Using external monitors more seamlessly

Hi, I have some questions about using external monitors with a mac, can you please help?

I just set up an external monitor to use with my MacBook and the external monitor is several feet away from the MacBook. The monitor is several feet away at a standing desk while the MacBook is at a sitting desk, so I use a separate keyboard and trackpad when using this monitor. The monitors are not in mirrored mode by the way and I want them to work as separate monitors

I’m running into inconveniences where some basic functionalities that i use often are showing up on the monitor that I am not currently looking at and want to make it work more smoothly. There are four basic functionalities where I want to make it so that it works on whichever monitor I’m currently looking at:

The Cmd+Tab window switch

The Mac Dock



Is there any way to make it so that these always show up on the correct monitor that I’m looking at?

Is there any way to automate it so that whenever I am using a specific keyboard/trackpad it automatically shows these on the correct monitor? I feel like this would be the easiest and best solution.

Or if that’s not possible, is there any way to program a keyboard shortcut or midi based macro to change them to the correct monitor manually?

Also, is there any way to make it so that new windows launch on whichever monitor I’m currently using? I often use Alfred or Launchbar to open up a new app, and that new app often opens on the monitor that i’m not currently looking at.



In system preferences, go to display, and then under arrangement. Drag that white menu to display you want to be default.

For external keyboard, if using non apple. Go to sys preferences, keyboard. On bottom right go to modifier keys. I attached how I have it set up.

Sorry if I am missing your question.




I think this is going to be the easiest solution that consistently works.

SwitchResX might be helpful. It allows you to enable and disable monitors. I think it will allow disabling the internal monitor too, if needed.

Here’s what you could do:
When sitting, disable the external monitor using SwitchResX.
When standing, enable the external monitor, and close the laptop.

A related issue here: I have a 27” Retina iMac and an old HD Cinema Display attached and it seems that the difference in resolution makes the edge of the Cinema Display adjacentTo the primary monitor think it is part of the primary monitor. This causes some selection problems. Any ideas on how to fix a problem like this?

Thank you everyone.

This would require me to change the default monitor every time that I want to use a different monitor for these tasks though, wouldn’t it? I’m looking for an automated solution so i dont have to change it manually every time i use the other monitor

I am using an apple keyboard and not sure why I would do this? Does this affect the monitors?

I still want to keep the monitors accessible/open at all times, just want to change which monitor has those functions in ‘focus’. Can SwitchRex help with this?

I’ve also posted this question here and might have an solution but not sure yet