For those of us who work in an office, most will agree that adding an extra screen can greatly increase productivity. Having two screens lets those tiny windows become BIG. It can double the real estate for browser windows, chat tabs or your favorite music player. Now, as a web developer, I like to turn the dial up by adding another computer to the mix. This is where it can get tricky. Do I use two keyboards and two mice? What about copying a URL from one computer to the other. Yikes! This might not be the best idea after all. But. this is where a magnificent product called Synergy comes in.
Synergy allows a single keyboard and mouse to control both computers. The setup is fairly simple. After installing the software on both computers, designate the primary ‘server’ which is where the mouse and keyboard plug in, then connect the client computer to it. Whew, almost done. Onto the final part: Designate where the computers’ screens will share an edge. So when you drag the mouse across the edge it will zoom right onto the other computer. Synergy even copies what was in the clipboard across to your alternate computer. Pretty neat right?
Now, how about turning it up to 11? For me, this entails having two screens run from my MacBook Pro and two running from Windows 10. Here’s my home setup:
The left and right are both running Windows while the middle and bottom are the MacBook. With some advanced configuration, I got the mouse to flow all the way across and back around again creating a full loop. Next, I made it so that the tops and bottoms also reflow so that I can quickly go top to bottom and bottom to top. With no walls for my mouse to get stopped, my movements had to be far more precise and keyboard shortcuts took over when I needed to resize a window.
Initially, it was confusing and took a while to get used to the new lack of mouse limits. After playing with it for a couple of days it became intuitive. My mouse would zoom across two screens paste a URL in the browser and head back to continue coding while my resource loaded.
Next time we can cover those odd split keyboards you see on either side of the laptop.