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Two Monitors Versus One?

Is less more?

Would you and your staff be more efficient if you started using a second computer monitor? With a second monitor you can run one program on monitor A and another program on monitor B. When you move your mouse it will float across both monitors as if they were one big monitor. 

Most people would assume that they would be more efficient. A white paper from Dell supports supports this theory (article here) as does this academic paper (article here). External monitors have become so affordable that you can purchase a quality one for less than $200.

However, an interesting article in the New York Times last year (article here) argues that two monitors can provide more distractions and ultimately lower overall productivity. Having used multiple monitors for many years, I cab identify with many of the author's points against a second monitor. 


Speaking personally, when using a laptop with a relatively small screen, I can be more productive when a large external monitor is connected to the laptop. However, when using a desktop computer that has a  large screen, I'm not as certain that my productivity is enhanced with a second monitor. However, ask others in our firm who have two large monitors connected to their desktops and they would say that using just one monitor would be like trying to type with only one hand. Like so many technologies, many personal factors come into determine what is the best implementation.

Categories: Best Practices