Knowing how to connect a projector to a laptop is an important skill these days. You might have an important presentation but IT gave you a new laptop or you hire a projector for a one-off event. The person who normally does it could be off or simply you would like to know how to set up a projector and laptop.
Firstly we must look at the connections on the laptop and projector. The main connections for Laptops are VGA / HDMI. Remember Netbooks and ultrabooks may use different connectors. Never assume anything.
In some cases you may find that the projector and laptop do not have matching connections. In those cases, you will need an adaptor/converter.
If the connections match you can proceed to connect the relevant lead between your projector and laptop. Ensure the projector is on before booting your laptop.
There are two main operating systems used Mac OSX by Apple and Windows. While most modern laptops will auto-configure output to the projector on booting. It is important to know how to manually enable output, in the event it doesn’t work.
Output windows laptop to the connected projector
If using an older Windows laptop, you may need to use the Fn (function key) to activate output. This function will be different depending on the laptop manufacturer. Usually, it is one of the following combinations:
While holding down the Fn key, press F3, F4, F5, F7, F8, F9, or F10.
How you activate output on Win10 after you connect your laptop and projector is easier.
Simply press and hold the Windows key, then press P, then a menu will pop up on the screen allowing you to select how you want to output to your screen.
- PC Screen only – No output to the projector
- Duplicate – an exact copy image of your screen, good for tutorials or demonstrations
- Extend – This gives you a second screen that is only viewed on the projector and is best for PowerPoint presentation. Giving you control of your computer without interrupting the presentation.
The second Screen only – Avoid this option unless you have a reason to want to disable your screen.