When you’re using multiple monitors and want to share a single mouse and keyboard between them, it’s not easy to do that without an application that combines all devices into one cohesive experience.
Synergy is one of the best mouse and keyboard sharing apps that goes further to allow you to perform multi-monitor controlling functions. Not only that, but the app works across the major operating systems so you can efficiently use one mouse and keyboard between multiple monitors.
The application offers other benefits including synchronization, convenient drag and drop features, encrypted functions, clipboard sharing, and it works on Ethernet or WiFi connections.
However, Synergy isn’t the only application that can offer you all these benefits. If you’re looking for the best Synergy alternative, here’s a roundup of our top picks.
Best Synergy Alternatives
ShareMouse is a mouse and keyboard sharing app like Synergy that works across multiple networked computers.
The app is easy to set up and offers a high level of versatility, and has some similar features as those you’d find in Synergy. These benefits include such as automatic configuration, handy hotkeys and graphical cues to track your pointer, password protection, network encryption, and glitch-free clipboard sharing.
One of the unique features of ShareMouse is that it works in any direction so you can control computers between each other in any direction. This means that there’s no restriction to a one-way master and slave type of architecture.
While you can use ShareMouse and Synergy for free, there are some salient differences between the two applications. To begin with, ShareMouse doesn’t work with Linux as Synergy does with all the major operating systems, and ShareMouse can dim inactive monitors while Synergy doesn’t.
Plus, ShareMouse offers password protection, data encryption, and has a portable edition of the software. The main drawbacks are that ShareMouse doesn’t allow logging and its free, unregistered version can only be used with two computers.
ShareMouse is more user-friendly compared to Synergy, but the limitations in its free version may not work for everyone even though it offers very good value, and its premium pricing isn’t accessible for all.
Input Director also controls multiple computers and monitors by sharing mouse and keyboard across connected computers and monitors. The application lets users maintain and position monitors using drag and drop features to get the correct positions on the monitor grid.
But that’s not all; Input Director also works as a desktop management tool for all primary and connected monitors. If you have one system onto which you connect monitors and computers, you can do so as you would with Synergy and use one mouse or keyboard attached to that single system.
The main difference is that Synergy works with most major operating systems, while Input Director only works with Windows systems, all of which must be networked.
If you have a large screen on which to perform your task in a wide space, Input Director is worth considering. As you use the application, you’ll notice that you can move your cursor or keyboard functions from screen to screen, and lock computers simultaneously.
Plus, you can sync wallpapers and screensavers across the monitors you’ve connected, among other transitions using the same mouse and keyboard.
Input Director also offers network data encryption between controlled computers, and you can lock down its configuration so that only the system admins can make any changes.
Mouse without Borders is a Microsoft utility created in 2009 and released in 2011, which lets you control up to four computers from one mouse and keyboard. This gives you full control over your computer fleet so you can move files seamlessly from one computer to another, and improve productivity with multiple machines.
You can copy text, drag/drop files across computers just as you would with Synergy, but the main difference is that Mouse without Borders is limited to Windows operating systems.
One of its advantages is that it eliminates the mess of multiple mice and keyboards for each desktop present in your work space. The main requirement is that all your computers must be connected to the same WiFi network, but the application will work whether you’re using Windows 7, 8, 8.1, or 10 on the different desktops.
To use Mouse without Borders, you need administrator rights and you have to set up separate firewall settings for the application to work effectively.
DisplayFusion is designed to make your multi-monitor life easy with powerful features like fully customizable HotKeys, multi-monitor taskbars, title bar buttons, and more.
Like Synergy, the DisplayFusion application organizes two monitors, but it does this by adding a taskbar to each of the monitors, which can be configured to display all windows or programs.
The application also offers a start button, third-party start menu support, button grouping, and a desktop button. You also get stunning wallpaper images from your own collection or different sources, and manage desktop windows using native functions or move windows to suit your needs.
You can also split your monitor into multiple virtual monitors, configure profiles, settings, splitting, and fading by automatically dimming unused monitors and application windows.
The Triggers feature lets you listen for window focus, creation, system idle, and desktop unlock among other events, and you can run custom scripts or preset commands to manipulate windows. Remote control is also included for you to manage the monitors from a mobile device.
Like Synergy, which is completely open source and free, DisplayFusion has a 30-day free trial, but once the trial period is complete, you can still enjoy the free version forever.
UltraMon software is a real-time monitor controller designed to help you manage multiple screens from one computer system. This way, you can leverage an expanded desktop space and use a wide range of interface elements for easy screen management.
The application is designed to increase task productivity by letting you manage tasks and time efficiently and effectively.
