We recently got access to a new extra screen at the office, so we did the natural thing, and started testing all sorts of free multiple monitor software that we’ve always wanted to try.
If you use more than one monitor then this post is for you; it lists 7 programs and resources that add some excellent functionality to your multi-monitor setup, such as extending the taskbar into multiple screens, controlling windows via hotkeys, spanning wallpaper images across different screens, etc.
The programs are: MultiWall, Dual Monitor Taskbar, Swap Screen, SoftTH, Dual Display Mouse Manager, GridMove, as well as some good multiple monitor wallpaper sources.
Here’s the list.
- MultiWall: powerful tool for downloading and displaying multi-monitor wallpaper
- Dual Monitor Taskbar: extend the taskbar to additional monitors
- Swap Screen: send the active window to various locations on different screens, via hotkey
- SoftTH: span DirectX games across multiple monitors
- Dual Display Mouse Manager: prevent the mouse from accidentally moving across screens (or ‘teleport’ it to other screens on demand)
- GridMove: snap your windows to pre-defined regions on any screen
- Multiple Monitor Wallpaper sources
1. MultiWall: powerful tool for downloading and displaying multi-monitor wallpaper
This program will automatically span wallpaper images onto multiple screens, but what makes it special is that it provides a large range of images that you can download and use with a single click (you can upload your own images too, if so inclined). Simply fantastic.
There are many, many wallpaper managers for multiple monitors, but I opted to exclude all of them from this post in favor of this one.
2. Dual Monitor Taskbar: extend the taskbar to additional monitors
Every wished that your additional monitors would show a taskbar and taskbar buttons just like your main screen? Dual Monitor Taskbar does exactly that. (Note: I like this one better than Zbar and the free version of MultiMon, because it is simple to use and maintains Windows 7 Aero look and feel, which the latter does not).
3. Swap Screen: send the active window to various locations on different screens, via hotkey
The hotkeys are customizable, as shown above. Swap Screen also allows maximize a single window across multiple screen (so-called ‘supersize’ it).
Note on downloading: this program is a part of ‘Dual Monitor Tools’, a collection of portable multi-monitor apps that come in a single zipped archive. Other tools I likes in the same pack: Dual Wallpaper and DisMon.
Note that DisplayFusion free includes the same functionality as this one.
4. SoftTH: span DirectX games across multiple monitors
This one for gamers who would like a more powerful gaming experience. SoftTH will span your game display across your multiple monitors, creating an immersive visual environment.
This program is one of those rare occasions where we haven’t tested this ourselves (we did not have access to any of the games on the ‘working correctly’ list), but I just couldn’t resist including it here.
5. Dual Display Mouse Manager: prevent the mouse from accidentally moving across screens (or ‘teleport’ it to other screens on demand)
For those who do not want the mouse to accidentally move across screens, this one will lock it into the current screen unless ‘ctrl’ is pushed or unless the mouse is pressed onto the edge of the screen for a certain amount of time (in milliseconds). It also has a ‘region jump’ option via hotkey, whereby the mouse is teleported into the exact same relative location across different screens.
Also check out Multi Monitor Mouse, which does something very similar.
6 .GridMove: snap your windows to pre-defined regions on any screen
This program lets you slice your screen into pre-set or user-defined grids, and to send windows to these on-demand, via hotkey. It is absolutely a great program and it also supports multiple screens.
We’re a little obsessed with these images. Sorry 😉
- 70+ Beautiful Dual Monitors Desktop Wallpapers
- 2xBG dual monitor wallpapers
- Deviant Art (dual monitor search)
- eWallpapers dual monitor (different sizes: 2560×1024; 3200×1200, 5120×1600)
- Wallpaper Abyss dual monitor
- Princeton-affiliated dual monitor desktop backgrounds site
Credits: thanks go to Alaa K for doing most of the testing and screenshots for this article. Illustration credit: we used this wallpaper image to do the illustration on top of this article.
Did we miss anything? Please write your thoughts, ideas, questions, etc. in the comments section below.