Do You Prefer Multiple Monitors or Just One? Why?

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DISCUSSION (32)

My setup ❤️

I switched the setup for this specific picture (I forget why), but usually the middle monitor and my laptop are for my main business, usually swiping between code, terminal, and browser for dev and research. My right monitor is for Slack, Spotify, and other spare business and my left monitor is for async communication and calendar stuff (email, Github issues, etc.)

If I were coding all day the one or two monitor setup would be fine—and I can get by with whatever if I need to—but with various types of communications I need to keep up all day I've found it helpful to keep the different things in dedicated areas.

Whoa, you've got like a whole Boeing cockpit happening! Impressive screen real-estate.

I have 2 monitors, but I'd ideally want at least 3, maybe even 4. For my APEX development, it'd be good to have a screen dedicated to Application Builder, a screen for SQLDev, one for APEX Objects and even one for Google.

For web building it'd be the same, one window for Brackets, one for Live Preview, one for Google.

I wonder if your desire to expand extends to the physical world. Do you wish for a larger desk as well? Or a committed office? I'm curious about any correlation between usage of physical space and usage of virtual space.

Even though I'm a big multi-monitor fan, I'd want a dedicated office even if I was using a single monitor. I like a door even more than I like multiple monitors.

100% agree. Physical workspace is super-important. I wish we could all have a dedicated office! I have one at work, but I work remotely quite a bit, so I encourage other folks to use my office whenever I'm not in if they need a quiet space to do some more focused work.

We aren't there yet at my workspace, but if we hire a handful more people, we'll have to start hot-racking and remoting to retain our beautiful offices with doors.

I don't need an office, but I would like at least a quiet place I could go to if needed. But, alas, I have to sit next to the noisiest department (training).

Oh man, I feel your pain. Perfect example of why programmers benefit from doors, though.

I mean, I could concede a 3 person office (or so) office if we were all on the same project and being a really agile pairing-oriented (or mob) team. For everything else, single user office, no matter how small, is the thing

Not really to be honest. The only thing I'd want like that is a standing desk. I just don't like constantly having to switch programs aha.

Awesome, thank you! I can 100% vouch for a standing desk. I found that once I switched to standing, I wanted to be working in even more positions - lounging, sitting, standing, whatever - which is what led me to my mobility-focused setup.

I don't think I gave multi-monitor setups a fair shake since it was always either a macbook and a differently-sized monitor or two differently-sized monitors. But I have a single superwide monitor right now and a tiling window manager and I kind of don't want to try multiple again regardless.

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I tend to prefer working on just a single laptop screen, with many keyboard shortcuts under my hand to resize and move windows, copy / paste, work in the terminal and so on.

I find that being able to quickly switch between windows (⌘-tab and ⌘-` on a Mac) is nearly as fast as eye-flicking, and actually helps me focus for (most) jobs where I don't need to be looking at lots of different data.

I've had multiple screens before, but I found that it's hard to un-tether from it. When I would work away from my desk, or provide tech support on another machine, my whole workflow felt foreign. I prefer the mobility of being comfortable on one screen.

I'm definitely curious to hear what works for other folks!

I use a 43-inch 4K TV with my notebook as a secondary display. At home I use a 49-inch 4K which is slightly farther away. For the first few minutes I thought it might be too large, but once I got used to it there's no going back. Once in a while I have to increase an app's font size.

For working purposes I prefer one screen and tmux for cutting it up as needed. Small is OK as long as I can read the text. If I do graphics it is usually fairly low res and fine to examine on most screens, handhelds included.

For more relaxed computering, the more the merrier. Perhaps one for a movie or series or music, one for comms (IRC, social web media, email, &c.), one for my hacks and editors and REPL:s, one for real time data on news and sensors and open data.

That's an interesting take! Most folks seem to prefer the opposite - more screens at work + less at home.

It helps me focus to be somewhat confined, and it makes it easier for me to spot when I slip into procrastination if I need to choose between workspace and funspace. Commonly I do about an hour and then a short break for a little decarpal or brewing more coffee/mate/tea, unless caught in a particurlarly good flow.

I think it is also nice to relocate now and then while working, so small devices and screens fit well into this.

I went from 13" inch laptop for many years to a brief stint of using both that screen and the new 24" inch screen to using just the 24" and keep the laptop closed.

