Dual Monitors

One thing I forgot to mention the other day about my Camtasia PowerPoint process is that I now have a dual monitor setup:

On the left is my new computer that came this week.  It's one of those iMac ripoffs where the whole computer is contained within the monitor.  It's an AVERATEC F1 D1002UHCE-1.

2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E4600, 2 GB DD2 memory, 320GB SATA hard drive, 22 inch monitor, Nvidia GeForce 8400 256 MB graphics card, built-in wifi, memory card, DVD burner, webcam, TV tuner.  I upgraded from a Shuttle, little toaster shaped computer I bought a couple years ago.

I like tiny computers... less clutter.

But I plugged my 19-inch monitor from the old computer into the back and now I have a second monitor.  Great for recordnig those Camtasia PowerPoints as you can see in the picture.

I configured PowerPoint to display the actual slide show on the right monitor, and show "presenter view" on the left so I can see what slides are coming up next.

Yep, if you go to "Set Up Show" in PowerPoint you can not only specify which monitor will display the presentation, but also what resolution to resize it to... I tell it to resize to 640x480 for the presentation.

What's more, if you use the REAL PowerPoint (not OpenOffice like some people named Jason) and you install Office first, then Camtasia, they will add a little button to the "Add-Ins" tab of Camtasia to start the slide show and start recording with one click.

I click ONE button, it resizes my second monitor to the low resolution for recording, starts the slide show, and starts recording.  As soon as the slide show is finished, it resizes the monitor to the old resolution and asks where to save the Camtasia recording.

Super cool, right?

The one-click thing might sound stupid, but I'm recording so many videos for the Daily Seminar that I'm at the point where I need it.

I've used dual monitors at work for over a year now and it makes you way more productive in other ways.  You can code in one window and read instructions in the other... edit graphics in one window and write in a document on the other.  But Camtasia recording is by far my best use for dual monitors.

Do you have a dual monitor setup?  If you don't, why not?  What desktop setup do you have to get the most productivity?

Filed in: Personal

Comments (30)

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  1. Duns says:

    I only have a one monitor setup… two would be great… three would be even better…. 🙂

    I’d like to see a video (not camtaisia) of you recording a camtasia- from start to finish.

  2. Peter says:

    Hi Robert,

    Thanks for the post. How would i go about setting up the PowerPoint recording along with camtasia to resize my screen, record with a press of a button and then go back to the normal setting?

    I have both Office 2007 and camtasia 5 on my computer.



  3. Robert Plank says:

    How would i go about setting up the PowerPoint recording along with camtasia to resize my screen, record with a press of a button and then go back to the normal setting?

    I explained that in the blog post. In PowerPoint: “Slide Show… Set Up Show” will take care of the resizing. And the 1 click record thingy is under the “Add-Ins” tab.

  4. Robert nice trick with the 2nd monitor.

    It also looks like you are using the same USB headset that I use. I’m using a logitech a-0374a which is the only headset I have used that gives me decent sound quality. I tested about 4 or 5 other headsets until I finally spent the $100 to get this one.


  5. Robert Plank says:

    Really, you spent $100? I only spent $30 or so on mine a couple years ago.

    If anyone else wants that headset, Amazon seems to have priced it for $90 but if you click through to the used & new you can get it new from one of the other merchants for $25 + $5 shipping.

    I originally got mine direct from Amazon, for $30. That’s weird that it costs more now.

  6. Lance Tamashiro says:

    Awesome post Robert! You must have been reading my mind.
    So here is my question. I have a dual setup. Do you know if there is a way to just change the resolution on each monitor independently?

    So I can have low on one monitor and high on the other?

    Thanks again!

  7. Nice little set up ya got there Robert!

    I like tiny electronics too, just got me an Acer Aspire One yesterday = 8.9″ of PC love!

  8. Alex Newell says:

    I often run my laptop next to my desktop – I can as you say put instructions on one and follow along on the other.

    works pretty well


  9. Eugene Humbert says:

    I’ve run dual monitors for years. Didn’t know that about PPT, though. My headset appears to be the same as what shows in your picture, but mine came with the Logitec camera I bought about a year ago.

    I’m gonna have to try that bit about setting up slide shows. In fact, I’m gonna have to spend a bit of time learning how to USE PPT at all.

    Lately, I’ve been spending most of my free time at Lynda.com learning how to build Flash movies, and how to use Dreamweaver.

