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Ben Halpern
Ben Halpern

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How do you arrange your screens/multiple desktops?

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

Top comments (46)

fvidak00 profile image
Filip Vidak

Don't have constant routine but what I need to work on or use the most is on my laptop's screen (15.6")which is right in front of me. Something that aids me, be it a browser tabs with what I need, some other piece of code or anything else is on 2nd monitor (21") which is on the left of laptop. Everything else which might be useful is on the right monitor (17").
It highly depends on what and in what I'm working. Different setup for VS, Ecplise, Android Studio, casual situations...

viperey profile image
Victor Perez

Lenovo laptop, always with the lid closed.
A single 21" (at work) or 25" (at home) screen.
Linux Mint desktop, so, one taskbar and really thin.
I have a 3x3 workspace grid. I normally organize as following:

  1. Browser, opened for working related stuff.
  2. Empty
  3. Empty.
  4. IDE (s).
  5. Text editors (for repos that do not use an IDE). Also terminals, local or remote.
  6. Empty.
  7. Communication: slack, email, etc.
  8. Browser with personal stuff (if any).

I've used two displays for some time (laptop + monitor), used to use the laptop's one for terminals.
Stopped this habit since displays tend to have different resolutions and your eyes have to adopt, bend you back, etc. Not a good idea. Although, many people have really good, long and strong arguments about it.
Also, laptop keyboards are not as comfortable for coding as a normal one, so, having the laptop in my hands was neither an option.

Over the time, one gets really fast changing workspaces, and is better over Alt+Tab, since you always know for certain where's that program you're looking for.

Also, once people in your team know the thing about the workspaces, pairing is really easy. The keyboard is easy to share/move around, the place where people look at is "in a mid point" and we stay focused in one position.

kristafervale profile image

I'm a unity developer so I have a 4K monitor horizontal in the center with two 24" monitors vertical on either side of the main. On the right I have visual studio and on the left I have chrome.

The only annoying thing is when I switch to photoshop, audition, handbrake, etc because I don't like having to switch back and forth on the 4K.

Also, pro tip if you do use 4K monitor on windows with scaling turned to 150% (so the text is actually readable) some unity windows will actually disappear into the void if you maximize a torn off one. Switching back to 100% scaling brings them back but ughhh took way to long to figure that out one day. :)

tiffany profile image
tiff • Edited

My desk has a lip on it as it is a corner desk. I can't have more than my 27" iMac screen on it but I have 6 virtual desktops:

1 - Atom, all things code related (even Chrome tabs specific to code) and Trello

2 - Productivity apps: OmniFocus, Evernote, Timing 2

3 - Blogging tabs and Ulysses

4 - Reading Tabs in Chrome

5 - Email app Spark and Gmail tab

6 - Spotify/iTunes and Calibre Open Source ebook manager, Rambox chat aggregator since Franz is no more.

allavae profile image

Always Mac on the right with slack, then the big monitor with Vscode left, Terminal bottom right and postman/safari top right ( 4K gives you a lot of space 😂 )

engineercoding profile image
Wesley Ameling

My setup is like so:

External screen 1 - External screen 2      
       \                   /
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

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.

peabodyfmdev profile image
Perren Smith

Wesley gets it. Same arrangement here.

taylor profile image
Taylor D. Edmiston

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

mathur_anurag profile image
Anurag Mathur 

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.

mdabek profile image
Marek Dabek

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.

subbramanil profile image
Subbu Lakshmanan

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.

kaydacode profile image
Kim Arnett 

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

ben profile image
Ben Halpern

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.

taylor profile image
Taylor D. Edmiston • Edited

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.

val_baca profile image
Valentin Baca • Edited
         [          34" widescreen     ]
[laptop] [         curved monitor      ]
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

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.

hardkoded profile image
Darío Kondratiuk

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
rip21 profile image
Andrii Los • Edited
  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.

bnhn profile image
Rayy Benhin

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+`

littlefox profile image
Mara Sophie Grosch (LittleFox)
[               ]
[               ]
[ 24" 1920x1080 ]
[               ] [ laptop ]
                  [ 1080p  ]
                  [ 14"    ]

Using i3, I only have windows on one screen.

I have a single workspace on my laptop screen, mostly used for Mattermost or reference things (it should look like this).

Most of the time I work on the external monitor, with workspace 2 being my browser and workspace 3 containing whatever I need to code (vim, terminal, ..). On workspace 10 I have my communications (Thunderbird, Gajim).

akarm13_ profile image

I use Ubuntu as my operating system, two virtual desktops, the left one I use for the browser, and the right one I use for the coding related stuff, (VSCode, Multiple terminals, etc...).

I got used to the switching, and it's really good in my opinion.

eekayonline profile image
Edwin Klesman

MBP pro 2017 with touchbar. One desktop is for social media mail slack etc. One is my coding desktop (chrome debugging, Xamarin in VS for Mac and mobile simulators) one my browsing one and one for everything else. When coding this setup runs on mbp and second display.

jacoby profile image
Dave Jacoby

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.

mathur_anurag profile image
Anurag Mathur  • Edited

[Update: 27-Aug-2017]
I maintain two setup:

  1. Office: Windows Laptop
    Laptop screen with Outlook, and Slack
    External Monitor screen with VNC Viewer connected to Dev VM running VS Code / Vim / Emacs and Browser

  2. Home: 13" MacBook Pro
    Desktop1 with Outlook, and Slack
    Desktop2 with VNC Viewer connected to Dev VM running VS Code / Vim / Emacs and Browser.