How to connect a projector to a laptop computer

Updated March 23, 2017

Connecting a laptop computer to an projector is needed when you are lecturing or instructing a large audience. Rather than having a group of people crowd around your small screen, use a projector to project the images on your laptop onto a wall or screen so that everyone can watch in comfort. Windows 7 provides an easy way to hook up a projector to a computer.

Connect the cable between the laptop and the projector. This cable usually connects where a monitor could connect.

Connect the power cord to the projector and plug the cord into a wall outlet.

Windows 7 may detect the projector and install the necessary drivers. You may be able to begin your presentation immediately.

If Windows does not detect the projector, click the Windows "Start" menu, select "Control Panel," choose "Appearance and Personalization" and click "Connect to a Projector" under the Display section.

Windows will ask if you want to display your screen on the projector only or have your display on the computer and the projector. Choose the type of display you would like.


Make sure your PowerPoint or other media presentation is optimized for the maximum resolution your projector supports. The last thing you want for is the edges of your content to be clipped due to lack of screen space! Generally a safe bet is to go no higher than 1024x768, unless you are sure the projector you will be using supports higher screen resolutions.


Examine your laptop's outputs and the projector's inputs carefully. It is easy to select the wrong video transfer cable, leaving you out in the cold when it comes time to present. To be sure, bring your computer with you when you go to an electronics retailer to purchase your cable. You will be able to see through the package if your connectors will match up. Unless you are using an HDMI cable and there is audio support built into the media system you will use to present, don't forget to bring some computer speakers if there is sound accompanying your presentation. No one will be able to hear your laptop's tiny speakers!

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About the Author

Jesse Sears is a Los Angeles-based journalist and photographer. He has worked as a professional freelance writer since 2008. Sears has been published in numerous traditional and online media ventures including "The Daily Sundial," "The Pasadena Courier," and others. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from California State University, Northridge.