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Productivity bang for the buck with a large monitor

Law Department Management Blog welcomes guest blogger Steven Levy. For a number of years, Steven was the Senior Director, Information Systems Department, Microsoft Legal and Corporate Affairs.

You can dramatically improve your computer-time productivity with a simple – and increasingly inexpensive – device. Of course, you may have to beg IT for it – because it may make them jealous.

For under $350 at an office supply chain, you can get a 24” monitor with 1920×1200 resolution. If you only want to spend half that, you can get a 20” widescreen monitor with 1600×900 resolution. For comparison, a standard 17” monitor has 1280×1024 resolution. Your IT liaison or department administrative assistant will know what these numbers mean.

What they mean for you is that you can open a Word document two pages at a time, though at slightly reduced size – zoom to 89% – on the 20” monitor. That said, the HP 20” monitor I use is easily crisp enough to make writing or editing at this size quite comfortable. Now when you page through a contract, you can view multiple pages, eliminating a lot of unnecessary scrolling. Or you can see all the change tracking and comments easily alongside the original. Or compare two versions of a document side by side without scrolling or squinting.

And if you happen to work on a detailed spreadsheet, the difference the extra width makes will be mind-boggling!