Peripheral Tools, Central Efficiency

Get more out of the devices linked up to your computer. Let's look at ways that you can improve your home office environment with monitors, printers and Bluetooth® accessories.



It's a no-brainer: Bigger monitors mean better computing. With more space on your screen, you can see more windows, spend less time scrolling and minimize time spent looking for the programs you need. Here's how to get there:

1. Upgrade to LCD

The first step toward monitor merriment is replacing your CRT. Cathode Ray Tube monitors take up excess amounts of desk space and provide less viewing area and poorer resolution than flat screen LCD models. LCD monitors take up less space, come in larger screen sizes and generally use less power than CRTs. Use the physical free space on your desk as a guideline for the size of your LCD screen. Pressed for space? Some LCD monitors can be mounted on your wall.

2. Go Widescreen

Widescreen has been in vogue over the past few years, originally as a way to catch movies and HDTV shows in their original wide formats. Widescreen LCD monitors are an excellent way to get more on your screen and consequently, get more done. Widescreen monitors can greatly improve your efficiency when working on text-based documents. With more screen real estate, users can typically complete more edits, with less time per correct edit and less overall edit time.

3. Dual Monitors

Get even more screen real estate by adding an extra monitor. Microsoft® Windows senses when an additional display is attached to your computer. It allows you to customize how your screens are arranged with respect to your desktop. With dual monitors, you can easily manage your screen real estate to better meet your computing needs:

- Use your first monitor for primary work, and use your second for reference materials.

- Arrange email and instant messaging windows on your second screen so you can keep tabs on communications without abandoning your primary tasks.

- Use the second monitor to preview or view items you're working on in your first monitor. For instance, you can use browse thumbnails on one-screen and view full pictures in the second.

Modern printers are more versatile than ever before. Today's models typically cost less, print in higher quality and take up less space than comparable prior generations — all while serving more users.

1. Trade Up to an All-in-One
All-in-one inkjet printers scan and copy in addition to printing. Many can also fax documents. Most all-in-one inkjets print very high-quality images, allowing you to turn your home office into a personal printing press. Looking to print photos? Replace your black ink cartridge with a photo print cartridge for photo-quality color definition.

2. Go Wireless
Wireless printing does more than simply eliminate a printer cable. With a wireless printer and a wireless connection, you can serve the printing needs of all the computers in your house. Purchase a wireless-enabled printer or invest in a wireless card adapter.

Peripherals and Bluetooth®
Use the power of Bluetooth® to help get more out of your peripherals. We've discussed how wireless networks and wireless printing can help you cut down on cables and make better use of your space. Bluetooth® is similar to wireless, but does not require a wireless router. Instead, Bluetooth-enabled accessories communicate directly with your computer.

Many accessories currently on the market are Bluetooth®-enabled, including select mice, PDAs, digital cameras and cell phones. Before investing in a Bluetooth®-enabled device, ensure that your current computer can receive Bluetooth® signals. If not, consider purchasing a Bluetooth® adaptor.