  10. Free Host says:

    I’ve been using a dual monitor setup for a while, and not only for working 🙂 My second monitor is a 22 inch HD Lcd with tv tuner, where I see TV right next to my working screen :p
    It’s also nice to see some videos while doing some minor tasks.
    Two thumbs up 🙂

  11. Robert Plank says:

    My second monitor is a 22 inch HD Lcd with tv tuner, where I see TV right next to my working screen :p

    I used to have a TV next to the computer when I did internet marketing in high school, big mistake on my part. It kicked the crap out of my productivity.

    Same thing for multitasking. I use the multi-monitor setup to speed up my single tasks, like watching a video on one screen while taking notes on the other, but watching a video while trying to do something unrelated on the other monitor… totally screws me up.

  12. Gary S. says:

    I used dual 19″ monitors for several years but I recently retired them for a single 28″ monitor (Costco $400, good brightness and contrast)

    I have about 85% of the real estate that I had with the dual monitor setup which is occasionally a problem but the brightness and better contrast of the new monitor makes up for the lack of real estate.

    After the first of the year I probably will by a second monitor, probably a 22″ as I do miss the flexibility of two monitors.

    BTW, I had my two monitors mounted on articulated arms than bolted to the desk and it gives you a lot more usable space on the desktop as the monitors no longer sit on the desk. And it puts the monitors at the correct height.

  13. Hey Robert,

    I’ve been reading a lot of your posts recently, but never contributed…until today!

    I’ve got 2 x 19-inch Dell monitors that I got with my new computer a few months ago and the productivity is amazing!
    You get so much more done it’s unbelievable….i hihgly recommend it.

    …plus, you feel like a big time marketer 🙂

    Really like being on your list,


  14. Tim Warren says:

    Great tip Robert.

    I use my laptop next to my desktop for some of the same functionality, but I don’t have the versatility you do with dual monitors.

    Do I have to get an adapter? There’s only one monitor port on my computer.



  15. Robert Plank says:

    I use my laptop next to my desktop for some of the same functionality, but I don’t have the versatility you do with dual monitors.

    Do I have to get an adapter? There’s only one monitor port on my computer.

    I think if there’s only one plug you need to get a second graphics card.

  16. Charles says:

    Good post, Robert. Interestingly; those with a computer next to their laptop could have FOUR screens open at the same time. I do this all of the time, and it has many uses even when you are not doing video. Once you get the second screen, you will discover all of the limitations you had with one. There are two many to mention; just get yourself a second screen. You can get them pretty cheap at the Weekend Computer Shows, but my wife and I got two 17inchers last year from Best Buy after Christmas. So just wait for a bit; go over to Best Buy and get your second screen. You will be glad that you did.


  17. Phill Coxon says:

    I use a dual monitor setup and have done for several years. I couldn’t live without it now.

    My setup is a bit different from most in that I run Ubuntu Linux and not Windows. In fact the only thing I currently use Windows for is DreamWeaver and my accounting software.

    Having two monitors is fantastic for productivity because it allows one monitor as a work screen, while the other monitor can be used for other tasks – web, email, ftp, skype, making notes, reading PDF documents etc.

    This particularly useful in a programming / web development environment where I can do the coding on one monitor and testing on the other.

  18. John says:

    I’ve been using dual monitors for years. It’s not only useful for Powerpoint presentations, but it’s great for keeping things organized.

    My secondary monitor displays things like my file manager, Twhirl, Gtalk, a terminal window and things that I either want to check regularly or need access to all the time.

    My main monitor shows the applications I’m working in at any given point. I use a Mac so I also use Spaces to have multiple desktops. Each desktop has a “theme” – browsing, editing, communications, etc. So everything is organized in its own desktop view, and the stuff on the secondary monitor is set up to show on every desktop so it’s always there.

    My second monitor can also swivel between landscape and portrait modes. I use it in portrait (“tall”) mode because several of the apps I have open on it – like Gtalk, Skype and Twhirl – work better in a long narrow window.

    It makes a huge difference in productivity. When I’m using my laptop, I really notice the difference.

  19. 16 December 2008 17:18:02 Central Standard Time

    Hey Punk Kid you caught me awake!

    I have been using two monitors on all my computers since about 1995 or 1996 when the rest of you guys were in diapers.

    I was editing video with the Media 100. Editing video with just one monitor will drive you mad. That’s why some of my friends call me Mad Max.

    Since then I have urged former bosses etc to use two monitors for all the reasons everyone here has mentioned.

    I am a video surveillance nut case so one of my computers that is dedicated to surveillance uses one monitor for the the front yard and one for the backyard.

