Do vertical monitors make you more productive 🖥️?

I’ve been running 3 monitors horizontal on my standing desk for quite a while, and like the setup.

Some advantages of 3 screens:

  • moving eyes is quicker than Alt-tab to another app.
  • more display real-estate also gives you more context
  • head moves around more to look at different places which I think reduces neck strain
  • 3 monitors are nice in that the main monitor can be directly in front of you, rather than looking at the crack in a 2 monitor setup

Recently had the idea to try monitors in a vertical orientation:

Several days into it – did not think it would last very long, but starting to like it and there are some advantages:

  • monitors don’t span as large of a horizontal distance.
  • a lot of content (like web pages, email, code, etc) is vertical, not horizontal. About the only thing that is horizontal is video, wide spreadsheets, and CAD.
  • scrolling (mouse wheels, etc) is naturally vertical, not horizontal

And some disadvantages:

  • moving mouse from outer screens to middle is a little clunky as you have to hit the middle screen
  • move apps in KDE with Meta-arrow is not quite as clean when moving apps from middle to side screens as there is always an extra step.

A 4K monitor is almost twice as wide as it is tall, so with 3 monitors you end up with 6 spaces for apps. Some apps I run in two spaces, but it is pretty similar in the end.

Moving apps around in KDE works well with the Meta + arrow keys:

Are several vertical monitors more productive? I think it is an improvement – primarily because so much of the content we view is vertical in nature.

have you tried all 3 vertical ? I wonder if that would have some new findings, I have never had 3 monitor setup so don’t have much experiences to share.

No, I have not tried all 3 vertical yet – that would be an interesting experiment – especially for someone who does mostly coding. I still do some eCAD work, so I think it would be difficult to do that on a vertical monitor – not necessarily because it could not be done, but just that all the conventions for schematic sheet layout are built around landscape orientation. Additionally, most CAD programs have toolbars on the right/left parts of the screen.

One more observation – with all monitors horizontal, the outer two 1/2 screens on the far left and right were rarely actively used, just because they were so far away, so typically things like chat applications got parked there. With the vertical screens, this space seems more usable.

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