Connecting two monitors to one computer can greatly increase your productivity by allowing you to multitask more efficiently.
However, if your computer only has one VGA port, you may be wondering how you can hook up dual monitors.
Fortunately, there are a few different options that will allow you to run two monitors from a single VGA port.
What You Will Need
To connect two monitors to a computer with only one VGA port, you will need:
- Computer with one VGA port
- Two monitors with VGA inputs
- VGA splitter or VGA dual head cable
- Power source for both monitors
Using a VGA Splitter
A VGA splitter, also called a VGA Y splitter, allows you to connect two monitors to one VGA port. Here’s how to set it up:
- Plug the VGA splitter into the VGA port on the back of your computer.
- Use VGA cables to connect one monitor to each end of the VGA splitter.
- Turn on both monitors and your computer.
The VGA splitter splits the signal from the computer’s VGA port so you can display on two monitors.
This mimics having two VGA ports without additional hardware changes.
- Inexpensive solution
- Simple setup
- Limited resolution and refresh rate
- Images on both monitors are identical
Using a VGA Dual Head Cable
A VGA dual head cable has three connectors on each end – one that plugs into the computer and two that each connect to a monitor. Here’s how to use one:
- Plug the single connector end into the VGA port on your computer.
- Use VGA cables to connect each of the two connector ends to your monitors.
- Turn on the monitors and computer.
The dual head cable splits the signal from the VGA port to allow extended desktop mode.
This means you can have different images and use each display as a separate monitor.
- Get extended desktop mode
- Adjust resolution and orientation for each monitor independently
- More expensive than a splitter
- Limited resolution compared to dedicated graphics card
Using a USB Graphics Adapter
If you want to add a second monitor without using your VGA port, you can use a USB graphics adapter.
These connect to your computer via USB and provide an additional video output.
To use one:
- Install any required driver software for the USB adapter.
- Connect the adapter to an open USB port on your computer.
- Use a VGA cable to connect one monitor to the adapter’s VGA output.
- Connect your main monitor to your computer’s VGA port.
This gives you a second display without occupying your only VGA port. You can extend or mirror the desktop as preferred.
- Adds extra display without using VGA port
- Get extended or duplicate desktop modes
- Requires USB port
- Need to install drivers
- Limited performance compared to graphics card
Tips for Setting Up Dual Monitors
- Place monitors side-by-side to avoid neck strain from excessive turning.
- Match the resolution and orientation of both displays for a seamless experience.
- Adjust text size and scaling options to prevent squinting at smaller monitors.
- Position primary monitor directly in front of you for the best ergonomics.
- Place monitors at eye level or slightly below to avoid neck and eye strain.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I connect two monitors to a laptop with one VGA port?
Yes, you can use a VGA splitter, dual head cable, or USB graphics adapter to add a second external monitor to most laptops. Make sure your laptop’s graphics can support dual displays.
What’s the maximum resolution supported by a VGA splitter?
VGA splitters generally only support up to 1280 x 1024 resolution and 60Hz refresh rate on each monitor. For higher resolutions, a dual head cable or USB adapter is recommended.
Do I need any additional software to use a dual monitor setup?
Usually no additional software is required, as long as your computer’s operating system supports dual monitors. You may need to install drivers for a USB graphics adapter.
What’s the best way to match settings between two monitors?
Use your graphics card’s control panel or display settings in your operating system to match the resolution, orientation, and refresh rate of both monitors as closely as possible.
How do I choose which monitor is my primary display?
On Windows, you can set the main display in the display settings. On Mac, drag the white menu bar to the monitor you want as the primary display.