Whether you’re streaming your games online or working in an industry where information flows quickly, having more screen space is always good! And while adding one or two monitors to your laptop is a relatively simple process, three monitors need a lot of finesse to connect.
This guide will cover everything you need to know about connecting multiple displays to your laptop quickly and easily. Let’s dive right into it.
Why have a laptop with 3 monitors?
With the expansion of the information age, technology has allowed us to process a lot more data very quickly – the only thing that is limited now is our eyes. Having multiple monitors helps you intake information far more rapidly (you don’t have to waste time switching between tabs) and increase productivity.
Increasing the number of external monitors for your laptop can help you get on top of the workload for specific high-stress industries and help in cutting-edge markets like video streaming on Twitch. But even if you’re not in a demanding business sector, additional monitors are also a quality-of-life improvement for casual users and gamers alike.
You’ll need multiple screens to make it work if you want to connect your Nintendo Switch to your laptop display or stream your PS4 games on a tertiary laptop screen. Remember that you’ll need a powerful laptop to run intensive applications simultaneously, so be prepared to adjust your multitasking capabilities to your desktop computers.
How to connect multiple displays to your laptop
There are a few ways to connect multiple displays to your laptop, but before you start reading, check your computer and the number of display ports it has. Display ports come in various shapes and sizes – the most common are:
- An HDMI port.
- DVI port.
- VGA port.
- USB Type-C port.
- Thunderbolt (exclusive to Macs).
- A mini display port.
Once you’ve taken inventory of how many ports you have, do the same for the corresponding cables. Unless you plan to purchase an external monitor immediately, you’ll need a suitable cable to connect your monitor. Once you’ve done that, here’s how to connect your displays to your laptop.
Connecting Monitors with USB-C ports
Most modern laptops have access to a USB-C port, so we’ll start with that! The easiest way to connect a third monitor to your laptop through USC-C ports is using a USB-C hub.
A USB-C hub is a connector with multiple ports to connect your monitors to (usually four HDMI ports). These come reasonably cheaply and are available at your local Walmart or any other supermarket! You can connect up to four HDMI ports to your single USB-C port using the connector.
The advantage of using USB-C is that your resolution needs limit you – if you need two 4K monitors or a single 8K monitor, then USB-C is the way to go if your device offers support.
Before you purchase one, however, always double check your laptop has USB-C port support and display port functionality.
Connecting Monitors with HDMI Splitters
HDMI splitters are also a straightforward way of doubling your display ports and allowing an additional monitor to be connected to your laptop. The beauty of the HDMI splitter is that it’s a cheap and easy fix to your problem – all you need to do is connect your monitors to the dual HDMI adapter, and you’re done.
The only catch is this; the two monitors will show you the same thing. While that may be a bummer to those planning to extend their display tab over two or more monitors, it is still beneficial.
You can stream the same movie or video simultaneously to you and your friends or allow for multiple participants to see what you’re showing during a conference or meeting; even better if you have a touch screen laptop.
Connecting Monitors with USB Adapters
Did you know that your laptop’s USB port can be an alternate way to connect your computer to an external monitor? You’ll need to purchase a USB to HDMI adapter to plug in your new monitor, but once you have one, a new world opens up!
All the USB ports that your laptop has are suddenly additional HDMI ports that can support more monitors, which is extremely useful if your laptop only comes with one HDMI port to start with.
Connecting Monitors with Chromecast
If you’re not interested in buying additional docking stations and video ports for your laptop, you can circumnavigate all that and use Chromecast instead! Chromecasting is throwing up your windows to another applicable screen and then utilizing both!
The Chrome browser has this built-in, although it only duplicates your screen, and you may find a dip in screen resolution. Several applications do this in addition to the Chrome browser, and you’ll need to check the app’s display settings to confirm. Here are the ones that we know to work without issue:
You’ll find plenty of applications supporting Chromecasting, which you can find on the app store.
Frequently Asked Questions
Have something on your mind? Look at our selection of frequently asked questions and discover new things you still need to learn about adding more monitors to your laptop!
How do I extend 3 monitors from my laptop?
We’ve shown you ways to change and remix your ports to allow you to extend your monitor to three other external monitors, but the easiest, although highest cost is just to purchase a docking station with three video ports.
These multi-media adapters allow you to connect your 1440p and above monitor to your laptop. Always ensure that your laptop can handle displaying the number of monitors you need by running a performance testing tool.
How many monitors can a laptop support?
This depends on the model of the laptop you have. A desktop computer that sits in a stylish case will undoubtedly be able to handle more monitors than a laptop, but some modern laptops are no joke.
Typically, a laptop can have about 3 or 4 monitors connected at a single time; any more and the graphics processor won’t be able to keep up with the demand. Consider purchasing a tablet to act as an additional monitor instead.
How to set up 3 monitors on a laptop using a docking station?
Connecting your monitors is relatively simple once you receive the correct ports and adapters.
Arrange the monitors as you want, connect them to your laptop, and then turn them on!
We’ve outlined a couple of different ways to add more monitors to your laptop, and the best results will come from mixing and matching processes. You can add more monitors to your USB-C adapters and then also Chromecast your screen or add another one using a dual HDMI adapter.
Do whatever is needed, but remember that your laptop can only handle so much!
Writer Graham Grieve brings two decades of technical communications experience to The Holy Tech coverage. Isaac contributes articles on laptops, tablets and PCs, alongside various software and hardware guides. Isaac is a former newspaper journalist who also worked in tech communications for some of the country’s biggest corporations. He also counsels and creates material for other technology publications and hosts a podcast.
Isaac’s in-depth reporting and knowledge of hardware and software issues helps The Holy Tech’s readers learn how to choose the right products, or solve tricky problems.