Many of us are stuck behind our desk and computer all day long, which makes the hardware we use quite important. Let's give some more thought to our monitors, with these ten tips for getting the most out of those screens.
Photo by cobalt88 (Shutterstock).
10. Calibrate Your Monitor For The Best Picture
Even if you're not a graphic design professional or video editor, colour calibration ensures your screen shows consistent and accurate colours — important when touching up photos and correcting colours that just look "off". Here's our guide to both casual and more advanced monitor calibration. You can also rent a colour meter cheaply.
9. Play Games At A Higher Resolution Than Your Monitor Supports
If your monitor's native resolution isn't compatible with the games you want to play, you can trick your monitor into getting sharper images during gaming by using a lesser-known type of anti-aliasing. This isn't without its downsides, but here's the explanation.
8. Hide Stuff Behind Your Monitor
If you have very limited desk space or you just want a clean and clutter-free desk, use your monitor to hide all the stuff you need nearby. You can mount just about anything behind your monitor — including your laptop, external hard drive and cables.
7. Pair Your Tablet With Your Monitor
This one's not so much about using your main monitor, but about offloading some of those windows to your tablet so you have more screen real estate. You'll also be able to do things that a non-touchscreen monitor can't do, like tapping to use the calculator. These apps connect your mobile device to your monitor.
6. Use Your Monitor For Photo Backgrounds
If you want to take more professional-looking photos, your monitor may be the perfect backdrop. Just find a great background for your monitor and place the object you're capturing in front of it. If you use a green background, you'll be able to easily "green screen" your photos for background removal (just like they do in the movies!). Sort of related (not really), set your desktop wallpaper to what's behind the monitor(s) in your workspace, as shown above, and it will make your desk feel more spacious.
5. Tweak Your Monitor For A Better Reading Experience
Reading loads of articles and books on our computers isn't very eye-friendly or comfortable, but we can make it more so through tweaks such as using adjustable monitor stands, calibrating specifically for reading, and using extensions that modify the text on the screen.
4. Use Apps And Shortcuts To Control Your Monitor
Your monitor's built-in tools are OK for basic settings tweaks, but if you want even more control, apps and keyboard shortcuts will help. We're big fans of F.lux and Chrome extension G.lux for automatically adjusting your screen brightness and temperature (so that blue light doesn't wreck our sleep), as well as multi-monitor tools like DisplayFusion and Synergy that maximise our multi-monitor setups. If you want to quickly put your monitor to sleep, there's a shortcut for that, and there's an app for locking your monitor too.
3. Set Your Monitor Up Ergonomically
Our desk setups tend to be very unfriendly to our bodies, but proper positioning of our tech could mitigate some of the damage. When it comes to your monitor, you'll want to keep it an arm's length away and the top of the monitor at about eye level. Special computer glasses can also help prevent eyestrain and other Computer Vision Syndrome issues.
2. Max Out Your Multiple Monitors
There's something to be said for sticking to just one small monitor, but many of us like to rock two, three, or many more monitors for as much screen real estate as we can afford. An oldie but a goodie — how to make the most of your dual monitors — and our latest multi-monitor guide — How to set up triple monitors for widescreen gaming (and work) — should get you started. Windows users can also refer to these tips and tricks or fix that annoying cursor drag with a settings tweak.
If you want to decorate your screens with some multi-monitor wallpaper, these are some of the best places to find them, a collection of ultra-wide wallpapers, and yet more dual-monitor and multi-screen wallpapers (you can never have too many).
1. Buy The Best New Monitor
Sometimes, it's best to just upgrade your monitor or buy another one to extend your digital workspace. So, here's how to shop smartly: First, know the differences between different types of computer monitors. Consider whether a 4K monitor is right for you. Review our monitor buying guide and check out the five most popular computer monitors on Lifehacker.