I’ve been a fan of multi-monitor setups for over a decade, and I’ve been thrilled to see Windows expand its support for them as the releases progress. But if you’re serious about getting productive with your monitor array, DisplayFusion is a must-have addition to your setup.
This isn’t anything new, but consider this a heartfelt endorsement for the power user software. DisplayFusion packs more features and tools in its low-overhead program than I can cover in one sitting. But suffice it to say, if there’s something you wish you could do to manage windows, wallpaper, and general interface tweaks for two or more screens, DisplayFusion probably does it.
Briefly: DisplayFusion is a collection of tools that run in the background of Windows, making multiple monitors more user-friendly. The tool can properly format wallpaper, add extra toolbar buttons for moving windows to different monitors, save and retrieve the position of windows or desktop icons, or even fade out secondary monitors to let you focus on your task. Some of these tools Windows has added in 8 and 10, and some it hasn’t, but the one I want to talk about is unique and incredibly useful.
Believe it or not, there’s a desktop computer in between all those toys. Michael Crider
The tool I use most often is the “split” virtual windowing system and the monitor profiles tool that lets me manage it. This creates user-defined window zones, sort of like the default half- and quarter-screen windowing seen in most modern operating systems (WIN key plus arrow keys by default in Windows). But while Windows alone has fairly restrictive interpretations of this idea, DisplayFusion allows the user to set as many of these defined window zones as you like, across multiple displays, with horizontal and vertical splits down to the pixel level.
Let me give you an example in my default work setup. Across my three screens, I keep the center one open, while the right monitor is what I think of as my “communication zone.” Windows maximized on this screen go to DisplayFusion splits on the left or right, with the former generally reserved for the How-To Geek Slack and the right one for TweetDeck. TweetDeck gets particular use from that pixel-perfect split, as I give it just enough room for my main Twitter feed and one news list.
Over on the left monitor, I keep a wide split on the left for general browsing or email, then a similar vertical split on the right. This split is split again into small top and bottom sections: the top for Pandora, YouTube, or Spotify (whichever I’m listening to at the time) and the bottom for Google Keep, where I have my to-do list. The primary monitor is usually either a fullscreen Chrome window or two split evenly as I’m writing and researching.
This means there are six distinct window zones across my three monitors, each carefully defined. Whenever I need a window to go beyond these virtual zones and get fully maximized on the monitor, I just hold Shift and click Maximize. If the desktop formatting is broken—like when one of my monitors is powered off—I can get this setup back in a couple of clicks from the taskbar menu.
Having this tool for my setup has given my daily work a sense of order and structure that I absolutely love. There are tons and tons of other tools in DisplayFusion, with plenty of ways to manage and customize them. But I gladly paid $29 just for this one.
It’s worth noting that the development team is continually updating and improving DisplayFusion. When a minor update added an unwanted space to the top of the window zones, I barely had time to put a complaint on the support forum before a patch was applied to take care of it. If you’re looking for a way to make your windows Windows behave, DisplayFusion is absolutely worth a try. A 30-day trial is available for free.
Here’s What We Like
- Amazing variety of monitor and window tools
- "Split" feature lets you define virtual window zones
- Easy to apply profiles via taskbar or hotkey
And What We Don't
- Setup user interface is a bit intimidating