Mac Dual Screen Tutorial Part I

Almost any Mac can take advantage of dual monitors. My iMac has had dual monitors for two years, and I can’t imagine living without it. Read on to find out how to take advantage of your Mac’s video card.
If you have an older Mac that doesn’t support screen spanning (which means the desktop is extended onto the other screen, rather than duplicated) go get the Screen Spanning Doctor. Most newer Macs already support this feature, all you need is a display adaptor from Mini-VGA or Mini-DVI (depending on your computer) to whatever plug your monitor has (including a TV composite or S-Video plug.) The only monitor that hasn’t worked for me was a Packard Bell CRT from the early ’90’s. Pretty much any other monitor, TV, or projector with VGA, DVI, S-Video, or RCA composite will work.
Plug in the adaptor and power up your monitor. Go to System Preferences > Displays. There should be two windows, one for each monitor. If not, click Detect Displays. I usually select the highest resolution because I’m young and can still see. If the displays aren’t extended and just mirrored (that is, the same image on both,) go to the Arrangement tab and uncheck Mirror Displays. Now two blue boxes should appear on the System Preferences window. This is a graphical representation of the physical arrangement of your displays. Drag and drop the blue square until it matches the physical layout. You can even drag the menu bar to pick your “main” screen. Newer video cards even support rotation, so if you have a rotatable monitor, you can give it a try.
In the next tutorial, I will show you how to match your desktop pictures to make a cool panoramic desktop.

About Edward Carlson

Film and television Director of Photography working in Los Angeles, CA.
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