    The Frat Brats that party all the time in front, instead of study have really calmed down! Plus, I enjoy watching my German Shepherd play by herself in the back yard. I record everything to hard drive so now the police always check with me when there is a hit and run etc. Not to mention fix their computers.

    Right now I have 5 monitors in front of me with a KVM switch for the laptop. I can not work without multiple monitors. I feel very powerful having the world at my finger tips and multi tasking etc.

    In the back I use a two monitors with a KVM Switch so I can look up what the fricken hell I am doing on the server. Then, of course switch back to the server when I have found a solution.

    I’m still using CRT monitors so I don’t even need to turn the heat on in the winter and I live in Kansas!

    Johnny Pissoff
    P.D. I gotta stop calling you punk kid now that you are 24 and have your own house!
    Merry Christmas Everybody!

  20. John says:

    Dual Monitors are great but my laptop does not support dual monitors display.

    Need to get a new laptop soon!

  21. Richard Day says:

    If two monitors are good, believe me, four are better. When you buy the card for your old computer, buy more ports than two. They don’t cost that much more and it is an improvement.

    Rich @ trafficbumper.com

  22. Robert Plank says:

    If two monitors are good, believe me, four are better. When you buy the card for your old computer, buy more ports than two. They don’t cost that much more and it is an improvement.

    Richard, are you an air traffic controller or something? I don’t know what I would possibly do with 4 extra monitors… 50% of the time I am only using the one screen.

  23. Chris says:

    Robert, dual monitors are just so yesterday. I’ve had a triple monitor setup (three monitors on a single medical grade stand) for over four years now and each time I go back to using my laptop it really does seem very limiting by comparison.

    The increase in productivity is amazing, but it does make for rather a lump stuck on your desk and you really don’t want to move it by yourself! When I did it the first time it was really expensive to setup, but with large monitor prices having come down the way they have I think if I was setting up now I’d replace my 3 x 18″ array with probably a 2 x 24″, which would be cheaper (no special video card for instance), and much more flexible.

    And yes, it does make recording in PowerPoint particularly easy!

  24. Milichig says:

    does having one HUUGE widescreen count? 🙂


  25. John Deck says:

    It’s one of those iMac ripoffs where the whole computer is contained within the monitor

    Or you could say the iMac is a ripoff. Variations on single unit computers have been around since the beginning of the personal computers.

    The original Apple II at the time was considered somewhat of a single unit because you could put the monitor on of the “box”.

    Then there is the Osborne portable, and the first Compaq portable.


    PS. Just needling you a bit. I found the comment retro.

  26. Robert Plank says:

    Good point John, but this desgn is a BLATANT ripoff of the iMac. Right down to the power cord that slips through the base of the unit, and the sideways CD slot on the right side.

    p.s. As far as single unit computers go, my all time favorite is the Commodore 64! I loved those rectangular grey function keys on the keyboard. The C128 just wasn’t the same. Do those count as “single unit” … if they hook up to the TV?

    I had an SX-64 “laptop” (hah!) for a few days once as well…

  27. John says:

    If you’re just doing the most basic things in internet marketing, you’re nuts to not have at least 2 monitors. I finally got my second about 2 years ago and I’m getting a new PC next week and plan to upgrade to 3 monitors as well.

    Get UltraMon and spread the desktop over all of them. Having the icons on the bottom of the screen match up with what’s on that monitor is a big plus.

    Enjoy your new PC Robert, I know I will. LOL, and the Commodore 64, that was my first computer. Later got a Kaypro “laptop” too. Damn, computers have changed, huh?

  28. John Deck says:


    More than one of my hardware buddies thought the Commodore64 was a nice piece of work.

    Everyone takes it for granted now, but all of those ‘single unit’ micro computers from that period were a real marvel at the time. I was time sharing on a Dec minicomputer, when I rewrote a scientific program from Fortran to mbasic. The Fortran program was small and only needed single precision math, so I could get away with it.


    PS. When I got my first 386 system, I had the motherboard sent back to the factory to be upgraded from 1MB to 4MB memory. The factory contact wanted to know why I needed that much memory.

  29. Rick Hoover says:

    I have had double monitors for about 6 years. I liked having two monitors while I was building eBay ads. It used to lock up all the time when I was using Windows 95. Win 98 cured that. I am still using XP.

    I recently bought a 32″ TV to use as a monitor. It was $367. I don’t have two windows fully up all the time now but this is working well also.

  30. John says:

    I’ve had two 19″ monitors for a few years now. Last month I got a 26″ and I kept one of the 19″ monitors. Man, this is really sweet now. Tempted to put the other 19″ on the other side, but 2 is (generally) good enough. LOL

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