Advanced Operation

Command-line Arguments

Multiscreen Blank supports multiple command-line arguments in order to allow scripting of screen blanking/revealing. Since it is a single-instance application, you may run multiple commands in sequence and they won't open multiple copies of the application. The following basic command-line switches are supported:

/minimized

Starts the application minimized. You may double-click on the notification area icon to restore the main application window. This argument may be combined with other arguments that make sense, e.g. monitor operations, but must appear first in that case.

/restore

Restores the application if it's already running minimized

/quit

Closes the application. This is useful for batch scripts where you need to run the program for a bit and then close it at the end.

/reset

If something went wrong and you can't get the program to open normally without crashing, you may reset its configuration to factory defaults by passing in this argument.

Operations: /blank, /reveal, /toggle, /dimXX, /toggledimXX

Performs the specified operation on the specified set of screens. You may define screens either by Windows hardware ID, group ID, or bounding rectangle. You may specify one or more monitors this way, but keep in mind that you may specify only existing monitors that show up in the UI (not arbitrary regions). The bounds and hardware ID may be obtained by right-clicking on the monitor in the main UI and clicking "Information..."

The following operations are available:

  • blank: Blanks the specified screen, i.e. fully fades it to black. Double-clicking on the screen will reveal it.
  • reveal: Reveals the specified screen.
  • toggle: If the screen is blank, reveals it. If the screen is not blank (including fully revealed or partially dimmed), blanks it. This operation applies to each screen individually – if screens A and B are blank while screen C is revealed, the result will be screens A and B being revealed while screen C is blanked. Toggling a dimmed screen will blank it.
  • dimXX where XX is a number from 00 to 99 : Dims the screen to the specified amount. A dimmed screen still allows you to interact with on-screen elements normally.
  • toggledimXX where XX is a number from 00 to 99 : A combination of toggle and dim, dims the screen if it is fully revealed and reveals the screen if it is dimmed or blanked.

The following selectors are available:

  • bounds: allows you to specify a monitor via bounding rectangle.
  • id: allows you to specify a monitor via hardware ID.
  • group: allows you to specify a monitor via group number.
  • current: specifies the screen currently containing the mouse.
  • all: allows you to specify all monitors.
  • allexcept: modifier that inverts the selection.

Blank the second monitor according to Windows hardware ID

MultiscreenBlank2 /blank id \\.\DISPLAY2

Blank the logical monitor located at (1920,0,1920,1200)

This corresponds to the rightmost monitor in a dual-monitor configuration where both monitors have a resolution of 1920x1200 pixels and are arranged horizontally in landscape orientation.

MultiscreenBlank2 /blank bounds 1920,0,1920,1200

Blank all monitors in the second group

Group indices start with 0, so the first group is 0, second group is 1, etc.

MultiscreenBlank2 /blank group 1

Combination of the three examples above

Order of the operands does not matter as the operation will be applied to all monitors simultaneously. It's OK to overlap, e.g. if a given monitor selected by bounds is also a member of the specified group.

MultiscreenBlank2 /blank id \\.\DISPLAY2 bounds 1920,0,1920,1200 group 1

Blank the monitor that the mouse is currently on

You may track the monitor the mouse is currently on with the "current" selector.

MultiscreenBlank2 /blank current

Blank all

When you specify "all", there is no logical benefit to specifying additional monitors since you've already specified all possible monitors. This will blank every monitor including the primary one that the main Multiscreen Blank window is on, so you will need to double-click on that screen in order to reveal it.

MultiscreenBlank2 /blank all

Blank all except the primary

The "allexcept" operator must appear immediately after the "/blank" switch.

MultiscreenBlank2 /blank allexcept id \\.\DISPLAY1

Mirroring

Mirroring is similar to blanking, with an additional region selector that allows selecting any part of the desktop. You can also specify a destination as either a screen or a region. If a destination screen is specified, mirroring is done in full-screen mode.

Mirror a region of the desktop to a specific monitor

MultiscreenBlank2 /mirror region 0,0,640,480 to id \\.\DISPLAY2

Mirror the second monitor to the default location (this is saved when the mirroring window is closed)

MultiscreenBlank2 /mirror id \\.\DISPLAY2

Prompt to select a desktop region to mirror

MultiscreenBlank2 /mirror

Scraps

As scraps are not bound to monitors, only the region selector can be used. You can additionally specify various parameters of the scrap or close existing ones.

