In this article, you will learn how to connect a monitor to a laptop running Windows or Mac OS X. Most modern laptops will automatically display the image on the monitor as soon as you plug the cable into the laptop, so the key is figuring out which cable to use.
Part 1 of 3: How to Connect a Monitor
Step 1. Find out what kind of video connector your laptop has
Most laptops only have one video connector, which is located on the side or back. There are several main types of video connectors that can be found on a laptop:
- Windows laptop:
- HDMI: A narrow six-way port found on most Windows laptops.
- DisplayPort: Similar to HDMI, but only has one side beveled.
- VGA or DVI: The VGA port is a colored connector with holes and the DVI port is a black connector with holes and a slot on one side. These ports are only found on older computers.
- Mac laptop:
- Thunderbolt 3 (also known as USB-C): An oval port found on the side panels of modern MacBooks.
- HDMI: A narrow six-way port found on some MacBooks.
- Mini DisplayPort: A six-way port found on Macs from 2008 to 2016.
Step 2. Find out which video connector is on the monitor
Typically, conventional monitors have only one video connector, while TVs that can be used as monitors have multiple video connectors. In most cases, the monitor has an HDMI or DisplayPort port located on the rear panel.
If your monitor is relatively old, you'll find a VGA or DVI port on the back of the monitor
Step 3. Choose a cable to connect the monitor to the laptop
If your laptop and monitor have at least one of the same type of connector (most likely it will be HDMI), use a cable that has the same plugs on both ends.
Step 4. Buy a dedicated cable (if needed)
If the video connectors on your laptop and monitor are different, buy a cable with different plugs on the ends, such as:
- HDMI-DisplayPort cable;
- DisplayPort-HDMI or MiniDisplayPort-HDMI cable;
- MiniDisplayPort-DisplayPort cable;
- USB / C-HDMI or USB / C-DisplayPort cable.
- Buy a VGA to HDMI or DVI to HDMI adapter if needed. The adapter has two cables, so a VGA to HDMI adapter requires a VGA to VGA cable and an HDMI to HDMI cable.
Step 5. Turn on the monitor
Connect the monitor to a power source (such as an electrical outlet) and then press the on / off button
on the monitor.
Step 6. Connect the monitor to the laptop
Connect one end of the cable to your laptop and the other to your monitor.
If you bought an adapter, connect its power cable to a power source
Step 7. Wait until the picture from the laptop is displayed on the monitor
Once the desktop and icons appear on the monitor, adjust the display settings on the laptop.
Part 2 of 3: How to customize display settings in Windows
Step 1. Open the Start Menu
Click on the Windows logo in the lower left corner of the screen.
Step 2. Click "Options"
It's a gear-shaped icon in the lower left side of the menu.
Step 3. Click on System
It's a computer-shaped icon in the preferences window.
Step 4. Click the Display tab
It's on the left side of the window.
Step 5. Scroll down to the "Multiple Screens" section
It's at the bottom of the page.
Step 6. Open the menu in the "Multiple screens" section
Step 7. Select the required option
From the menu, select one of the following options:
- Duplicate these screens: Display an exact copy of the contents of the laptop screen on the monitor.
- Expand these screens: Stretch the desktop to the laptop screen and monitor. Moving the mouse pointer to the right edge of the laptop screen and then moving the mouse to the right will move the mouse pointer from the laptop screen to the monitor.
- Show desktop to 1 only: The picture will be displayed only on the laptop screen, and the monitor will turn off.
- Show desktop only 2: The picture will be displayed on the monitor only, and the laptop screen will turn off.
Part 3 of 3: How to Adjust Display Settings in Mac OS X
Step 1. Open the Apple menu
Click on the Apple logo in the upper left corner of the screen.
Step 2. Click System Preferences
It's near the top of the menu. The System Preferences window will open.
Step 3. Click on Monitors
This monitor-shaped icon is in the middle of the System Preferences window.
Step 4. Click on the Monitors tab
It's in the upper left corner of the window.
Step 5. Change the resolution of your monitor
Check the box next to "Scaled" and then select a resolution.
You cannot use a resolution that exceeds the maximum resolution of the monitor (such as 4K)
Step 6. Change the scale
Drag the slider beside Compressed Layout, located at the bottom left of the page, to enlarge the image on the monitor, or to the right to reduce it.
This way you can adjust the size of the image that is transmitted from the laptop to the monitor if the image on the monitor is too large or too small
Step 7. Stretch the desktop to the laptop screen and monitor
To do this, go to the "Layout" tab at the top of the window, and then uncheck the "Enable video mirroring of monitors" box under the screen layout window.
Here you can also adjust the position of the menu bar - to do this, drag the white rectangle located at the top of the screen layout window to the right or left
- DisplayPort, HDMI and USB-C ports support audio signal transmission; this means that the monitor speakers will play audio from the laptop (if you've connected to one of these ports).
- To improve the picture quality on your monitor, update your laptop drivers.