How Many Screens do Investors and Traders Need?

It’s a heated topic. No two desks are alike.

I don’t think there is a right answer, but I use one. It’s a big Mac screen, with many windows open, but I have decided on a very clean workspace for thinking about stocks and markets and reading. My iPhone is always close nearby.

Trading Desk

My home office is where I do my early morning (until 10 am PST) work and late night work. My Stocktwits office has one screen but the desk is a mess with paperwork and to-do lists so I like to just go there to make calls and catch up.

At the other end of the spectrum there is this person:

Trade desk

If this person is a writer, I would follow them for their idea flow, but I doubt I would trust this person with my money.

My favorite 3 answers of the hundreds were the following:

1. ‘If you can’t make money on one screen, how will you make money from 2?!’

2. Greg Guenthner says – ‘Just two – but I am suspicious of the information my left one has been giving me lately’

3. ZERO screens on my main desk…the KEY to ensuring low-frequency trading, read/think more and watch less television.

Chime in with your setup or better yet a photo, and my fave will get a Stocktwits Hoodie.


  1. Goldy says:

    3 screens is optimal. You can watch your Shorts go up on one screen, your Longs go down on another, and surf the internet on the third to get your mind off of it all.

  2. two 17 inch monitors to trade on, one live account one demo account one 36 inch television in the middle reading articles, twitter updates, live webinars and cspan live

      • Eradke says:

        I was being cute but I do think it is one of the simplest things a trader (probably not investor) can do to improve their reaction time. If you can’t find the info you need and aren’t use to finding it in an efficient way than you are disadvantaging yourself/not putting yourself in the best possible position. Can you find the right information quickly with google or a newspaper?

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  4. Ryan Hall says:

    Well, what’s the size/resolution of the screens? Are you coding as well? Reading/Writing/Etc? What type of trading are you doing? It depends on so many factors. I need at least 2 (21.5″) and I typically have a laptop as well. So that’s 3. Personally, I’ve been thinking about adding another 1 or 2 just because of all the coding I do. But I also have two computers: a database and a networked computer.

    I’d say it depends on so many factors that, really, the whole “How many screens do you need?” trope is a bunch of superficial bullshit that drives traffic and discussion among those who really have no idea what they are doing.

    If you’re asking this question (i.e. you haven’t figured it out yet), you’re likely not doing a good job.

  5. M. Edward (Ed) Borasky says:

    Single screen, laptop. I’m still using CSI Unfair Advantage for data / analysis, mostly because of its custom Perl code capability.

  6. Tangent Style says:

    I’ve got a laptop, a whiteboard, and my girlfriend 5 feet away doing hw on the bed. Maybe it’s a dorm room thing, but I don’t like bulky set-ups. That said, the school trading room has 2 screens per desk.

  7. Virtus2021 says:

    i would have to say two screens, both identical. in case the market goes and does something its not supposed to, and you are forced to grab a monitor and throw it against the wall, through a window or at a colleague- you’ve got a backup screen so you can continue going about your business.

  8. Dieter Scherer says:

    I never perform intraday trades, but I definitely prefer 2. One screen has the data input, the other screen has the data output in R or a spreadsheet program. Super time saver not having to shift windows around. Although, a gargantuan 30 inch monitor could replace my 22s.

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  10. rgnuttall says:

    Solo trader. One each iMac, MacAir, iPad and iPhone. All loaded with charting, Stocktwits, Twitter, Level 2 tickers, Dragonfly subscription, etc. One double tall latte. Golf clubs in trunk. All I’m missing is where my next vacation will be, and a Stocktwits hoodie. The rest is noise.

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