How to Connect Laptop to Monitors: A Beginner’s Guide

How to Connect Laptop to Monitors: A Beginner's Guide
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Connecting your laptop to a monitor is a good idea. This is the reason why most laptops can connect to an external display. The external display source can be a TV, projector, or LCD Monitor. Hence, learning how to connect laptop to monitors is essential.

Even though it’s an easy task, some people still make a mess out of a simple process. Also, you probably need to take different steps for different models of laptops and monitors.

Why Connect Your Laptop to a Monitor

The main reason why you may want to connect your laptop to a monitor is to increase the display area. This suits well to those people who wish to watch movies on a bigger screen with their family.

You can also stream matches on your laptop to view them on a bigger screen through a projector or your LCD TV for an even better experience.

Thus, connecting a laptop to a monitor or any other bigger screen gives you a better viewing area.

How to Connect Laptop to Monitor

Here is an easy and simple procedure on how you can connect your laptop to monitors. Just follow through these steps and you’ll be fine!

1. Determining the Video Output Options on Your Laptop

Multiple display connections may be present on the back or the side of your laptop (depending on the model and brand) that may add to the confusion. Some of the main ones present on most laptops have been described below.


  • HDMI: This port has six sides. It is a ¾-inch, tapered port which is present on most laptops.
  • DisplayPort: This port is almost like the HDMI port except for two differences. One of the corners is crimped, and the other forms a complete 90-degree angle.
  • VGA or DVI: DVI ports are white or black. They have 24 holes with a gap on one of the sides. These ports are only present on old Windows computers. VGA ports have colors with 15 holes.


  • USB-C or Thunderbolt 3: This is an oval-shaped port present on the sides of the latest MacBooks
  • HDMI: The port is tapered with six sides.
  • Mini DisplayPort: This port also has six sides. Most commonly present on Macs made from 2008 to 2016.

2. Determining the Video Input Options on Your Monitor

Most computer monitors have only one available input. As compared to computer monitors, TV monitors tend to have multiple video input options. Older monitor sets mostly use a DVI or VGA cable connection, but you will normally find DisplayPort or HDMI input options on the back of most monitors.

  • Connect video output to the laptop: Connect the cable from the monitor to the video output port of your laptop. Make sure that you match the connector of both cable ends correctly. Once the shapes match, insert the cable.
  • Connect the cable to the monitor: Now you have to see that the shape of the video cable matches with that of the port on your monitor. Insert the cable in carefully.

Here is the tricky part which you may have to take care of. Your monitor might require a different type of cable connection. This will be different from the one that is on your laptop. To solve this issue, you will need an adapter cable.

A Note on Adapters

Adapters serve to form bridges between two types of cables. Thus, the adapter table will then safely connect to the monitor.

While we are talking about adapters, it is important to explain the different types and how each works. For example, if you use a VGA to HDMI adapter, you can connect a VGA cable to an HDMI cable. Other common adapter cables are listed below.

  • HDMI on one end to DisplayPort on the other
  • DisplayPort on one end to HDMI on the other
  • Mini DisplayPort on one end to DisplayPort on the other
  • USB-C on one end to HDMI on the other
  • VGA on one end to HDMI on the other
  • DVI on one end to HDMI on the other

After plugging in, turn on the monitor by pressing the “Power” button. In case you are using an adapter, you also have to plug in the power source of the adapter as well.


Now comes the real part that you have to know while you are looking into how to connect laptop to monitors. You might have to press more than one key after you are done plugging in the cables. Pressing these keys on the keyboard of your Windows laptop will help to activate the display.

The combination of shortcut keys that you can use to make the display work are as follows (might vary depending on the laptop model, but it is the same in most cases). You can press the combination of any key from F3 to F10 with Fn key.

Tip: Usually, there is a picture of the activation function key present somewhere on the monitor. Consult the manual of your device if you fail to locate this key. You can also download a soft copy of the desired manual if you are unable to find this key anywhere.


Here is how you can make the external display work on MacOS X 10.8. The method also works for later versions.

  • Open the System Preferences menu
  • Then, select the Displays options
  • Next, press on the Option key and hold it
  • After this, you will see Detect Displays (bottom-right corner). Click on it. This will allow your MacOS to search for connected displays

3. Selecting Video Source on Your Monitor

If your monitor has multiple inputs, then you have to select a port that will connect your laptop to the monitor. For the selection of the appropriate video source, press the key which says “input”, “video select”, or “source”.

After you perform this step, wait for your laptop’s screen to appear on the monitor’s screen. The desktop wallpaper, along with the icons, will appear on your monitor’s screen as it is. If there is any change, then you can adjust the display settings on your laptop to fit your preferences.


Connecting your laptop to the monitor is a fairly easy process. However, make sure that you follow the guide carefully. Just go through the text given above step by step, and set up your monitor settings with ease.

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