How To Connect A Laptop To A Monitor?

Connecting a laptop to a monitor can be fun because whatever was seen in the smaller monitor of the laptop can be seen in a bigger one, that is if the new monitor is bigger.

Whether you want a larger screen for watching movies or sharing a presentation or your laptop monitor has some issues, making the connection is easy and quick.

Dive in to know more about working with a second screen for your laptop.

Mirroring Vs. Extending  

Both Mac and Windows computers have two different modes that you can choose to dictate the way things are displayed on dual monitors.

In Extend Mode, the second monitor is like a separate screen to display things different from the first monitor. This method can be adopted if you want the second screen to extend the main monitor. The external display can then display different applications.

The Mirror Mode lets you duplicate what is visible on the first screen to the second screen. So, both the screens show the same application or pictures, whatever you have opened. This can be useful to see your favorite shows or movies on a bigger screen.

You may also like: How Do I Display Different Things On Two Monitors?

Choose the Right Port and Cable

Typically, a laptop has many ports, and one or more of them can be used to connect to a monitor though the video quality varies for different ports. 

HDMI and DisplayPort

HDMI and DisplayPort are better than other ports mainly because they can be used to carry audio and video signals over the same cable. While both make connecting the laptop to an external monitor easier, DisplayPort lets connect to two monitors. DisplayPort can be picked if you are an ardent gamer who loves playing on laptops with high-end graphics cards.

If you have an HDMI cable and want to connect a 4K monitor, go for a certified Premium High-Speed HDMI for ensuring full depth of color and resolution.

You can also use USB-C to connect a laptop or a Macbook to Monitor or TV.


Older laptops usually have a VGA or DVI port for connecting to a second screen. VGA can send standard definition videos, but DVI supports Full HD videos. Unfortunately, both of them do not support audio. A separate cable can run from the laptop’s headphone jack and the monitor’s audio input to carry audio.  

How to Connect a Laptop to a Monitor

The first step is choosing the right cable and connecting the laptop with the monitor. The operating system will detect the monitor and display whatever is on the laptop screen. Ensure that the monitor is set to the right input for easy detection.

There are many inputs, and you can select the correct video input. If nothing is visible on the newly connected screen, go to Start > Settings > System > Display and tap ‘Detect’ to make the laptop recognize the monitor.

How To Connect A Laptop To A Monitor
How To Connect A Laptop To A Monitor?

Choose What You See On Your Monitor

When you connect an external monitor to your laptop, you can decide what should be displayed on this second screen. There are four options to choose from:

  • Duplicate these displays
  • Extend these displays
  • Show only on 1
  • Show only on 2

Show The Same Output On Your Laptop And Monitor

By default, the OS selects ‘Duplicate these displays,’ so both the laptop and the second monitor show the same things. Moving the mouse on one display will also move it on the other.

Show Output Only On The External Monitor

If you plan to use only the new monitor, you can choose ‘Show only on 2’. This way, the screen gets maximum resolution from the laptop. In this mode, you can even keep your laptop closed.

Spread Your Desktop Across Your Laptop And Monitor

If you select ‘Extend these displays,’ you can view different things on the two screens. When you move your mouse to the edge of one screen, it enters the other. It is also possible to drag and drop items from one monitor to the other.

How To Connect A Monitor To A Laptop On Windows 10 And Windows 11?

The first step to link a monitor to a Windows laptop is to connect the cables properly. Checking for Windows update can be done by selecting Start > Settings > Updates & Security > Windows Updates > Check for updates.

The two screens will be numbered as 1 and 2 once it has detected the screens. To confirm the number associated with each screen, go to start > Settings > Display > Identify. Each screen will show its corresponding number.

If the new display is not getting detected, go to Start > Settings > System > Display > Multiple Displays > Detect. Arrange the displays by drag and drop. Tap Apply.

How To Connect A Monitor To A Macbook?

Keep the right cables and adapters ready to connect a monitor to a MacBook and follow the steps given below.

  • Connect the second monitor to the Macbook using the right adapters and cables.
  • The external display will be detected and activated automatically when you switch on the Mac.
  • Click the Apple menu icon and then System Preferences
  • Press Displays and then press Arrangement on the laptop monitor
  • The laptop monitor shows a diagram of the monitors’ positioning. If the positioning is not correct, locate the secondary monitor icon.
  • Drag and drop the second monitor into the correct position. Releasing the mouse will place it in the right position
  • Now the new monitor is ready to use. You can configure the monitor so that it displays the perfect picture.
  • Configuring can be done by clicking ‘Scaled’ and selecting the right resolution. Remember to select a resolution that is equal to or less than the resolution supported by Mac.
  • Now close the display settings and start working with two monitors.

FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

How To Connect A Laptop To A Monitor Or TV With HDMI?

For older laptops and TVs, you can connect a cable from the VGA port of the laptop to the HDMI input on the TV. A standard HDMI cable will do if the laptop is equipped with full-sized HDMI output. Mini- or micro- HDMI requires an adapter or a cable that has a regular HDMI port at the other end. Other options like DisplayPort, Mini DisplayPort, and Thunderbolt need cables and adapters with HDMI on the other end.

How To Connect Laptop To Monitor Wirelessly?

If you have a MacBook, the best way to connect it wirelessly to a monitor is by using AirPlay. This can only be connected to devices that support AirPlay like Apple TV, Apple TV 4K etc. If your Windows laptop supports Miracast, it can be wirelessly connected to a TV having devices that support Miracast like Roku streamers, wireless display adapters, etc.

How To Extend Laptop Screen To Monitor?

 ‘Extend these displays’ option is used to extend your laptop screen to the monitor. When you choose this option, the monitor does not mirror what is seen on the laptop. Instead, it works as an extension to the laptop by showing different content. You can open one application on the laptop and another on the monitor. For example, you can open a video on the monitor while working on some document on the laptop.

How To Extend Macbook Screen To Monitor?  

Once the right cables are connected, you can place the second monitor near the MacBook, and the whole setup becomes a large continuous desktop. On the MacBook, select the Apple menu > System Preferences. Tap Displays and then Display Settings. You will see a pop-up menu where you may click the name of the display and then ‘Extend Display.’

How To Use Monitor With Laptop Closed?

You can choose the ‘Show only on 2’ option to use the external monitor alone. As a result, your monitor will get the maximum resolution from the laptop, and you can even close the laptop lid while working. To prevent the laptop from going to sleep, go to Start > Settings > System > Power & Sleep and choose ‘Additional Power Settings.’ In the window that opens, select ‘Choose what closing the lid does. In the drop-down, select ‘Do nothing’ for when the laptop is ‘plugged in’ and ‘on battery.’ Now you can close the laptop while working and it won’t go to sleep. 

Whichever laptop you own, there must be one or the other option to connect it to an external monitor. There are many cables and adapters that help make this process easier. So, go for the right ones and complete the display settings to start working with two screens.

Andy Avery

I really enjoy helping people with their tech problems to make life easier, ​and that’s what I’ve been doing professionally for the past decade.

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