At a Glance
- Powerful wallpaper handling
- Lacks “window grid” functionality
This “Swiss Army knife” utility provides a host of tools for working with multiple monitors.
Working with multiple monitors can boost productivity, but it
also presents challenges. For example, not everyone likes to have
the same wallpaper on all monitors, or even the same screensaver.
DisplayFusion Pro ($25, 30-day free trial) lets you assign
per-monitor wallpapers and screensavers, but that’s just the
DisplayFusion 3.3.1’s rich configuration interface can be used
to assign hotkeys to numerous window management operations, such as
moving windows around, spanning a window across all monitors, and
even locking the mouse cursor to the current monitor or window. You
can also assign any of these actions to a “TitleBar
Button”–a small button that DisplayFusion overlays on the
active window, next to the Minimize, Maximize, and Close buttons
When my girlfriend started using multiple monitors, she was
surprised to discover that the Windows taskbar doesn’t span
monitors, but shows only on the primary display. DisplayFusion Pro
can correct this by adding a taskbar to each “extra”
monitor. The extra taskbar looks just like the native Windows one,
but has a different context menu. You can have it show icons only
for windows on that monitor, or for all currently running
applications. If you move your “real” taskbar to a
different edge of the screen, DisplayFusion automatically moves the
extra taskbar to the corresponding edge on its own monitor, so all
screens always look alike.
DisplayFusion Pro’s wallpaper management tools are
powerful enough to warrant their own configuration interface,
separate from the main Settings dialog. They rival John’s
Wallpaper Switcher, which is saying something. You can set
different wallpaper for each monitor, or span a single image across
all monitors. DisplayFusion can show a random image out of a
collection stored on a local hard drive, but it can also grab
images from Flickr and VladStudio. It has a dedicated interface for
each of these websites; for example, the Flicker interface lets you
specify search keywords and specific Flickr groups you’d like
to poll for images.
You can have the wallpaper randomly change on each monitor every
now and then, and even set a different switching interval for each
of your monitors. So, for example, you could have the secondary
monitor change wallpapers more often than the primary monitor,
because it’s usually less crowded with windows.
When dragging windows around on a large workspace, it’s
often nice to have their borders snap together, so you can neatly
line them up. DisplayFusion’s Window Snapping option does
this, and can also snap windows the edge of each monitor. You can
also configure the snapping distance, or have windows snap only
when you hold a key down while dragging.
If you’re bored with the default Windows Logon screen
background, DisplayFusion lets you easily change it. You can use
the same background as your current wallpaper, but if you’re
using DisplayFusion to randomly switch wallpapers at a set
interval, this may not be a good idea: DisplayFusion has to pop up
a UAC prompt every time it wants to change the Logon screen
The popular free version of
DisplayFusion doesn’t do per-monitor taskbars–the main selling
point of the Pro app–and has a less comprehensive set of hotkeys.
It can’t modify the Windows logon background, either. However, the
two programs use the same installer. If you’re using the free
version, you can activate the Pro trial by filling out a form and
requesting a trial key.
DisplayFusion Pro is bursting with options and functionality.
The only thing left wanting is grid-like window positioning using
the number pad, à la WinSplit