How do you arrange your screens/multiple desktops?

ben profile image Ben Halpern Jul 09, 2017

Where is the editor, the console, the browser, team chat apps, etc.? Do you have a consistent routine, or do you have flexibility here?

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Just curious — anyone using a vertical monitor orientation to write code?

I did for a while and liked it but never formed the habit, and I set my next monitor up horizontally without thinking about it much. Would be interested to hear what others prefer here.

A coworker who tried it had similar feedback. He's not a developer per se, but someone who occasionally writes prototype code. One large, wide monitor with multiple columns in Sublime etc was his choice.

I'd love to be able to get something wide enough that I can comfortably do 3-4 columns in Sublime.

One person I know who did used vertical for email. It was a narrow screen though. But, it got it off your main screens.

I used it for a few days. Could not get adjusted to it, as all other applications, other than the IDE, felt out of place on it.

I tried but could not get used to having one monitor vertically and one horizontally.
I used vertical setup more for reading documentation more than coding itself.

I have a similar setup as Wesley. Two 22 inch monitors, one each side of my mac book.

Browser and evernote goes to the external monitor-1 (To the Left). I don't keep any other windows besides the work(mostly Android studio) that I'm currently working on my MacBook screen.

External Monitor 2 is set vertically which I use it for terminal primarily for the purpose of logs. I do open the terminal in my MacBook Screen, If I'm writing any script. But usually my terminals are in the vertical monitor.

@Taylor Initially it was little weird to look at vertical monitor. But I got used to it. Been using it for 4 months now.

My setup is like so:

External screen 1 - External screen 2      
       \                   /

My external screens are raised 20cm in comparison to the level of my laptop. Usually I have the browser on external screen 2, IDE on external screen 1 and my terminal and miscellaneous stuff on my laptop.

Wesley gets it. Same arrangement here.

         [          34" widescreen     ]
[laptop] [         curved monitor      ]

I often don't even have the laptop screen open, if I do, it's email/chat/Spotify.

I like the giant widescreen monitor. Ironically, I like having only one program / one window open at a time if I can.

The huge monitor does give me the flexibility to put two or even 3 windows side by side.

I'm on macOS, so I use Spectacle to use shortcuts to move windows around. The commands only conflict with Xcode.

  1. Browser
  2. IDE (internal terminal)
  3. Chats 1/1/1. Outlook, Slack, Telegram. And Spotify on the background in the first third, cause Outlook is not that useful usually.

All of them are virtual. So IDE is in the center, and two others are left or right of IDE.

And I prefer single screen setup same way as Cory House.

Similar setup here
IDE in the middle, browser to the left, miscellaneous apps to the right.
I summon the terminal from whichever screen I'm on with ctrl+`

I'm of the "one monitor to rule them all" persuasion. I like to have everything directly in front of me, so I don't have to turn my head to do something. I've found that constantly looking off to the side causes me neck pain, so I prefer the 1 large monitor with what I'm working on front and center.

Usually that's a giant terminal window that takes up the whole screen, split into panes with tmux. Sometimes I'll also do columns with a browser and a terminal next to each other.

I try to minimize distractions, so chat and email are in the background with notifications disabled. I check them at specific times during the day and that's it.

Currently I have my laptop on the left side of my Dell U2515H monitor. But I am going to build a little mount to place my laptop in. And then I want to buy a second monitor.

It depends on the future, but a vertical oriented monitor would be great for possible logging/system monitoring from a command line: using tmux to multiplex.

Pair of matching 22" screens: One directly in front of me; the other just to the right and angled toward me.

Active work goes on the forward screen: Editor, browser, terminal, email, etc. Passive/Reference stuff goes on the right: Skype, browser inspector, virtual machine sessions, database tools, etc.

I also run with a virtual workspace as well. It's not used all that often, however, if I have too many windows open, or need to spend some distraction-free time in a virtual machine; I'll jump over to a second dual-screen workspace.

I have 3 monitors at work. The right monitor is the main display and I hide my taskbar over there.

The left monitor is in portrait orientation and holds my console/terminal. That's my only consistent window placement. Everything else floats or moves around as needed.

It's funny to watch people try and use my computer

I maintain two setup:

  1. Office: Windows Laptop
    Laptop screen with Outlook, Browser, Notepad++
    External Monitor screen with VNC Viewer connected to Dev VM running IDE

  2. Home: Personal MacBookPro
    Desktop1 with Outlook
    Desktop2 with Browser
    Desktop3 VNC Viewer connected to Dev VM running IDE

Three virtual desktops on the Mac:

  1. The left one is my browser and occasionally opened apps like the calendar, todos, pages or something, oh... and Spotify.
  2. The centre one is my Editor and Terminal.
  3. The right one contains all my chat apps (Discord, Slack, Telegram, ...), Twitter and the e-mail client.

Either looked at on the internal macbook screen (like now, while I'm typing this) or mirrored to an 24" monitor sitting on my desk.

Two monitors, larger 23" is the primary, smaller display secondary on left.

Primary {


IDE / Editor


Secondary {

"Team chat" (IRC)

Browser (Sometimes, only if needed for whatever I'm working on in the primary)


And terminals everywhere. I had a drop down terminal in my primary but for some reason that now does not want to move away from my secondary.

I have two machine: Linux and Windows, connected with a KVM switch and Synergy.

In general, I do development on Linux, whose monitor is to the left, and web testing and email on Windows, to the right.

I use virtual desktops on both, so in general:
Work Work Work Browsers-I-want-to-finish Email Chat-&-IRC Tweetdeck Spotify

On virtual desktops where I'm working, I usually have my editor on the left half of the screen and 2 terminals top-right and bottom-right.

When I'm on my laptop, esp. when using a 2nd screen, I miss having my 2 monitors being independent of each other, but in general, I do the same re: terms and editor, there too.

I'm using a Mac with 2 externals monitors (left and right):

  • I'm using 4 virtual desktops in mac
    • 1 slack
    • 2 browsers
    • 3 Skype
    • 4 Whats app
  • Right monitor: Full screen Windows VM
  • Left monitor: everything else in a messy desktop, email, Trello board, terminals, etc, etc

I have one 4K monitor and usually have terminals along the bottom (single window, multiple panels), text editor in the left and browser to the right. Slack and everything else in the background or another desktop

My IDE/Editor on the left monitor, browser on the center monitor and I have found it helpful to have an extra monitor for RDP or Database although not necessary.

I work with a 24" screen and multiple workspaces (Ubuntu Gnome):

1 - Browser (with multiple pinned tabs like Inbox and Github )
2 - Terminal (Terminator with column/row splitter)
3 - Sublime Text(two column mode)
4 - Slack
5 - Spotify

At home I use one massive 34" curved monitor and typically have PyCharm, console and GitHub on either side.

At work I have three 28" monitors and typically have PyCharm, console, Swarm+Jira, and Perforce.

Sublime text on my laptop. Terminal and browsers on the widescreen. I have only recently started using a dual monitor setup so I'm still playing around with it. :-)

Macbook pro (late 2016) on the left with two HD Dell monitors (center and right). MBP for iTerm, center is browser, right is Atom editor. Most everything else hangs out in the background of center.

I just have a laptop, so no problem here.

Usually editor and inspector are on the right monitor, the browser on the left monitor. I'm think to get one more only for the inspector :D