How to Optimize Your Workspace with an Ultrawide Monitor and Multi-System keyboard and Mouse

LG ultrawide monitor in pbp mode with a PC and Macbook connected.

Summary: this article explains how I connect a PC and Macbook to a single Ultrawide monitor and seamlessly switch between both systems with a single mouse and keyboard. A video demo is available below as well.

UPDATE 2/7/24: I’ve recently started testing out another way to do the same thing using the free Barrier software. I found Logitech Flow to be a bit clunky sometimes when switching between the systems and Barrier works much more seamlessly however will lose some of the Logitech keyboard and mouse mapping features. Here’s a tutorial video for setup.

Over the last few months I have been looking at ways to optimize my desk configuration to support my personal PC and Macbook. I use both systems during my work day and its been challenging to configure my workspace in an optimal way. I wanted a more seamless way to use both systems during the day with reduced hardware and clutter.

My existing configuration included using dual 27 inch monitors that were connected to my personal PC. I then connected my Macbook to my second monitor and could switch the output between my PC and the Macbook. When switching to the Macbook it gave me a second monitor for productivity.

For my keyboard I already had a Logitech ERGO K860 and Logitech MX Master 3 mouse. I was lucky in that both of these devices already had support for being connected to up to 3 different devices. So I was switching both of these fairly easily by hitting buttons on each device to switch between the PC and the Mac. I later came to learn that Logitech has the ability to seamlessly switch automatically between both devices without having to hit the buttons using their Flow software. This worked by recognizing when I moved my mouse between the edges of the PC and Mac monitor and switching to the appropriate device automatically. It even allows copying and pasting between machines! This was a magical discovery and I couldn’t believe how long I had been doing this manually before discovering the software.

The Flow software works pretty well but can be finicky sometimes and I have to revert to the manual buttons. I later discovered that there is a third party app called Synergy which is supposed to be pretty solid which I may try soon.

Then one day I stumbled onto the Ultrawide Master Race SubReddit and became intrigued with the Ultrawide monitor setups that users were posting. Users would post photos of these beautiful and clean desktops setups. I discovered that most folks had purchased an Ultrawide monitor for gaming. However, there were many doing it for productivity and a for a cleaner desktop configuration and minimalist approach to having 2 or even 3 monitors. I was intrigued and started researching possible monitors that could replace my current setup of dual Dell U2715H 27 inch monitors that provided a 2560 x 1440 resolution.

I’m also a bit of a gamer so I wanted to find a monitor that balanced both gaming features as well as productivity. The main required feature of the monitor was that it supported PBP. This is the Picture by Picture feature that allows you to have 2 different machines plugged into the inputs of the monitor and allow you to see both displayed at the same time using a split screen. Other than that I was hoping to get as close to a 5120 x 1440 resolution which is what I currently had with my dual 27″ monitors.

After much research there was a clear winner when it came to balancing gaming and productivity with my requirements which I found in the LG 38WN95C-W 38 inch UltraWide monitor. It offered the 2 key features you want in a gaming monitor by having a 1ms response time and 144hz refresh rate for a solid gaming experience. It also had HDR and Nvidia G-Sync support which were bonuses. It of course also offered the PBP functionality I required. The only issue is that the resolution was 3840 x 1600 so it was a bit less real estate on the width side but a small bump on the height. So far this hasn’t been ideal but it hasn’t been such a detriment that it has outweighed the benefits I’ve enjoyed.

Gaming has been glorious running on a widescreen. It really offers such an immersive experience I haven’t felt previously. The only issue is that now I’m running games at such a higher resolution that my graphics card which is an Nvidia 3060TI struggles a little bit and I have to tone down the quality settings I was previously using.

LG Ultrawide monitor showing a video game.

On the productivity side my desktop setup is much cleaner as I’ve also added a monitor arm and a stand for the Macbook which positions it as a second monitor to seamlessly switch between it and the Ultrawide as well as the PC. Overall I am much happier as this consumes much less desk space and is aesthetically much better than what I had previously.

One aspect of switching from dual or more monitors to a single one is managing screen real estate. It’s easy to move windows and expand full screen on distinct monitors but when you are working with a single monitor you need a tool to help you re-create this experience. On my PC I discovered an app in Microsoft’s Power Toys which includes the Fancy Zones tool. This allows you to split up your screen using custom layouts which you can easily snap windows to. Here’s a great video showing a demo of its capabilities and setup procedure. It’s an indispensable tool for ultrawide screen management. On the Mac side I found a similar tool called Magnet.

Here’s a video showing both my PC and Macbook connected using Logitech Flow to seamlessly switch between systems.

So if your desktop currently consists of multiple monitors which you are utilizing with more than one computer I highly recommend that you assess your situation to see where you can create a more optimal experience by replacing and consolidating hardware. While the productivity is an increased benefit I also feel the cleaner and more minimalist approach has also been an unexpected consequence that has pleased me to no end.

Here’s a list of the items used in my setup (Note: these are Amazon affiliate links):