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How to use your tablet as a second monitor for your computer

If you’ve bought yourself a new Nexus 9 or another tablet, you may well have an old device laying around that you no longer need. Before you sell it or give it away, you might way to consider giving it a new lease of life as a second monitor for your computer or laptop. Of course, there's nothing to stop you from doing the same with a phone such as the Galaxy Note 4 or Moto X, but it makes more sense with a tablet with a larger screen. If you like the idea of gaining a little extra desktop space, or want a way to keep things better organised, here's how to extended your desktop onto your tablet – no cables needed!

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Splashtop Extended Display is a cheap way to put an old tablet to great use as a second monitor. © ANDROIDPIT

To transform your tablet into an extra monitor, you'll need to grab a copy of Splashtop Extended Display HD – there's a free trial of the app available that you can used to test it out to see if it's the right tool for you. You will also need a copy of the desktop software, Splashtop Streamer, which is available for Windows and Mac. In this post we're going to focus on the Windows side of things, but the process is virtually identical for Mac users.

Install desktop software

Download a copy of Splashtop Streamer – be sure to select the Personal option – and run through the installation process. During the installation, there are no unusual settings to configure, but you may want to select the "Just myself" option so that desktop extension is only available to your own user account.

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Splashtop Extended Display turns your old tablet into a wireless monitor. © ANDROIDPIT

Move to the Status tab and click the Create a Splashtop Account link. Enter your name and choose a password, and then click Create Account. Once the account has been created, you can use the same credentials to log into it.

Install mobile app

With your computer ready for action, you need to get the app installed on your tablet. Grab yourself a copy of Splashtop Extended HD from Google Play. Fire up the app and you'll be warned that the app lets you connect to your desktop for 5 minutes at a time – just tap Go to continue.

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With virtually no configuration, your extra desktop space is just clicks and taps away. © ANDROIDPIT

Make sure that your computer and tablet are connected to the same network and tap Continue followed by Finish. You should find that your computer is automatically detected by your tablet – tap the computer name to get connected.

Getting connected

To keep the connection safe, the app makes use of a security code which you will need to configure. Return to the desktop app and move to the Security tab. Enter and confirm the password you would like to use, and then enter the same authentication information on your tablet.

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Secure your tablet with a password to keep the connection safe. © ANDROIDPIT

To avoid having to keep entering this password time and time again, you can opt to save it by checking the relevant option. Once you are connected, tap Continue after reading through the introductory hints.

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Windows and apps can be easily moved from tablet to monitor and back. © ANDROIDPIT

The first thing you'll want to do is let the app know where your tablet is in relation to your monitor so that your mouse will move from one screen to the other correctly. Tap your tablet with three fingers and tap the third icon. This will bring up the display settings control panel on your computer and you need to drag the images of the two monitors (one representing your computer monitor, and the other representing your tablet) so they are in the correct positions relative to each other.

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Accessing Windows or OS X on your tablet is weird to start with... but quite cool! © ANDROIDPIT

You can use your tablet to house program windows, use the on-screen keyboard to enter text, and much more. In many ways, using your tablet as a second monitor is more useful than using a dedicated monitor because it introduces touchscreen options without the need to splash out on an expensive touch screen monitor.

In the trial version of the app you will only be able to stay connected for five minutes at a time. There's nothing to stop you from immediately reconnecting, but if you would like to avid this extra step you can upgrade to the full version of the app for £3.08)

Have you tried using your tablet as an extra monitor for your computer? What do you use it for?

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