Connecting a monitor to a laptop is a great way to increase your productivity, especially when you’re working with multiple applications. For example, you might have a coding IDE and documentation open on one monitor while a web browser with search engine results open on another. Or, you might be watching a video that requires a large amount of screen space.
The first step in connecting a monitor to your laptop is to ensure you have the appropriate cables and connections available. Depending on your monitor and laptop, you may need a VGA, HDMI or DisplayPort cable. You can also use a USB-C or Thunderbolt cable.
Once you have the correct cable, simply plug one end into your laptop and the other into the appropriate input on your monitor. If your monitor has a physical menu button or settings button, find that and click it to open up the monitor’s options.
You’ll then need to change your settings on your laptop to enable it to detect the monitor and show the correct resolution and orientation. The process varies slightly between operating systems, but all you have to do is head to Settings > Displays on Windows or System Preferences on Macs.
Select your external monitor from the list. It should now be visible in the display list under your internal monitor. You can then drag it to the location you want it to be, making sure to set the resolution to what you’re looking for.
Next, you’ll want to change the screen’s mode from “PC screen only” to “Second screen only.” If you’re using the monitor for multitasking, you can switch between these two modes with the key shortcut of [Windows] + [P]. You’ll also need to configure the screen to be duplicated, extended or mirrored.
To do that, head to Settings > Displays on Windows and macOS and select Duplicate or extend to a connected display. This will create a new window that will mirror the desktop content on your two connected monitors.
You can also change the resolution of your second monitor if it’s not at the same high definition as the primary monitor. To do that, select the lower resolution on the left side of the monitor’s window and set it to what you’re looking for.
If you’re using a monitor that’s larger than your laptop’s screen, it might be easier to just attach the two to a single computer monitor adapter. Some monitors come with a dock or dongle that lets you connect them to a single port.
There are several different ways to connect a monitor to a laptop, but the most common is by using an HDMI cable. Most laptops have an HDMI port, so this is the easiest and most straightforward option. If your laptop doesn’t have an HDMI port, you’ll need to find an HDMI-to-HDMI adapter. There are also adapters for transforming AV signals, such as HDMI to VGA.