How To Use External Monitor With Laptop

Has it ever happened to you at work that when you want to share your ideas with your colleagues, but could not, because you didn’t know how to display them on the big screen? Or when your family got together and you planned to watch a first-rate movie but you were unable to do so as you didn’t know how to connect the monitor with your laptop?

Whether it is work or for entertainment, it is good to know so that you can be a help to someone or yourself if you are in these kinds of situations.

If you want to know how to use an external monitor with your laptop, then keep on reading and find out how you can connect a bigger screen with your laptop.

We can assure you that you will find all the important points in this article. We will try to give the best answers to your questions whether you are a Windows or Apple user. We will also try to let you know more about wireless connections as well. So stay tuned!


Connecting An External Monitor With Laptop

Before we jump into the details of the procedure of connecting the particular type of laptop you use, you might want to know the different ways you can connect an external monitor with your laptop. We hope you have a gist of the whole scenario after you read through the article.

Using HDMI

The High Definition Multimedia Interface, or more commonly known as HDMI, is probably the easiest option for you to connect both devices. You are expected to find at least one HDMI port on your laptop and the external monitor will have the HDMI port at the sides or backside.

The wire can be used to transport information from and to desktops, laptops, TVs, and many more.

Other Cables

In case you don’t have an HDMI port on your laptop, there are some other cables with which you can connect your laptop to an external screen. So, if you don’t have an HDMI port on your laptop, don’t freak out!

You may use the small video port, the USB-C, or any other DisplayPort port. If you own an old laptop, it will at least have VGA, S-Video, or DVI ports, which can be used to connect the external monitor.

A USB-C port is small and has a rectangular shape to it with round corners.
The DisplayPort looks similar to the HDMI The VGA port is usually blue and looks like a trapezoid. The S-Video port is black and has a circular shape. Last but not the least, the DVI port is generally white in color, and larger in size compared to the HDMI or DisplayPort, and rectangular.

The DisplayPort looks like the HDMI, with 3-right-angled sharp corners and 1 corner cut. A mini DisplayPort looks like the regular one, but smaller in size.
If none of this works for your laptop or the external monitor, you can use an adapter to connect the devices.

Wireless Connections

This is another way you can connect an external monitor to your laptop. Automation named ‘Miracast’ can help you to build a connection between the two devices. To develop the connection, the two devices need to support Miracast.


Connecting A MacBook To An External Monitor

Firstly, you may look for the ports for connecting the devices. As it is a Mac device, you will not be able to connect it to any external monitor directly, even if use HDMI or any other cables. This is where an adapter comes in, which will help you do so.

Even if you connected both devices, activation of the connection is necessary. To do this, follow the steps below. Keep in mind that this procedure will work on macOS x 10.8 and the later versions only.

Go to ‘System Preferences’ at first, select ‘Displays’, and press and hold ‘Option’. Then you will notice a ‘Detect Displays’ button at the bottom right corner of your screen. After you select this, your Mac will start searching for the external displays nearby. Just select your external monitor and you are good to go!


Connecting A Windows Laptop To An External Monitor

The first thing you have to do is find out the port that you are going to use for connecting the devices. Just as we have mentioned before, you can use the HDMI port if you have a modern laptop. But if your laptop is relatively old, you will at least find a DVI, USB-C, VGA, or DisplayPort.

With any of these ports, you will be able to connect the two devices and carry on with the following steps.

Next, you have to activate the connection between your external monitor that you are connecting your laptop to. You will find a key with a picture of a monitor, which is the activation function key. If you don’t find it, you can check the user manual or the manufacturer’s website.

Once your connection is activated, you can choose the view of your external monitor. You can start by pressing the Windows key and the ‘P’ key together. You can also search for the “Project Options”.

Here, you will be given four options you have to choose from. An option is ‘PC Screen Only’ which you can select if you want to use the laptop’s display.

The second option is ‘Duplicate’ which should be chosen if you want to view both screens with the same content. The quality of the picture on the bigger screen will depend on the resolution of your laptop.

The third option is ‘Extend’ which is used to extend the screen and use both as one. With this option, you can drag or drop contents from one screen to another.

The last one is ‘Second Screen Only’. You can use this option if you want to use only the external monitor.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How To Connect Laptop With Monitor And Use Both Screens?

Once you have connected the external screen to your laptop, you can choose to use either one screen or both screens simultaneously.

Just as we have mentioned before, while we have explained how to connect an external monitor to a Windows laptop earlier in this article, you can use both screens simultaneously if you want to. All you have to do is, right-click on ‘Windows’ and then select ‘Display Settings’. You will be asked to choose from four different options at this point, including the ‘Extend’ option. Select this if you want to extend and use both screens.

2. Can I Use External Monitor With Laptop Closed?

You can only use the external monitor only when the laptop is turned on. If you want to keep the lid close, you have to ensure that the laptop is still running. If it is powered off, there will be nothing visible on the external screen either.

You can click on the start button of your Windows laptop and search ‘Control Panel’. Click on it and, choose ‘Hardware and Sound’, and under ‘Power Options’, you will notice ‘Change what the power buttons do’. After you click on it, you will find ‘When I close the lid’, select ‘Do nothing’ and save the changes.

3. Will the External Monitor Work When The Primary Monitor Is Broken?

The answer to this question depends solely on the condition of the hardware of the primary monitor. If the damage is only physical, the external monitor is going to work for sure.

However, if there is an issue with the video hardware or any other malfunctioning component, your primary monitor for the external monitor needs to be changed.

4. How To Split Screens Between Monitor And Laptop?

You can do this by following some simple steps. Click on the Start button and search Settings. Then select ‘System, and then go to ‘Display’. Now, scroll down to ‘Multiple Displays’ and click on ‘Detect’ below it. Once the laptop detects the external monitor, you can pick what you want to be displayed on both screens and save the changes you have made.


Once you learn how to use an external monitor with your laptop, you will get to explore a lot of uses of connecting both devices.

You need to know that all modern laptops can connect to another monitor. Some laptops have connecting processes which are easier compared to others. Some laptops need wires and adapters for connection, while others require neither of these.

We hope that reading through this article will help you out in whatever situation you might be stuck in. Since external monitors are widely used nowadays, whether you use them for work or entertainment, we guarantee this shortcut will help you out!

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