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Thread: Need a crash course in dual monitor use...

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    Default Need a crash course in dual monitor use...

    Never used dual monitors before, but will be using my new 17" laptop in a secondary fixed location for awhile, and since I've got a spare 24" widescreen monitor laying around, I thought I'd give duality a try, so that maybe I won't go blind just yet. I guess Autodesk does not themselves support this (according to the knowledge base), so I'm going to need some advice...

    First, the hardware: I have a new HP laptop with Phenom II quad-core, running Win7-64bit. The native graphics is AMD M880G, Radeon HD 4250,with 512MB memory and DirectX-11 support. I can set up the extra monitor as an extension of the desktop, but not really much else (the only other choices seem to be with both displays showing the same space).

    I have just installed a fresh Autocad 2012, and plan to add a 2008 install for certain tasks. I have stretched out the Autocad workspace so that the right side extends onto the second monitor, but this doesn't give me what I hope to achieve, which is a full-screen drawing area on the big monitor, and all the menus and text screen areas on the laptop screen. How do I go about this? I have heard of monitor software (UltraMon and the like), but know very little about it. Does this type of thing integrate smoothly with Autocad? Any performance tradeoffs? What software is preferred among the Autocad crowd?

    I would appreciate any assistance and advice you guys can provide...

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    Certified AUGI Addict jaberwok's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need a crash course in dual monitor use...

    Check "Extend my Windows desktop onto this monitor.
    When you start acad, drag its window onto the extension monitor and maximise it.
    Drag any acad parts you want onto the laptop monitor - assuming their physical layout gives you a workable combination.
    Check if the Radeon driver gives you a "prevent windows from opening off-screen" option; if it doesn't, you may lose parts of acad when/if you use it without the extension monitor.
    Multimon may or may not be very useful but it certainly won't hurt.

    Coincidentally, I just posted a screenshot here and you can see the Multimon taskbar at the bottom of the left and right screens.

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    Default Re: Need a crash course in dual monitor use...

    Thanks, John! It looks like your advice will get it done, although I have to bone up a little on configuring menus and tools once they are undocked and moveable. Do you know if there's a way to move the whole dashboard in 2008?

    I have not yet looked into your advice about the "windows open" option in the Radeon driver. But I will need to overcome that for when I'm using only the laptop display on road trips.

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    Certified AUGI Addict jaberwok's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need a crash course in dual monitor use...

    I'm fairly sure the dashboard could be undocked.

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    Default Re: Need a crash course in dual monitor use...

    Just to be specific here, you are trying to use an external monitor as your primary, and the laptop screen as a secondary monitor?

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    Default Re: Need a crash course in dual monitor use...

    Quote Originally Posted by dgorsman View Post
    Just to be specific here, you are trying to use an external monitor as your primary, and the laptop screen as a secondary monitor?
    Not sure how you would classify primary vs. secondary in this context. I'll be using the laptop monitor for menus, text screen, toolbars, etc (since it's smaller), and the external monitor for as big a drawing area as possible (because it's bigger). I'm mounting the 24" on a pole above the laptop screen. The external monitor is not really needed when I'm doing something other than CAD.

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    Default Re: Need a crash course in dual monitor use...

    The problem you might run into is that AutoCAD tries to remember where you last had dialog boxes. It all works well when your setup stays the same. However, if you have a monitor that comes and goes, it can create problems.

    If you only ever use CAD while you're connected to the big monitor, you probably won't notice anything. Otherwise, you might notice some issues. Hopefully your graphics card will include an option that always forces windows to open in the visible area, otherwise you might run into the issue where dialog boxes and windows try to open up in off-screen areas.

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    Default Re: Need a crash course in dual monitor use...

    Quote Originally Posted by sinc View Post
    Hopefully your graphics card will include an option that always forces windows to open in the visible area, otherwise you might run into the issue where dialog boxes and windows try to open up in off-screen areas.
    Apparently, that is not going to be a problem for me. If I open Autocad without the external monitor connected, it brings the drawing window back to the laptop monitor, with the menus and windows floating in front as they were positioned with the big monitor in action. I just need to redock them to function again as a single display environment.

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    All AUGI, all the time Liamnacuac's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need a crash course in dual monitor use...

    I also have heard some video cards don't like having two different monitors running at different settings. It may just be a specific problem with our cards though.

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    Default Re: Need a crash course in dual monitor use...

    When I had my 24" hooked up to my laptop, and the 24" was the default monitor, time to time it tended to "forget" what my screen resolution was and I had to reset it.
    Michael "MP" Patrick
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