If you’re a programmer, researcher, or remote worker, you understand just how much a dual-monitor setup can transform your work experience. Long gone are the days of splitting your one screen in two when multi-tasking. Now, you’re on a mission to create the most productive screen setup possible!
However, there is one problem: your computer only has one available HDMI port. Is there a way to connect two monitors to one computer using one HDMI port?
Yes, there is!
In this guide, I’ll teach you how to connect two monitors to one HDMI port in a few simple steps and discuss if this process is also possible using Macs. I’ll also cover how to create a duplicate monitor setup using a DisplayPort and HDMI splitter.
Let’s get started!
- How to Connect Two Monitors to a Laptop?
- Does MacBook Support Two External Monitors?
- How to Setup Dual Monitors With HDMI and DisplayPort
- Bonus: Use HDMI Splitter To Duplicate Images
- Wrapping Things Up
How to Connect Two Monitors to a Laptop?
Using USB to HDMI Adapter (Windows Only)
To create a dual monitor setup with one HDMI port on your laptop using Windows monitors, you may need a USB to HDMI adapter .
This nifty adapter connects to your laptop’s USB port, giving it HDMI capabilities and allowing users to simultaneously connect two HDMI-compatible monitors to it.
Once you’ve purchased the USB to HDMI adapter, follow the steps below to create your dual monitor setup.
Step 1: Connect your monitors and laptops to stable power sources.
Step 2: Plug the USB to HDMI adapter into your laptop’s USB port.
Step 3: For the next two steps, you will need two HDMI cables. Plug one end of your first HDMI cable into the USB to HDMI adapter before connecting the other end to your first monitor.
Step 4: Now it’s time to connect the second HDMI cable to the second monitor follow the instructions found in Step 3.
Step 5: Next, simultaneously press the Windows and P keys on your laptop and select the Extend display option to see the laptop screen on your monitors.
Using an HDMI Port + One Other Display Video Port
The average computer comes with more than one video port.
We’ve identified that yours has an HDMI port so now confirm what additional ports are on the computer. These could be a USB, VGA, DisplayPort, or DVI port.
If at least one port on the computer is similar to one port on the monitor, the two should connect seamlessly.
For example, you can connect a monitor with a DVI port to the DVI port on your computer. And the same applies to monitors with DisplayPort and VGA ports.
Here’s how to make the connection:
Step 1: Plug one end of an HDMI cable into the HDMI port of your computer.
Step 2: Plug the other end of the cable into the HDMI port of the first monitor.
Step 3: Take a VGA/DisplayPort/DVI (as applicable) cable and plug one end into the corresponding computer port.
Step 4: Plug the other end of the cable into the VGA/DisplayPort/DVI port on your second monitor.
Step 5: Turn on the monitor, and it will automatically detect the HDMI input.
Does MacBook Support Two External Monitors?
Unfortunately, these chips’ capabilities limit your macOS device’s capabilities to one external display, meaning you can not connect two monitors to it, even if you use an adapter.
How to Setup Dual Monitors With HDMI and DisplayPort
If your PC or laptop has one HDMI port along with one DisplayPort (DP) or Thunderbolt port, consider connecting your second monitor to your Displayport. This is a great alternative to using a USB to HDMI adapter.
Follow our guide to connecting two monitors to one PC using HDMI and DisplayPort.
Step 1: Plug your two monitors and PC into power outlets.
Step 2: Connect one end of your HDMI cable to the monitor and the other end to your PC’s HDMI port.
Step 3: Then, plug one end of your DisplayPort cable into your monitor and the other end into your PC’s DisplayPort.
Read our guide to learn how to connect two monitors to a laptop using HDMI and Thunderbolt.
Step 1: Connect your laptop and monitors’ power cables to wall outlets.
Step 2: Plug one side of your HDMI cable into your monitor and the other side into your laptop’s HDMI port.
Step 3: Finally, connect your Thunderbolt cable to your second monitor before connecting the other end to your laptop’s Thunderbolt port.
Bonus: Use HDMI Splitter To Duplicate Images
If you want to duplicate one image onto two screens and only have one HDMI port on your PC/laptop, consider using an HDMI splitter.
Let’s learn how!
HDMI splitters will not extend your PC’s display between two screens. Instead, it will simply duplicate the same display on both screens, which is perfect if you want to display a video or presentation on multiple monitors.
If this is your desired setup, keep reading to learn how to create it.
Step 1: Plug your monitors and PC into power.
Step 2: Connect one end of an HDMI cable to your computer’s HDMI port and the other end to the HDMI splitter’s HDMI INPUT port.
Step 3: Use your second HDMI cable to connect your first monitor to the HDMI splitter’s HDMI OUTPUT port.
Step 4: Connect your second monitor to the HDMI splitter using the same method.
You can also use an HDMI splitter with a laptop, though the display-extension process will vary slightly from using it with a PC.
Connecting a PC to two monitors with an HDMI splitter will result in the display’s content being exactly replicated on both monitors. Using an HDMI splitter to connect two monitors to one laptop with also result in the second monitor replicating the first monitor’s display.
However, when you configure both monitors to Extend mode, your laptop with be recognized as screen one and the two monitors as screen two. This means that you can have one image on your laptop and another on your two monitors.
Step 1: Power your monitors and laptop.
Step 2: Connect one end of an HDMI cable to the laptop’s HDMI port and the other end to the HDMI splitter’s HDMI INPUT port.
Step 3: Plug one side of your second HDMI cable into the first monitor’s HDMI port and the other side into the HDMI splitter’s HDMI OUTPUT port.
Step 4: Repeat Step 3 for your second monitor using your third HDMI cable.
Wrapping Things Up
You can absolutely connect two monitors to one HDMI port, but the results will vary depending on your setup. Dual-monitor setups can be created using a USB to HDMI adapter with a Windows laptop or by connecting your second monitor to your PC’s DisplayPort or Thunderbolt port.
Alternatively, you can use an HDMI splitter to duplicate one image on two monitors. This process can extend your laptop screen as it will be considered screen one while your two monitors will be screen two.
What’s your experience connecting two monitors to a computer using one HDMI port? Which of the setups listed above do you use for your two-monitor setup?
Let us know in the comments below!
Yesenia Achlim is a technical copywriter and editor with a focus on AV equipment. She aims to break down complicated topics and make technology accessible, no matter your technical expertise. When she’s not teaching you how to replace a projector lamp, you can find her reading and baking.