How to share a keyboard and mouse with multiple computers

If you have two or more computers on your desk, and each has its own monitor(s), you can use the same keyboard and mouse to control them all – by using Synergy. Imagine moving your cursor to the side of your screen and having it appear on the monitor next to it – and that monitor is connected to a totally different computer. That’s why Synergy allows you to do. This tutorial will guide you in setting up Synergy in Windows ..

(poor) Illustration of the Synergy concept

The first thing you’ll want to do is download and install Synergy on each of the computers that you wish to share a keyboard and mouse with. Synergy runs on Windows, OS X and most versions of Linux – although this tutorial will only outline setting up Synergy in Windows.

Select one of your computers to act as the Synergy server. Each of the other computers will be set up as ‘clients’ that connect to the server. Remember, the computer acting as the server is the one that will share its keyboard and mouse.

Setting up the Synergy server
Setting up Synergy clients

Setting up the Synergy server

  1. Launch Synergy and click the Info button
  2. Synergy

  3. Make note of the Hostname as it will be needed in a few moments. Click OK to return to the main screen.
  4. Synergy

  5. Click the Configure… button
  6. Synergy

  7. You’ll need to add one Screen for each of the computers that you wish to share the same keyboard and mouse. For this tutorial we’ll assume you have 2. Click the + (plus) sign to add your first Screen.
  8. Synergy

  9. Enter the Hostname from step 2 in the Screen Name: field. An alias is not required, but can be helpful. Click OK to continue.
  10. Synergy

  11. Now add a second Screen by selecting the + (plus) sign again
  12. Synergy

  13. This time you’ll need to enter the Hostname of the other computer that will share your keyboard and mouse. You can determine the correct Hostname by running Synergy on the other computer and clicking the Info button. If your other computer is running OS X, you can determine the appropriate Screen name by selecting System Preferences > Sharing > and then look for the Computer Name. It’s usually in the format of firstname-lastname-computer.local
  14. Synergy

  15. Now you need to tell Synergy where each of the Screens is located. This example will assume the two monitors are next to each other, with ross on the right and parallelsxp on the left. In order for your cursor (and the keyboard focus) to move from screen to screen, make sure the right side of the computer on the left goes to the computer on the right. Click the + (plus) sign to save.
  16. Synergy

  17. Now repeat the above step, but make sure the left side of the computer on the right goes to the computer on the left. Click the + (plus) sign to save again.
  18. Synergy

  19. Click OK after the two Links have been created.
  20. Synergy

  21. Click Test to see if Synergy is configured correctly.
  22. Synergy

  23. If you receive any errors, you’ll need to go back and re-check your settings. Otherwise, close the status window.
  24. Synergy

  25. Click Stop to end the test.
  26. Synergy

  27. Click Start to launch Synergy server.
  28. Synergy

Setting up Synergy clients

  1. Launch Synergy and make sure that Use another computer’s shared keyboard and mouse (client) is selected.
  2. Synergy

  3. Enter the Synergy server’s host name in the space provided.
  4. Synergy

  5. You should now be connected to the Synergy server. Use mouse that’s hooked up to the servers computer and move it off-screen in the direction of your other monitor. It should move seamlessly across the screen(s).

21 thoughts on “How to share a keyboard and mouse with multiple computers”

  1. Salut, jusque combien de pc peut on mettre.

    J’en ai 7, 6 parfait (grace aux explication si dessus, merci), mais le 7eme, j’arrive pas.

  2. HI Guys
    To use Synergy Do both PC’s need to be on a network, ie. connected via a server??? or can they be just connected to each other via an USB network cable?????

    This is what I want to do…..but it doesn’t work.

    PC A (Host) connected to the work network .
    PC B (client) connected to PC A via USB network cable.

    but it doesn’t work…. The client PC says it can’t find the Host PC.

    Obviously both PC cant see each other any reasons why?

    any ideas???? please helpppp

  3. Settings screw ups?

    Another Dummy question:

    When Synergy is off, does all return to normal……….one computer, one keyboard, one mouse? Can I screw anything up (settings etc.) by running Synergy?

    If anyone responds, please put “Synergy?” in the subject so that I will know that it is not spam.

  4. Connection?

    Dummy question:

    Is it necessary to have the two computers, mouse, keyboard, connected locally (with a wire) or are they connected remotely by a server?

    If you respond, please put “Synergy Connection” in the subject so that I will know that it is not spam.

  5. Tried following the instructions step-by-step but I can’t seem to get it to work. The PC setup as server just flashes when I click Test. The client machine times out trying to connect to the server. Both are using XP SP2. Have I done something wrong?

  6. Pingback: Using Synergy - DeDestruct - A Multi-Author Web Design Journal

  7. I get and error message from the client that says the “failed to connect the server: address not found:

    My Server host name is all letters with a – between some letters – any suggestions?

  8. Screenshots for the win! Until your page I never noticed that the plus sign in step 8 was no longer grey. Thanks much!

  9. Pingback: » Using Synergy - » Blog Archive Web Design, Graphic Design, San Diego

  10. Thank you. I stuggled with this until I went on the internet and searched out some help and I clicked on your site and wala I had it going immediately.
    Thank you! Thank you!

  11. thanks ross,
    i worked for hours trying to figure it out myself.
    kudos !
    i can now tell my friends about this software and your tutorial.

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