Second monitor **above** laptop screen setup?

Used to use the monitor above laptop setup all the time because I didn’t have an external keyboard before. Nowadays my normal configuration has my MBP on a stand to the right of my monitor because I got an external keyboard. I still use laptop-below-monitor sometimes though because if I need to fill out something on paper, I need to use the space on my desk where my external keyboard normally goes.


I personally wouldn’t recommend such setup. Having the external monitor above eye level is the definition of anti ergonomic. That will have long term effect on your neck and will cause headaches. Please try to reconsider this setup.

Thanks for the concern. I’m very conscious about ergonomics- you may have noticed my keyboard. My external monitor will be at exactly the right height if I make this work at all.

I currently have both setups at home. I have a 27" iMac with a second 27" LG display and they are side by side. I also have a work laptop which sits below the LG (on a monitor arm so I can reposition it depending on which computer it is working with). Both systems work quite well, however when using the LG with the iMac, it has to be tilted on an angle.

At work, I have the laptop off to the side and have a 34" ultrawide display that is the primary one.

In the fullness of time, I think I’ll be upgrading my home system to a single ultrawide display (at least 34" but likely larger) and drive it with either the new Mac mini or, if the M1X macbook pro is fast enough for gaming (X-Plane) I would prefer that.

Upgrade won’t be happening for a couple of years though, so probably the next generation of the Macbook Pro.

Ok, I won’t argue any more, just this time. This probably means your laptop monitor will be at very low level also creating neck pain because your will lean your neck downwards to look at it

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We’ll see you again in 6 months :rofl::sweat_smile:


Well, I’ve gotten the temporary setup in place. If I stick with it, I’ll need a proper riser for the laptop (the one I had before is about 1" too tall) as well as a Thunderbolt dock. I’m going to try to work with this today and see how things go.

I’ve used a similar setup for years – ever since Touch ID. But I use the keyboard on the laptop and have the external monitor above that.

Laptops force a compromise on ergonomics. Either the keyboard is too high when the monitor is in the correct location, or the monitor is too low if the keyboard is correctly positioned. Pick your poison.

For me, I have carpal tunnel syndrome and cervical spine problems. So, the laptop monitor is low and I only use it for ancillary information – quick glances, copy/pasting, etc. The main, large, monitor is at the correct height and distance (about arm’s length).

I tried them next to one another, with the laptop to the side. (Because of my neck, the main monitor must be straight ahead of me, not on an angle.) I don’t like how unbalanced it is, and my desk isn’t quite big enough for this to be comfortable. But it did allow me to use an extended keyboard, which was nice.

Right now, I keep my iPad Pro on the desktop to the right, on an original Parc Slope. If I were to use it simultaneously with my other devices, I’d have to raise it up more.


Well, after using it for a couple of days in temporary mode, I don’t think it’s worth trying to make this a permanent setup. I got a pretty bad headache on Friday going between the two monitors. I don’t know why, but it was clearly the cause because every time I’d stay away from my desk for a couple of hours I’d begin to feel better. I felt fine over the weekend and now, after only 1/2 hour back at the desk, the headache is starting again. I can only guess that it’s the constant up/down movement of my eyes between the two screens. Everything else (lighting, external monitor, desk position, etc.) is the same as I’ve had it for years.

It throws a wrench in whether or not I keep the 16" MBP, frankly. The only reason to get it over the 14" (for me) was that I could use it as a second monitor when at my desk until the new iMacs are released. Now I’m thinking that rather than a high-end 16", I should get a low/mid-range 14" in basically clamshell mode (which I hate, but using up that much desk space for TouchID just seems silly). Bah.

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I think this is the way I work best, even if it means a single monitor. I can use the iPad for some tasks where a second monitor would be really helpful, but I like looking straight ahead instead of side to side with dual monitors. (And, as we established, up and down doesn’t work at all for me.)

Regarding headaches: some people are more sensitive to electromagnetic pollution than others.
Since I work surrounded by lots of equipment, I prefer using cabled connections wenever I can (instead of using WiFi or Bluetooth). Even on my cell phone, I keep it on airplane mode (whenever I can).
My headaches diminished after taking these measures.

If your workstation is close to a fridge (even if it is on the other side of the wall): that’s the biggest indoor motor (w/ the greatest electromagnetic fields).

My home also has no Smart Meters, and I only turn WiFi on for specific tasks.

Of course, most people don’t feel these symptoms.
But EMF pollution is cummulative, some effects can happen long-term. Basically, it interferes with how cells’ membranes function, making it harder for our bodies to get rid of what we should get rid of.

I studied some of this because I was going to build a music studio at a location close to an antenna (I was only worried about radio interference). Then I read (through our telecom company’s website!) about the possible health hazard issues related to RF and EMF pollution.

“Don’t worry, be happy” is a wonderful measure to take. But “just in case”… I use tech “with a grain of salt” ; )


Wow, I’m sorry that’s something you have to deal with. I’m pretty sure that’s not the issue with me (wifi and smart devices everywhere!) but it’s fascinating to learn about and consider. Thanks for sharing this and I’m glad you’ve figured out how to take control of the situation!

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late to the party, but if you need to put a large display on an arm, this is the way to go. We used a very similar arm at my last job before I retired. Three monitors for everyone and I had the pleasure of installing all 300 of them :tired_face: - these were very easy for employees to use and manipulate, including vertical mode. (Pro tip: make sure you have available cable slack before rotating monitors!)

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Figured I should give this thread at least the honor of posting where I finished up.

Can’t find a monitor better than my Dell that isn’t too expensive or just the wrong time to buy (LG UltraFine). I’m all-in on using Spaces the way I was with my iMac Pro. Got the CalDigit dock so it’s only one cable to connect the laptop in. Set it up so that I can pull the laptop away easily whenever I want. This’ll do until the new iMacs come out. Thankfully, I had an old Mac mini laying around that I’m able to use as my Plex server (which the iMac Pro was doing but the MacBook Pro cannot.)

Thanks again for all the help in this thread!


Nice setup!

Why can’t the Mac Pro be your Plex Server? is it purely a case of Desk Space.

I think I caused some confusion.

I don’t have a Mac Pro. I had an iMac Pro, which I sold a while back in anticipation of new iMacs being released this Fall (oops). So now, I have a MacBook Pro. It can’t serve as the Plex server because it’s often disconnected from the docking setup and removed from my house. Thankfully, the old Mac Mini laying around (2014!) can fit that role until the new iMac arrives. I do notice some stuttering in heavy transcoding jobs, but those aren’t common for my Plex server.

Sorry, it wasn’t you. I meant your Macbook Pro

Ahh. That wouldn’t work for me because Plex servers need to be online all the time and when I travel for work the MBP goes with me.

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