Right now the setup is: laptop lid closed, 1 24" inch monitor and external keyboard and mouse.

Both keyboard and mouse are wireless RF, not bluetooth because I had many data lag issues with bluetooth and I'm not even remotely the fastest of typists

I hate bluetooth :P

I can't live without my multiple monitors. I need at least two - one for googling/research/refreshing the app, and one for the code.

Right now I use 3. Typically the 3rd is tailing a log or otherwise monitoring something that is live

I've never been comfortable with a single keyboard/mouse controlling multiple monitors. It's never felt right to me and I don't gain any productivity.

What I do enjoy however is multiple monitors with different input devices (one keyboard per monitor). I find this gives me a good productivity boost. I can setup parts of my environment on each system and not have them interfere with each other. This of course assumes I can mount drives, or device protocols, between them to some degree.

So multiple input setups, but on one physical device? I'd never considered it, but it makes a lot of sense! It consolidates some of the hassle of having to share between different physical machines, while still allowing the flexibility of multiple workspaces + modes of input.

Well, I have yet to figure out how to get that working, so I usually have multiple differnt computers for each set of keyboard/nice. Normally I have only two I'm working on at a time.

Ideally I'd like to have a kind of switching KVM where I can arbitrarily map inputs and outputs with computers.

Ha! Yeah, it sounds like it would be tricky to set up. I have a KVM setup for multiple computers, but I like the idea of a multiple-input KVM setup for one computer. Especially in OS X or many of the Linux WMs that allow for multiple workspaces, it seems like a doable idea - just map a set of inputs to a workspace.

Sounds like your real-life setup mimics my own - multiple physical devices for semi-parallel tasks. I have a laptop where I do my main work and a touchscreen Chromebook which I basically use as a drawing tablet in tent mode.

For personal, I enjoy just a single monitor setup when developing, however while working due to the variety of technologies and requirements, etc I develop with three monitors, and a dozen containers and usually a few KVM hosts open in background.

My absolute preference however is MacBook + external 23 in

3 is best for me, preferably where the third is not just my laptop (which is my setup at home). I actually got my brother a nifty little portable monitor because he mentioned it was hard to work without one, wonder how it's working out for him.

At home, I have 4 monitors. Primary is a 27" 4k, secondary is a 27" 2k, third is a 19" 4:3, and the fourth is another 4:3 but it's a 14" CRT (games focused on pixel art look better on CRT's, plus my uncle offered it to me and I just couldn't say no). On the third monitor or scratch sheet code/diffs, and on the 2K, I just realized, I don't even take advantage of all the space as I usually just have sticky notes and Discord!

At work, I have a 43" 4K TV, two 16:9's whose resolution I can't really recall, as well as a 21.5" 2009 iMac for Mac/iOS development. I keep most everything on the 4K, I keep e-mail on the top monitor at all times fullscreen so I'm always aware of what's going on, to my left I have a web browser and Spotify open, as well as other apps like OneNote.

The monitor addiction really started at work when I was given one extra monitor that was just laying around and figured why not, then my coworker got a 42" 4K TV on sale, and I did the same, so I had that for a while... then another sale came and I got a 43" 4K just to one-up him and took my 42" home as my home TV.

Then a sale happened on 4K monitors which is what I use at home for my primary monitor, then my 2K I was using as a primary became my secondary, and this is where the fun really begins: I got into vintage computing, so I bought a Mac Quadra, but I had no monitor, so I went to Goodwill and got a 19" Dell LCD to use temporarily until I got an actual Apple CRT to use with it. Then that Dell went unused for like a year until I decided to make space at my desk for it and it became my third monitor. The fourth, I've mentioned above and I'm just surrounded by monitors now!

TL;DR I like having different monitors for different tasks such as e-mail and chat, while keeping my primary focus on my code.

I couldn't even imagine doing serious work on a single monitor. Occasionally I have to work on just my laptop and I really don't like it. If I have a choice and my software allows I'll use three. One for email and mightytext(software that lets me text on my non apple computer) one for my text editor and the third for the interwebs.

I've got a laptop, which I attach to an external monitor when I'm working at my desk. So, during the work day, I generally have two monitors. Off the clock, I'm usually content w/ one.

Two seems to work best for me, instead of window-flicking. I also like to have my Sublime set up with two script files side by side.

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