How to Play Games on Multiple Monitors

By Jessica Reed

Updated September 22, 2017

Items you will need

  • Dual-link output graphics card

  • Computer user manual

  • Monitor user manuals

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As computer games offer players more and more options and menus to use during game play, the screen becomes more crowded and bogged down with icons. Several games have tackled this problem by allowing the use of dual or multiple computer monitors. While two is the standard for multiple monitors, certain gamers use three or more at one time. Proper set-up and an awareness of what you will need is key to playing on multiple monitors.

Check that your computer graphics card has dual-link output. Look in your computer user manual or look up the specifics online if you are unsure. Without a dual-link graphics card, your computer cannot support multiple monitors.

Choose a monitor close to the same size, if not exactly the same, as your first monitor. Keeping roughly the same size makes choosing screen resolution easier. Games will need to choose a resolution for both monitors and often cannot handle two sizes that are vastly different.

Check that the game you want to play supports multiple monitors. Most games do not, though a handful do. World of Warcraft is one game that supports multiple monitors. Typically if a game has this feature it supports dual monitors, meaning it can only work with two.

If you want to play a game that does not support multiple monitors but want to run two monitors at once so you can load the Internet or other program on the second monitor, follow the instructions in this article and skip the steps about configuring your game. You may need to minimize the game to use the second monitor, but once an Internet page is pulled up you can read through it while in game. This trick allows you to use a walk-through while playing the game.

Hook the monitors up to your computer following the instructions. A cord for each monitor will plug into the computer and into the monitor. Special instructions may be listed on the instruction manual, but typically set-up is simple.

Turn your computer on or reboot so it will recognize both monitors. Once the computer loads, right click on your desktop, choose "Properties" and select the screen resolution or appearance tab. Depending on your computer you may have a different option such as "Screen Resolution" when you right click on the desktop. This takes you directly to the menu you need.

Choose the screen resolution you want for each monitor, and select which will be your primary monitor and which will be your secondary. The primary monitor will run most programs when you first open them.

Certain computers give you the option to use your monitors as a single, long desktop instead of two separate desktops. If available, the screen resolution menu will have a horizontal desktop option.

Move a program or game onto the second monitor by minimizing it and dragging the window across the screen from the first monitor onto the second. The mouse will jump from the edge of one monitor screen onto the next.

Open the game you want to play on multiple monitors and choose "Video Options" from the main menu. You may need to choose "Options" and then look for "Video" or "Graphics." Certain games meant for multiple monitors may have a special option on the main menu for setting them up.

Choose a screen resolution for the game that best fits both monitors. If possible, choose a separate resolution for each monitor. If the game allows you to play it across both monitors as one long horizontal desktop, look for a screen resolution that combines the total width of your monitors and has (Wide) at the end. For example, two monitors that are both 1280 x 1024 would use the option 2560 x 1024 (Wide).

Click "OK" to save your settings in your game. Start the game and drag and drop different menus onto different monitors as much as it will allow you. This will vary by game.