It seems like that when a lot of people first get started in trading, one of the things that they think they need to do is get as many external monitors as they can. That was certainly the case with me.
I wish I had a picture of my setup back then, but I actually had 4 monitors attached to a desktop computer, plus a laptop with another external monitor attached to it for a total of 6 monitors. The whole thing was ghetto rigged on a set of shelves that I made myself.
Did I need all those monitors? Not at all.
What I should have been concentrating on was developing a trading method because monitors don't make you money, trading strategies do.
However, if you do have a trading plan and are looking for the best way to get more monitors on your desk, then this post will give you some options on how do to it. Luckily, most of the options out there today are affordable and easy to use.
USB Multi Monitor Adapters Makes Expanding Your Monitors Easy
This is the way that I recommend you go because these monitors adapters are affordable, they usually work well and you can easily move them from one computer to another.
Team them up with an affordable monitor (see below) and you are good to go. Just be sure that you have the right connector type for you monitor (VGA, DVI, HDMI) and to take advantage of faster interfaces like USB 3.0, if possible.
In order to use these, just plug the USB end into your computer and plug your monitor into the adapter. In some cases, there will be some software that you have to install on your computer to get it to work. Then you go into your operating system and control the monitor setup from there.
Back when I had a desktop computer, I used three of these adapters to achieve my four monitor setup (plus the video card built into the computer). Double check what kind of USB port your computer has and what kind of connectors your monitor(s) has. I have created a list for you to choose from, check it out.
LCD monitors have become increasingly affordable over the years. I remember when it was really expensive to get a small 15 inch monitor. Although I haven't personally used every single monitor on the market, but I use and and recommend Samsung monitors.
They are usually very reliable, look good and they have great looking displays. Obviously results will vary by model, but that is a good place to start.
I would go for a 32 inch screen if you can afford it, but the 27 inch is very nice too. I would recommend these sizes because it really helps when you need to see the maximum amount of history on your charts.
If you shop around, you can get a great monitor for about $200. If you don't want to shop around, you can get one for about $300 (at the time this post was written).
You can also find some good deals on Craigslist or Amazon.
Making Metatrader Multi Monitor Compatible
Now that you have all the hardware for your trading, let's talk a little about Forex trading software. Metatrader is the defacto standard when it comes to free charting on a desktop. It has almost everything you might need in charting software.
But there is one big issue with it.
You cannot detach the chart windows and use them on multiple monitors. You are stuck with just one window and that's it. That means you are forced to create different profiles within Metatrader or just keep flipping through the tabs at the bottom of the window.
But what is the use in having all these cool monitors if you are locked into one Metatrader screen? Pretty lame, right?
To get around this, you can use multiple charting platforms or mulitple Metatrader installs from multiple brokers. But anytime you start using quotes from anyone besides your broker, there will be differences in the quotes and can lead to trading mistakes.
Here is a quick video on how it works:
Note: Special thanks to Colin Jessup for this tip on Twitter.
What if I Have a Mac?
First of all, congratulations on choosing a superior computer.
You can use some of the multi monitor adapters above because some are compatible. Be sure that you check first. But newer Macs do have the built in tech to run up to two external Thunderbolt Dispays. Be sure that your system is compatible before buying anything.
All you do is plug the special Thunderbolt Cable into both monitors, then into your Mac. Easy.
However, those Thunderbolt Displays aren't cheap. They will run you about $1,000 each. But they sure are sexy…
If you have any questions, check the Thunderbolt Display FAQ.
As far as ease of use and maximum expandability, it doesn't seem to get better than the SideCar from Digital Tigers…at least from my research. The SideCar only works on Windows laptops because it uses the Express Card and PCMCIA connections to attach the SideCar to your laptop.
But with prices starting a $999 and up, it is not really an option for most beginning traders. In fact, I wouldn't recommend it unless you are making some serious dinero from you trading. And even if you are, you probably don't really need it.
Digital Tigers also does full-on trading computers that can handle up to 24 monitors. That particular system runs about $7,000…in case you were wondering. But seriously, who needs 24 freaking monitors to trade?
That just sounds like trouble. But if you are in the “more is better” camp, then consider yourself inspired.
If these are options are something that you might be interested in, you can check out the Digital Tigers website for more information. Otherwise, for mere mortal traders like us, you will probably be more interested in the other options above.
So how many extra monitors should you get?
That is up to you of course. However, I don't really see the need for more than three monitors. I actually only use two, my laptop and one external monitor.
Consider how many markets you watch at once and if you need to see other screens like news events or correlated markets. If you are a day trader, you may need more screens if you watch several different pairs at once.
But for swing traders like me, two screens is plenty. 🙂
What do you use for your multi monitor setup? Leave a comment below and keep us up do date with the latest cool trading tech.
Disclaimer: Links in this post may be affiliate links were I receive a commission if you purchase through those links. But your support helps the blog and I donate a portion to my charity partner. 🙂