Monitor Madness? Here’s How to Set Up Your Monitor(s)


A few months ago, we published a two part series to help you set yourself up as comfortably as possible. If you haven’t read them, we suggest you take a quick look at Pain Free Typing Part 1: Choosing the Right Keyboard and Pain Free Typing Part 2: Choosing the Right Mouse.

We’d be remiss however, if we didn’t include the obvious third part which is choosing the right monitor set up!  Between the options of having one, two and maybe even three monitors to work with, laptop screens, monster monitors, tablets and even smart phones, it’s pretty safe to say that for many of us, it’s monitor madness!

Here are some guidelines to hep you weight out the pro’s and cons of various set up options and choose the one that’s right for you!

Check Up From the Neck Up:  No matter how many monitors you use, the primary goal is to keep your head balanced comfortably over the plane of your spine.  If you have to look up or crouch down, crane your neck forward or you are struggling to see, then something is off.

Set your monitor (or monitors) up so that your eyes are level with the top third of the screen(s), you are at a comfortable distance (about an arm’s length away) and that you are not having to turn your neck to the right or left in order to see your monitor.  Read on for more tips.

  • Monitor Tip #1: If you use multiple monitors, align yourself in front of the primary monitor or center yourself in between your monitors if you use them both equally.
  • Monitor Tip #2: If you use a laptop as your primary or secondary monitor, than invest in a laptop riser (reams of paper work too!) and raise the monitor so that it is at eye level.
  • Monitor Tip #3:  If you wear bifocals, your monitor will have to be lowered accordingly.
  • Monitor Tip #4:  If you alternate between sitting and standing, invest in a monitor arm so you can easily adjust your monitor height in each position.
  • Monitor Tip #5: Tablets and smartphones count as screens. If you use a tablet at your desk or for any prolonged period of time, get a tablet stand (which can also be used for your smart phone) and give your neck a break!
  • Monitor Tip #6: Try to avoid glare and working close to a sunny window.  Make sure to close or adjust your blinds or shading so that the light does not fall directly onto your monitor.  If the overhead light is bothersome, try using a table lamp or task lamp on either side of your monitor.  And finally, adjust the settings on your monitor.  Good contrast and brightness settings make a big difference!

Oh.  And please check your vision! Sitting in front of your monitor(s) can cause eyestrain which is often caused by poor eyesight and/or bad lighting. Whatever the cause, impaired vision can produce eyestrain and headaches. And don’t forget that impaired vision can cause poor posture caused by leaning forward and craning your neck to see your screen or documents. Annual visits to your eye doctor is a must!

If you want to learn more about monitors and eye health, check out this recent ErgoChat with Dr. Paul Bommarito!  


Do you wrestle with your monitors?  What strategies have you developed to help you?  Please share in the comments below!

Until the next time, be happy, energized and productive!

Vivienne & Andrew, PBE Co-Founders & Co-Authors

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