Does OS X support two monitors?

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
My fiancee has a MacBook Pro and I know it has a video out to hook up an external monitor but if you hook up an external monitor can you view both that and the laptop's LCD at the same time.

What I mean is not for the exact same items but as an example she does stock market analysis for a living. She has many screens open at a time monitoring different things in the market and wondered if there's any way she can use a monitor for that use, to have different displays on each. Of course I'm not sure how you'd control it with the mouse/keyboard but is there anything like this that OS X does?

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 6
    Yes, you should be able to do this. Even my old Powerbook allows me to use separate monitors as an extension. You have the option to either use both monitors independently (i.e., one desktop split between two monitors) or you can mirror the laptops monitor on the attached monitor. Your choice.
  • Reply 2 of 6
    daibachdaibach Posts: 18member
    Yes you can and it works really well.



    When you plug in the external monitor you can set it such that the desktop extends across both monitors. You can specify which of the two screens is the primary display (i.e., contains the dock and taskbar). You can even specify whether the external monitor is physically to the left or right of your Mac Book Pro. All easily done in System Preferences - and much more intuitive than trying to do the same thing in Windows!



    You can then drag application windows to the external monitor. As you drag a window off the edge of the Mac Book Pro it will magically start to appear on the external monitor.



    For work, I have a number of console windows (that I need to just keep an eye on) running on one screen and everything else running on the main display.
  • Reply 3 of 6
    yamayama Posts: 427member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by daibach View Post


    When you plug in the external monitor you can set it such that the desktop extends across both monitors. You can specify which of the two screens is the primary display (i.e., contains the dock and taskbar). You can even specify whether the external monitor is physically to the left or right of your Mac Book Pro. All easily done in System Preferences - and much more intuitive than trying to do the same thing in Windows!



    Actually, in Windows XP it is just as easy as on the Mac - you can drag around where the external monitor is supposed to be and setting which one is the primary monitor just involves checking a box. On the Mac you have to drag the tiny menu bar from one monitor to the other in the Display prefs which you can tell is unintuitive because there has to be an explanation on how to do it above the displays.



    On the plus side, the Mac actually remembers on which side you put your external display. On XP it always defaults to being on the right. Another bonus with the Mac is that it is easier to adjust settings for each monitor (desktop pictures, colour profile, over scanning, etc) are shown on both monitors so it's easy to understand which one is affected.
  • Reply 4 of 6
    akacakac Posts: 511member
    XP only made it as easy as on the Mac after the Mac had it for 10 *years* before XP had it.



    And while I do prefer the one menubar on OS X over the menubar in every window in Windows, when using multiple monitors is when that starts to fail a bit. At least with large screens as we have now.
  • Reply 5 of 6
    amoryaamorya Posts: 1,103member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by yama View Post


    Actually, in Windows XP it is just as easy as on the Mac - you can drag around where the external monitor is supposed to be and setting which one is the primary monitor just involves checking a box. On the Mac you have to drag the tiny menu bar from one monitor to the other in the Display prefs which you can tell is unintuitive because there has to be an explanation on how to do it above the displays.



    Actually, it's a hell of a lot simpler on the Mac.



    Windows has a strange menu system where you select which model you're talking about then what you want to do with it. On all the Windows laptops I've tried (models from IBM, Toshiba, Dell and a few others) you can't click on the picture of the monitor and select a checkbox -- the box is there but greyed out and disabled. Sometimes one of the monitor icons is greyed out and you have to jump through the menus a few times to enable it.



    The problem with Windows is that each different graphics card does things differently. Some require extra software to set any of the multiple displays settings. Some do it from the Displays control panel but in a non-standard way. There is no way of writing down some instructions on how to enable video mirroring on a Windows machine, because different ones require a different procedure.



    I've been helping set up the projector in our university's chaplaincy for the past few years, sometimes using it with my Mac and sometimes other people's windows machines. I have had practical experience of using both platforms for this.



    BTW, a pic of the Mac way:







    Compare that to this pic of doing the same on a Windows system (found via google):







    Note that the primary monitor and extended desktop checkboxes are inactive, and that one monitor is greyed out. See the menu you select to configure settings for each monitor?



    The reason the checkboxes are greyed out is because with this (intel) graphics card you have to use additional software to make it work:



  • Reply 6 of 6
    yamayama Posts: 427member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Amorya View Post


    Actually, it's a hell of a lot simpler on the Mac.



    Fair enough.



    For what it's worth, on my Dell Latitude D610 which is hooked up to an LG L226WA LCD screen it is much easier to use than what you described above. Same with my IBM ThinkPad T60p. The Dell uses an Intel 915GM integrated card, and that works fine without needing to go in a modify additional settings. The ThinkPad has an ATI Radeon Mobility card and again there it is easy to configure the spanning options.



    Pretty much any Windows laptop I've used in the last few years has been the same. I guess YMMV
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