All for one
When I write my books, I use four or five screens. My Windows 7 workstation has three, as illustrated below by the screen grab:
- In the center is the main 23" monitor (running at a higher than typical resolution of 2048 x 1152 ) for the InDesign desktop publishing software that I use. I find that InDesign fits two pages better with this higher-res monitor than on standard HD-res monitors.
- On the right is the second monitor, 18" and 1360 x 768, for InDesign’s many palettes and PaintShop Pro (for editing figures). The secondary monitor with lower resolution is beneficial, because it makes the user interface larger and so easier to read.
- At the left is the third monitor (21" at 1920 x 1080 or "HD") for displaying the software about which I am writing -- BricsCAD currently.
Combo Mac-and-Linux System
Because BricsCAD also runs on Linux and OS X, I have the cheapest Mac mini connected to a separate 23" 1920 x 1080 monitor -- screen #4.
To handle Linux, I have the Mac running the VM Virtual Box software from Oracle (free from www.virtualbox.org). I installed the Mint Linux operating system, which also is free (from www.linuxmint.com/download.php).
In the figure below, the “linuxmint” window is running on the Mac desktop; I outlined the Virtual Box window in green. The Oracle software acts just like another application on the Mac; no need to pay for Parallels Desktop software. Versions of Virtual Box are also available for Windows and Linux.
Windows 8.x and 10 Systems
To check how BricsCAD works with Windows 8.x and 10, I have separate computers running those operating systems.
Windows 8 runs on a touchscreen all-in-one desktop, whose monitor is borrowed by the Mac (screen #4). A button on the all-in-one computer switches the HDMI input between Windows (internal) and Mac (external).
Finally, I have Windows 10 Technical Preview running on a Surface-class Sony 12" HD tablet (with keyboard and pen) -- screen #5.
Sharing Screen Grabs
When I make screen grabs on them or the Mac-Linux system, Dropbox captures the images automatically, and then places them in a folder on my Windows 7 computer for placement in the InDesign document.
In this case, Dropbox uses LAN mode, so that the files are transferred using my office's local area network, meaning the images show up a second or two after I make the screen grab.
If your computer’s graphics board is limited to working with one (or two) monitors, there is a workaround. DisplayLink is a USB dongle that allows you to add a monitor without needing a video port. Windows sees the dongle simply as another screen.
One end plugs into a spare USB port; the other end features a DisplayPort port. Several manufacturers make the hardware for under $70; see www.displaylink.com/shop. Software is included that runs on the computer to redirect the “second screen” graphics to the dongle.