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Visual Studio and dual/multiple monitors: how do I get optimized use out of my monitors? (6)

have one tab of code open on one monitor and a second tab of code open on the second monitor with only one instance of Visual Studio running

you can simply drag a Tab outside of VS onto your other screen.

Ultramon is a great program for dual monitors (stretching screen across monitors), but I was wondering if there is any way do to something in Visual Studio like have one tab of code open on one monitor and a second tab of code open on the second monitor with only one instance of Visual Studio running?

Or are there any other suggestions on getting most bang for buck on dual monitors and Visual Studio?

I have three monitors, so I usually run with this configuration:

  • Left Monitor: documentation / ebooks.
  • Middle Monitor: code / debugging
  • Right Monitor: Test application / scrolling logfiles (if needed)

This usually works pretty well, and since the monitors are fairly big I rarely need to use the test application in full-screen, so there's plenty of room for my tail -f windows.

I also use AutoHotkey to assign hotkeys that flip to the most important windows, like Firefox or my SSH session. That way I can simply use a shortcut key to access them when necessary.

The left monitor is actually a separate computer running Linux and keyboard/mouse shared with Synergy, so I have multiple ebooks or documentation pages open, one on each virtual desktop... I can flip between the documentation by moving my mouse to the left and using a shortcut key.

Personally, I have my windows set up so that one my main monitor, I have the main visual studio monitor, so therefore my code window, maximized, with only the toolbox docked, on the left. This means the code window takes up as much space as possible, while keeping the left hand edge of the code close to the middle of the screen, where my eyes naturally look. My main monitor is a wide screen, so I find that gives me more than enough room for my code.

My secondary monitor has a second window, which contains the tool windows that I use. So I have solution explorer, error list, task list (//todo: comments), output window, find results etc. all taking up as much space as they like on my secondary monitor.

When debugging, the solution explorer moves the main monitor, and the watch, autos and locals windows take its place.

I find this gives me a very large area to write code, and really helps usage of all of those additional windows, by giving them more real estate than they'd usually have.

Update: In response to everyone talking about using the second monitor for documentation or running the app, I wholeheartedly agree, and forgot to mention how I do that. I use PowerMenu alot to acheive this. Basically I can right-click on any window and set Always On Top. So while i'm debugging, i want to see my output window, but then if I have to refer to some documentation, I just flick to Mozilla (on the second monitor), set it on top, and go back to visual studio. I find this lets me manage the tool windows without having to either shuffle them around a lot, or take up valuable space in the code window.

Multiple Monitors with Visual Studio 2008

If you right click on the file tabs, there's an option for "New Vertical Tab group" Just maximize across both monitors and put the divider on the monitor divide and I think that's what you're after.

Start Debugging from Visual Studio to Second Monitor

You can't really expect VS to deal with your application's window, so make your gui applications remember the position they had when closed previously. This not only solves the problem you describe perfectly (well, after the very first run), it also makes for a nicer user experience. Look at Get/SetWindowPlacement (can easily be used from C# as well).