Windows can use multiple screens in several ways, by expanding or duplicating your main monitor. You can even turn off your main monitor. Here’s how to change secondary display settings with a simple keyboard shortcut.
Use of the Windows + P “Project” menu
To quickly change the way Windows 10 handles multiple screens, press Windows + P.
A dark gray menu titled “Project” will appear on the right side of your screen. (It’s a “project” like in a projector, not a “project” like in a task that people work on together.)
From here, you can use the mouse or the cursor and Enter keys to choose the option you want. Here’s what the options do:
PC screen only: This mode only displays the video on the main screen, even if a second is connected.
Duplicate: This mode duplicates the video output from the main display to a second display, which may be ideal for presentations.
To expand: This mode expands the desktop to as many displays as you have connected. It puts them all together in one big virtual office, and you can move windows between them.
Second screen only: This mode only displays video on the second screen, while the main display remains blank and unused.
Examples of using each project option
Keeping in mind the options listed above, let’s take a look at four common multiple display scenarios and see how these options can help you:
Scenario 1: PowerPoint presentation
You have a laptop connected to a digital projector in a conference room, business meeting, or church, and you want to display the contents of your screen through the projector. In this case, you want to choose Duplicate in the Windows + P Project menu. Then start your presentation program as usual and the public will see exactly what you see on your computer screen.
Scenario 2: experienced desktop user
You have two or more monitors to give you more screen space for productivity purposes, such as software development, video editing, stock trading or music production. In this case, you want to use the To expand in the Windows + P Project menu, so you can see as much information as possible at once. You can even move windows between monitors with keyboard shortcut.
Scenario 3: Replacing the laptop monitor
You have a business laptop that you would like to use at home with a large screen, but you don’t need the laptop’s built-in screen. You can even configure the laptop to work with the cover closed, and use an external keyboard and mouse. In this case, you want to choose Second screen only in the Windows Project menu + P.
Scenario 4: Family movie night
It’s a movie night, and you have a new video projector you want to use to watch a movie from your PC. In this case, you can use Duplicate or Second screen only in the Windows Project menu + P. If the projector has a native resolution different from that of your screen, the “second screen only” may work better because Windows will perfectly adapt the output to the projector instead of trying to stretch the resolution of your main screen to adapt it.
More advice on multiple screens
If you don’t have a replacement monitor but have a PC with a built-in screen, you can potentially use it as a second monitor with a wireless technology called Miracast built into Windows 10. And, for more information on how to work productively with multi-monitor configurations, check out our detailed guide to take advantage of the two monitors. Have fun and enjoy the view!