How to Add a Second Monitor in Ubuntu Linux

This post describes steps one can take to add a second or external monitor in Ubuntu Linux.

Ubuntu Linux is capable of working with multiple displays or monitors. If you have additional monitors that you want to extend your work to, simply plug into your Ubuntu Linux machine and start working.

Your computer will automatically try to detect the second monitor when attached. If Ubuntu Linux does not automatically recognize the second monitor or you would like to adjust the settings, then you can do it from Ubuntu system settings app.

With two screens, these display modes are available:

  • Join Displays: screen edges are joined so things can pass from one display to another.
  • Mirror: the same content is shown on two displays, with the same resolution and orientation for both.
  • Single Display: only one display is configured, effectively turning off the other one.

Below is how to add a second monitor to Ubuntu Linux.

How to set up additional monitors in Ubuntu Linux

As described above, Ubuntu Linux is capable of working with multiple displays or monitors. Below we’ll show you how to add a second monitor to Ubuntu Linux.

Ubuntu Linux has a centralized location for majority of its settings. From system configurations to creating new users and updating, all can be done from the System Settings panel.

ubuntu linux activities overview jpg

Alternatively, click on the System menu at the top-right corner of the top bar on your desktop.

On the System menu, select Settings as highlighted below.

ubuntu linux system menu top bar settings jpg

In the Settings app, click on Display tile to open the panel.

ubuntu linux displays tile settings jpg

In the display arrangement diagram, drag your displays to the relative positions you want.

Select the display number for the display that you would like to configure and make it primary or secondary. You can also drag the screens to the desired relative positions.

ubuntu second monitor display updated jpg

The primary display is the one with the Dock, top bar with the menu, and where the Activities overview is shown.

With two screens, these display modes are available:

  • Join Displays: screen edges are joined so things can pass from one display to another.
  • Mirror: the same content is shown on two displays, with the same resolution and orientation for both.
  • Single Display: only one display is configured, effectively turning off the other one.

With both monitors shown, you can select the orientation, resolution or scale, and refresh rate for each of the monitor if they need adjustments.

After making all your changes, click Apply. The new settings will be applied for 20 seconds before reverting back.

That should do it! You can now close the Settings app.

Conclusion:

This post showed you how to add a second monitor in Ubuntu Linux. If you find any error above or have something to add, please use the comment form below to report.

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