How can I see on my main monitor what is being displayed on my secondary monitor?
November 20, 2011 2:25 PM   Subscribe

I have a secondary monitor on my iMac that is installed in a room 50 feet away from my main monitor. I need a way to see on my main screen, whatever is displayed on the secondary monitor. Using Mac OS X 10.7. Any ideas?

I display some windows on the secondary monitor (imagine something like Address Book contacts), and I constantly move windows from my main monitor, to the secondary monitor, because the people in the other room need it to do their jobs. The problem is that to be able to move the windows back from the secondary monitor to the main monitor, I need a way to see where my mouse is in the secondary monitor.

Is there any software able to do this? I'm looking for something like the Picture-In-Picture in TV's, but my Google-Fu is failing me. Thanks!
posted by orlandop to Computers & Internet (15 answers total)
This SuperUser question suggests if you right click the dock icon you can get all your windows for an application to move to the main desktop. Someone also says that click on the doc icon, hiding, then showing the application moves its windows to the main desktop.
posted by sbutler at 2:34 PM on November 20, 2011

I just tried the hide/show on 10.7 Lion, and it didn't work - my test window stayed on the secondary display. Nor does "Show All Windows" do anything to move a window from secondary to primary monitor.
posted by Tomorrowful at 2:38 PM on November 20, 2011

Well never mind! Now that I think about it, the SuperUser question is more about windows still on a monitor that's been disconnected.
posted by sbutler at 2:47 PM on November 20, 2011

This AppleScript may do the job, I haven't tried it myself and it dates back to 10.4.
posted by Tomorrowful at 2:54 PM on November 20, 2011

Thanks everyone for your answers. I already have a way of moving all the windows on the secondary display on the secondary monitor to the main monitor. The problem is that if I have 7 open windows in the secondary monitor, I can't take them all at once, because the people watching the secondary monitor need them to do their jobs. When they finish with one, I close it, but they still need the other windows to remain open. That's why I need a program that let's me see what's in the secondary display in the main display, so I can just move what I need when they finish.

There must be some software able to do this. I tried searching for something like PIP (picture-in-picture) but as I said before, my Google-Fu is not working today.
posted by orlandop at 3:04 PM on November 20, 2011

Two possible solutions though both require some extra hardware you may or may not have lying around:

1) Attach a cheap VGA splitter ($20 from Monoprice) and an extra monitor so you get to see the same image locally and on the distant external.
2) Connect to the iMac from another Mac via VNC. The VNC viewer on the second mac sees both displays.
posted by notpeter at 4:04 PM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

You need SizeUp. If you cmd tab to the window or select it from the window menu bar item. You can use a keyboard shortcut to pop it back to your main monitor. You just need to enable the "Previous Monitor" keyboard shortcut.
posted by Brent Parker at 5:49 PM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

Or or or... what you could use is evocam to "record" screen video of your computer -- but not really record it. Just use it for monitoring what is going on in the other monitor.
posted by Brent Parker at 5:54 PM on November 20, 2011

So to build on Notpeter's idea, without using another computer - you could actually VNC to your own computer. It should still show up with the two different screens in the same VNC window. You would get the infinite loop in one of the screens, but I think it should give you an unimpeded, non-repeating view of your other monitor. I'm travelling and don't have my external monitor to verify that, but my brain tells me it should work (not responsible if you crash your machine trying this...blah...blah...blah)

When getting that screenshot I was monitoring my processor usage as well, and the VNC program only was hitting about 10% usage on one of my cores. If you are only checking this once in a while and/or you aren't running a lot of processor-heavy tasks I would imagine it wouldn't be a problem.

Also, if I may, I highly recommend Jolly's Fast VNC, which even in the trial version lets you free-resize your VNC windows AND it acts as a ARD client, so if you are connection to another mac, you can use the faster protocol.
posted by aloiv2 at 6:18 PM on November 20, 2011

Witch is a window switcher, as opposed to the built in Command Tab app switcher. I have it at Option Tab, and combined with the above mentioned Size Up you can target specific windows that you can't see to move them between windows. It will show window names, and there is an option for it to pop up a preview of the window.

Command Shift 3 will take a screen shot of all of your monitors so you can verify windows aren't overlapping. Size Up's move to next monitor option maintains position assuming the monitors are the same resolution, so you can pull a window to your computer, move it, and send it back.

Alternatively VNC can view a specific monitor, so you can set up an old computer that is VNCed into just your second monitor, which you could move to your desk.
posted by ridogi at 6:31 PM on November 20, 2011

oops... move them between MONITORS.
posted by ridogi at 6:35 PM on November 20, 2011

Yes I forgot witch, I don't even use the built in applicaiton switcher anymore.
posted by Brent Parker at 8:12 PM on November 20, 2011

Not certain if this would work. Spaces. Can you set up two different spaces and have the documents open on both, but in the 2nd space you have all docs/apps open on one screen. Will OSX update the same docs in another space?
posted by Gungho at 6:20 AM on November 21, 2011

Did you get this figured out?
posted by Brent Parker at 5:08 PM on November 26, 2011

In case anyone runs into the same problem, I was able to sort of accomplish what I wanted by using SizeUp and Witch, as suggested by ridogi.

With SizeUP I can move a window to the second screen, and with Witch I can Option-Tab to it, and pull it again with SizeUp.

posted by orlandop at 7:11 PM on December 13, 2011

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