You can manage as many apps as you want using the Smart Taskbar, mirror your main monitor to other monitors to control apps or make presentations, and move from window to window for maximum coverage.
Like Synergy, which offers basic functions like multi-monitoring and mouse/keyboard sharing, UltraMon contains proper app control and positioning of the system for better control and command over shortcuts.
It also allows you to configure it to use it on more than 10 monitors, like Synergy, which offers unlimited device support, and offers support for screensavers and wallpapers.
UltraMon isn’t free like Synergy, as you need to pay for different licenses whether it’s a single license or more than 100 licenses.
Dual Monitor Tools is another good Synergy alternative that basically combines all the features that allow you to control your multiple monitor setups.
The application integrates with all open source tools, which are independently run so that you can use the ones you want most. Like Synergy, Dual Monitor Tools is also open source meaning you can configure it to your needs.
Among its main tools include the Launcher, Swap Screen, Snap, Wallpaper Changer, and Dual Wallpaper. The main DMT tool supports multiple modules and works in the notification area.
With the DMT General module you can find configuration information about DMT and your monitors so you can change configurations. The Cursor module lets you restrict cursor movement and lock the cursor to the active monitor, while the Launcher lets you launch your favorite apps using minimal keystrokes and position them on any of the monitors.
You can also use the Snap, Swap Screen, and Wallpaper changer to take snapshots of one monitor and show on another, perform common operations on your monitors, and change wallpapers at startup or regular intervals respectively.
Perhaps what both Synergy and Dual Monitor Tools lack is data encryption in their free versions, and Dual Monitor doesn’t work with other operating systems except Windows.
MultiMon Taskbar is another multi-monitor controller whose main function is to display apps from all monitors. The controller is integrated with visual integration features enabling you to use windows normally with multiple monitors and multi-taskbar.
The application ensures that you see all the programs and windows on the primary monitor taskbar regardless of the monitor you open.
With the TaskBar 2.1 version, which is the freeware version of the application, you can add a second taskbar to the extended desktop or third taskbar to the second extended monitor in a triple monitor setup. You can also add a move to monitor button or text clipboard extender.
The best thing about the free or paid plan is that you may get different features but the TaskBar is still easy to use. You also get support in the primary monitor and the apps will be displayed on all monitors.
While Synergy works across Windows, Mac, and Linux, the MultiMon TaskBar program only works with Windows so you may not be able to connect and operate multiple systems simultaneously.
If you want to use a few multiple monitors simultaneously, ZBar is the tool for you.
The tiny free tool has several functionalities including a taskbar at the top or below non-primary screens, six-month calendar, and keyboard shortcuts to move windows a screen along.
Although not as fully-fledged as Synergy, the ZBar tool allows you to move Windows to another monitor, and manage up to one image per screen for your wallpapers or a single image across all the monitors.
When you first install ZBar, you’ll see the taskbar appear automatically across the top or bottom of the other monitors, and you can easily move files freely on your desktop using extended controls and commands.
The tool also offers a bunch of customization options. These include support for standard or double height, 8 different skins, glass, and mirror among other special effects. It also comes with an optional clock.
Its wallpaper support is also very basic as you can only pick a background image for each screen. It supports GIF, JPG, and BMP, so you can’t use PNGs with this tool, but if you’re looking for something that can handle all image formats and randomly rotate wallpapers or pull them off the web, you can try other Synergy alternatives on this list.
You don’t need to install ZBar to use it and its light on resources, which also makes it the perfect tool for anyone with multi-monitor computer systems. ZBar is free to use but its main drawbacks are that the tool doesn’t have any documentation and only works with Windows operating systems.
Based off Synergy, Barrier is a fully-free, multi-platform, open source fork that removes all the confusion you may find in Synergy and gives you a simple mouse and keyboard sharing facility.
If you’ve used Synergy and don’t enjoy its experience, you’ll feel at home with Barrier, which works the same way from the setup to interface and all other options. At first, when you set up Barrier, you’ll select whether the computer is to be the client or server.
Once set up as a client or server, you’ll only enter the server IP address and start sharing the mouse and keyboard by configuring the server. Barrier also allows you to configure hotkeys, as you would with Synergy, logging, drag and drop interface like Synergy’s and clipboard sharing.
Another reason why you’d opt for Barrier over Synergy is that the latter doesn’t offer an encryption option in its graphical user interface.
Multiplicity by StarDock is an easy to set up and use program that allows for controlling multiple mice, keyboards, and monitors on one computer system. The app doesn’t have a free version, but you can still use its limited free trial and enjoy features like shared unlocking, audio sharing, and use it on a primary and secondary PC.
