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TUAW Tip: Rockin' multiple monitors with your Mac

Scott McNulty

I just recently plunked down some of my sweet, sweet blogging money for a 24 inch Dell monitor (check out my setup) which I am loving. Setting it up with my MacBook running OS X 10.4.8 was very easy (as long as you have one of these). There are a few things that did get me, which I thought I would point out for you readers out there.

Above you see the Arrangement section from the Display preference pane in System Preferences (note that each display will popup its own Display pref pane, but only the main display will have the Arrangement option). This is where you can do a few things:
  1. Arrange the displays by dragging the boxes that represent them around
  2. Move the Dock and the menu bar to whichever monitor you want to use as you main monitor (as you can see I'm using the 24 incher as my main display)
  3. Mirror the output on each display

This is where you should first go when you have multiple monitors, however, the fun doesn't end there.

I was very excited to play some video content on my Dell 24078WFP (Dell makes a great monitor, but they still can't name things well) so I fired up Camino and went to Apple's movie trailer website to watch some trailers in HD. I clicked on one, QuickTime launched and started to play the trailer... on my MacBook's built-in display. What was going on? I made the Dell my main monitor in the Display Pref pane, why was my Mac being naughty?

Turns out the the Display Pref Pane is for OS elements, not for QuickTime, DVD Player, or iTunes. Those all follow the settings in the QuickTime Full Screen preference, as seen up above. Notice the little QuickTime logo. Just drag that logo onto which monitor you want video to be presented on whilst playing full screen. Notice the 'Display background color on all screens,' this will fill the other screen with whatever color you pick from the color picker next to the 'Full Screen' dropdown. If you leave that unchecked the other monitors will just display whatever you have on them (instead of being blacked out).

I hope this has helped some people with their multiple monitor setups, and if it hasn't I am sure I will hear about it in the comments.

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