Quickly Swap Screen Configurations Under Windows 7

If you chop and change between external screens and data projectors you might be frustrated with having to go into the display properties in Windows and setting up the new device as a secondary screen and working some magic to get it all working. Generally, laptops have the ability to swap between several display outputs using a special key combination but this can differ between models and manufacturers. Furthermore, desktop computers aren’t so lucky in most cases to have dedicated key combinations for the purpose of changing screen configurations.

If your computer is running Windows 7 there is a simple and uniform way you can toggle between several modes of display, specifically:

  • computer only,
  • duplicate (mirror the image on both displays),
  • extend (each display has its own separate desktop space),
  • projector only.

Confusingly, on my desktop computer the default state that works with my primary monitor is “projector only” whereas I would have expected “computer only” to be the default. Your mileage may vary with your setup though.

Anyway, all you need to do to toggle between these modes is by using the Windows + P key combinations which will display a menu to show the toggle selection window.

Windows 7 Display Toggle

Windows 7 Display Toggle

It’s a cinch to use and it can save you many mouse clicks and is just as easy as using the machine specific key combination to change displays whilst taking out the guesswork in working out which of those tiny pictures on the keyboard actually relates to switching between displays.

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