Create a new scrap with default position, color, etc

MultiscreenBlank2 /cover

Create a new scrap to cover a specific location and set its opacity to 50%

MultiscreenBlank2 /cover region 20,20,300,100 opacity 50

Closing scraps

Scraps can be closed by specifying their locations. Note that this is the current location of the scrap, so if you create a scrap via command-line but manually move it later, you will need to account for the new location.

MultiscreenBlank2 /uncover region 20,20,300,100

You can pass an ID when creating a scrap, allowing all scraps with a matching ID to be closed later even if they are moved manually.

MultiscreenBlank2 /cover region 20,20,300,100 id foo
MultiscreenBlank2 /uncover id foo

Close all scraps

MultiscreenBlank2 /uncover all

Final notes

  • The /toggle and /toggledimXX operation is applied at the screen level (not the group level) so if some of the monitors in a group are blank, they will be revealed (and the currently-revealed ones in that group will be blanked).
  • Dimming a monitor will apply regardless of current state (blank or revealed). Dimmed monitors are considered "revealed" for the purposes of the toggle operation, so toggling a dimmed monitor will fully blank it.
  • Dimming a monitor to 100% is the same as blanking. Dimming to 0% is the same as revealing.

Settings

Multiscreen Blank will remember the window layout and group assignment. Additionally, it has several options you may configure.

Start with Windows

Multiscreen Blank can be started with Windows – this will cause it to open minimized, in the notification area near the clock. This will save you a click if you routinely use Multiscreen Blank whenever you turn on your computer.

Add to desktop right-click menu

On Windows Vista and above, you can add a "Blank this screen" option to the desktop's right-click menu. This will blank the screen under the mouse cursor. If Multiscreen Blank is not currently running, it will be automatically started.

Check for Updates

If checked, you will receive a small, unobtrusive notification in the main window when a new version is available. There won't be any popups and the program will not update itself at this time. Uncheck this to prevent the program from attempting to check for updates.

Theme

MultiscreenBlank includes a light and dark theme to best match other software you use. The theme will not affect blanking functionality, only the color of the main window and menus. "Automatic" will select the light or dark theme based on your system's settings (Windows 10 only).

Blanking details

You can also configure blanking details: the fade duration, the easing function used for fading in and out, and whether or not to show the mouse cursor on blanked screens.

Shortcuts

You can specify shortcuts for left-click and middle-click of the notification area icon, as well as any number of additional shortcuts available via the notification icon's right-click menu. To specify an action, use any valid command line but exclude the "MultiscreenBlank2" part. So for example, to blank all monitors except the one currently containing the mouse, enter:

/blank allexcept current

Configuration storage

Settings are stored in a .ini file in the application directory. Alternatively, settings may be redirected to a user-specific directory if the application is installed to a shared folder. This file can be easily backed up and transferred to other systems (provided that the screen configuration is the same).

Troubleshooting

Desktop context menu entry remains after uninstalling / errors at startup after uninstalling

Multiscreen Blank is a standalone application and does not come with its own uninstaller. If you have enabled the desktop right-click option or configured the program to start with Windows, Windows has no way of knowing that the program was removed. Be sure to un-check both options in the Settings dialog before deleting MultiscreenBlank2.exe. If you have already deleted the file, you will need to run it again and toggle the options.

Alternatively you can manually delete the associated registry keys.

Start with Windows

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run\MultiscreenBlank

Add to desktop context menu

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\Directory\Background\shell\MultiscreenBlank

Desktop context menu entry doesn't appear on Windows 2000 or XP

The menu relies on Windows functionality available in Windows Vista or later.

Windows DPI scaling

Starting with version 2.1, Multiscreen Blank supports Windows 10's per-monitor DPI scaling mode natively. All operations use physical device pixels. If you have a configuration file from a previous version of Multiscreen Blank, your group definitions may need to be redefined.

Due to the nature of Windows DPI scaling, it's possible that some configurations will cause the program to incorrectly determine physical monitor bounds, especially after switching scaling modes or adding/removing monitors with different scaling factors. If you are experiencing problems related to scaling (such as only part of the screen being blanked), sign out of Windows and tryt again.

If all else fails...

You may reset Multiscreen Blank's settings by running it with the "/reset" command-line argument or by manually deleting the MultiscreenBlank2.ini file where its settings are stored.