How to set up two or three monitors with your laptop

Estimated read time: 2 minutes


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Setting up multiple monitors with your laptop is helpful when  working in the same location. Unfortunately it’s not as easy to set up as it sounds.

I finally figured it out and I’ll share with you how I’m able to have two big monitors and my laptop display all extending what I can look at at once.

There are some dependencies on your laptop that you need to consider. For example some laptops don’t have enough processing power. That’s something to test and see if your laptop can handle it.

The setup

I have a Lenovo IdeaPad and it can handle two bigger screens in addition to the laptop display.

The next step is to figure out how many USB outlets there are. This particular computer has three. And then there is one HDMI outlet. All the monitors usually will need to be connected through HDMI.

That’s the first problem I had to address. I needed two HDMI outlets but I only had one. So I had to get an adapter for USB to HDMI. I got this one.

It needs to be an external video card to work.

Of course I was also using the USB outlets so I had to get a USB splitter as well  to be able to plug-in all the USBS I needed. I currently use USB for:

Those adapters are officially called mini docking stations and I got this one.

I plugged it in and then attached the wireless mouse adapter and the microphone connection. That causes the microphone to be reset in the default settings so make sure you change the default mic back to the one that’s plugged in here.

From there it was smooth sailing and everything worked. Just right click on your desktop and then go to display settings and move the monitors in the right order.

If the newly added monitor doesn’t immediately show up usually the new devices have to be installed. If it doesn’t automatically happen just unplug them and plug them back in.

Deciding on set up

At first I used an old TV monitor as my second monitor and that was kind of cool but it was too far away and strained my eyes so I ended up getting another computer monitor that I can put on my standup desk.

Having the two monitors is super helpful as I am doing a lot of different things during the day and usually have instant messaging up on one monitor along with email and my calendar. On the other monitor I’m actively working on content strategy or production.

Read next: When and how to use a Slack channel to communicate with people

Amazon Live

You can also watch this Amazon livestream replay to hear me talk about the setup.