How to make your laptop a touchscreen

Written by david hoskins
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How to make your laptop a touchscreen
Touchscreens allow more flexibility when using your laptop. (Frau und Laptop image by Angelika Bentin from

Upgrading your standard laptop computer with a touchscreen user interface is simple and much more cost-effective than buying a new laptop. The easiest option is to purchase an add-on frame that attaches to your laptop monitor and responds to your touch. Several brand-name touchscreen options are available for purchase, and the instructions that come with the model you choose should be followed closely. Installing a touchscreen onto a laptop, however, follows a general process.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Measuring tape or large ruler
  • Screwdriver

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  1. 1

    Determine the size of your laptop monitor's width and height. The monitor of your laptop has two aspects: the viewing area (VW x VH) and the outside area (OW x OH). Determine the viewing area by measuring the screen inside the hard plastic border that surrounds it from top to bottom (H= height) and left to right (W= width). Determine the outside area by measuring the outside edge of the hard plastic cover surrounding the screen by height and width.

    Use these measurements to determine the size of touchscreen to purchase so that it will function properly on your laptop. The active area of the touchscreen must be at least as big as the viewing area of your laptop to work properly; it is OK if the active area is slightly bigger than the viewing area.

    How to make your laptop a touchscreen
    Flexible cloth tape is far less likely to scratch the monitor. (tailoring measure tape image by Avesun from
  2. 2

    Purchase a touchscreen with installation kit.

  3. 3

    Attach the touchscreen installation kit to your laptop monitor. Depending on the size of the monitor, your installation kit will be one of two kinds: fabric fastener straps or a combination of fabric fastener straps and hangers. Follow the installation instructions contained within your kit.

    When your touchscreen is attached to your monitor, it is very important that the touchscreen is not able to move around or wiggle when it is in use.

    How to make your laptop a touchscreen
    Fabric fastener straps secure a touchscreen. (Velcro image by Fuzzphoto from
  4. 4

    Install the controller interface and software. Determine what operating system your laptops uses, such as Windows Vista. Look for the installation instructions specific to your operating system provided with your touchscreen and follow them closely.

    How to make your laptop a touchscreen
    Your software should come on an installation compact disc. (cd image by Szymon Apanowicz from
  5. 5

    Calibrate your touchscreen. When you first begin using your touchscreen, the cursor will likely be slightly off from where you touch. Use the calibration software that was included with your touchscreen so that the cursor corresponds to where you place your finger.

    The touchscreen needs to be removed from your monitor before closing your laptop. Take a few moments to recalibrate the touchscreen every time it is placed onto your monitor.

Tips and warnings

  • When choosing a touchscreen, compare features as well as prices. Not all touchscreens are made the same.
  • Physically measure the viewing and outside areas of your laptop monitor. These measurements can vary among manufacturers for any size monitor.
  • Closely follow the directions provided by your touchscreen's manufacturer.

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