1. 6

  2. 7

    While I question the rigor of their study (3 people is not statistically significant) I am glad to see that someone is at least attempting to answer this question. I’ve wondered for years whether or not a second monitor is really necessary, or if just efficient use of screen space (with say a tiling WM) is better.

    Everywhere I’ve worked has provided us with 2 monitors, but at home I only use one due to having a small desk. And for the life of me I couldn’t tell you which one I prefer.

    1. 3

      Can’t load the site, but I found two physical monitors reduced the mental overhead of deciding what goes where, remembering where is hidden some window, etc. I didn’t make particularly efficient use of the second monitor, but it didn’t cost me anything.

      1. 1

        Using a tiling window manager has completely solved those problems for me. It’s also completely portable, my workflow/window management does not change whether I am on my work system, home desktop, or laptop.

    2. 4

      A few years ago I would have written long diatribes about how multiple monitors increased my productivity. While it helps with perceived productivity, IME most of the effect is actually distraction masquerading as productivity.

      I’ve reverted to using a single 24” for actual work, although I have 2 on my desk (the second has email and IM but I could easily, and sometime do, turn it off). I basically have one window maximised all the time. It’s exceedingly rare that I need to be looking at multiple things at once.

      I find one window and one monitor generally increases my focus. Plus there’s the ergonomic benefit of being able to have my monitor aligned with my body.

      1. 2

        I prefer two with at least one rotated 90 degrees for working on (longer) pages of text, mostly for more pleasant coding experiences on bigger code bases and reading articles with less scrolling.

        But it’s also helpful for some kind of scratch pad workflow where I keep working on monitor and want to quickly open/close windows on the other at the same time without loosing focus.

        1. 1

          I use an ultrawide (34 inch, 21:9) monitor with Spectacle on macOS, and it’s great. I map Spectacle shortcuts to the same keyboard layer as my cursor keys, etc., so resizing and moving windows (left half of screen, middle third, etc.) can be done in two keystrokes. It works really well.