While Synergy offers drag and drop support as well as clipboard sharing, you won’t find that with Multiplicity but you’ll get AES 256 encryption for your data. Multiplicity also works with Windows 10 as does Synergy, and once you install it, you’ll choose whether your PC is to be the secondary or primary computer in the setup.
The primary PC has the mouse and keyboard, while the secondary one opens with your computer name and passcode, which you have to add to the primary computer as well.
Some configurations you’ll find in Multiplicity as with Synergy include hotkey switching and showing a status window. However, Multiplicity allows you to darken the inactive screen and prevent num lock screen, which Synergy doesn’t offer.
If you want a simple, uncomplicated utility that manages your keyboard and mouse sharing functions, AquaSnap is worth considering. The free utility augments how you can manage windows on your desktop and lets you move or resize windows just how you would on your PC without losing any gestures or pixels that make you proficient.
Among the key features you’ll find in AquaSnap that are also in Synergy include enlarging windows by double clicking or snapping it to monitor edges. However, AquaSnap goes further to allow you to shake a window to put it at the top-most level.
MurGeeMon is another Windows oriented multi-monitor and screen controller that lets you easily and efficiently control your monitoring systems. The program is suitable for programmers, developers, and designers who work on multiple monitors to control their projects.
Like Synergy, this program also offers control over multiple monitors, but you can also enable one primary monitor and disable the secondary one in a quick way and utilize all functionalities. You can even use it to change backgrounds and screensavers of any selected monitor without forcing one image across the desktop.
MurGeeMon also lets you change the connected monitors’ screen resolutions and create desktop shortcuts. Plus, you can use the power of two or more monitors connected to the main PC, and navigate all the functions you want from the primary monitor.
13. Matrox PowerDesk
This is a robust application that lets you manage your desktop and multiple monitor settings easily and effectively while configuring multiple displays. The application comes with beginner and pro features and functions that allow you to control your monitors and configure them, while extending features across independent desktops or stretched desktops.
Some of the features you’ll find with Matrox PowerDesk include pivot, bezel management, clone mode, and edge overlap. Unlike Synergy, which can work on macOS and Linux, you can only use Matrox PowerDesk with Windows.
Plus, Matrox PowerDesk integrates with tools that let you change display settings, and it supports different graphics cards, something that most other programs overlook.
As its name suggests, Multi-Monitor Eyefinity is designed to extend your screen area for a better gaming and developing experience. The application allows you to extend your desktop by connecting multiple monitors to your primary monitor and working on them independently.
The program is useful for developers, professionals, gamers, or consumers who use multiple screens or monitors, and enjoy a greater workstation for programming or developing purposes.
You can view large scale multiple models and applications across screens just as if they were one display and see entire functions simultaneously. Both Synergy and Multi-Monitor Eyefinity don’t offer encryption for your data, but with Synergy, you have the advantage of working with multiple operating systems.
15. Swap Screen
Swap Screen is a simple application that allows you to swap between dual monitors and handle different windows in a multi-monitor setting. Like Synergy, you can also move your active window to another screen, minimize windows on one screen, and use other functions like wallpaper changer to switch between images on your display.
Some of the tabs you’ll find in Swap Screen include move active window to previous screen, active window, move active window to next screen, minimize or maximize active window tabs.
The application also offers a dual launcher and dual snap like the Dual Monitor Tools software, and other features you need to connect your monitors and control them as though you were using one.
Other similarities with Synergy include hotkeys integration so you can simplify the handling of windows in multi-monitor settings. You can also control the mouse or cursor and lock your mouse on a single screen.
This is a simple multi-monitor solution that promises to enhance your productivity using taskbars and virtual desktops systems. It eliminates the complexity you’d find in Synergy and offers a special hotkeys system to control and monitor your setup using short keys.
The application also offers intuitive functions and features such as an integrated task switcher, and customizable functions to extend your productivity. You can also create your own different functions to make it easier to control, move or resize windows, or assign your own hotkeys.
JeS Multi-Monitor Suite isn’t an over the top program so it should be easy to use, and free, but you won’t get encryption for your data or clipboard sharing, drag and drop and others that Synergy offers.
If you’re looking for the best Synergy alternatives, any of these 16 options can fill that gap as each has a quite different approach under the hood.
Some allow you to sync logging in or out, while others have drag and drop functionality, clipboard sharing, and are free and easy to use as Synergy.
However, other tools go the extra mile to offer data encryption, which you wouldn’t find with Synergy’s free tool, along with ease of use, flexibility, and location aware profiles.
Try any of these options to help you find one that suits your current needs.