, deploy copy, monitoring windows (e.g. memory watch), open documentations (which needs to be open long term, e.g. specifications, design docs), other long-term tasks.

Sometimes I use my desktop monitor for displaying docs.


3 x 22" Dell Ultrasharp.

Two of them connected to Ubuntu desktop machine (on which I actually run my development env). One of them connected to Windows laptop (which I use for mostly for communicating with the rest of the company and web browsing).

So it's: 1. consoles 2. IDE 3. Outlook/Web Browser


If you are working on any front end related code, one landscape and one portrait should work. The Landscape one to quickly see the UI changes or other things and the portrait monitor for reading the code. Most of the code normally flows vertically so portrait monitor allows you to see more code.

The ideal number I would look at is a 17"-19" landscape monitor for the UI and a 26" portrait monitor for the code. This allows larger texts and lesser chance to miss things.

If you are primarily working on back end applications, you would do well with one monitor. Cause 2 monitors often means too much distraction.

I also like xmonad type of window managers. They give you more viewing space. But I don't necessarily like doing everything using keyboard.


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