How to Attach an Overhead Projector to a Laptop

By Steve Lander

LCD panels let you use your laptop with an overhead projector.
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The overhead projectors in many training rooms are essentially light boxes with lenses. Unlike a data projector, they do not have any way of creating images on their own. As such, you cannot directly connect them to a laptop computer. However, you can use a laptop with an overhead projector as long as you have an intervening device -- a projection panel. Projection panels have the liquid crystal display elements of a small flat screen monitor in a frame. When you put one on an overhead projector, the light from the projector shines through the display like the backlight on a monitor and the projector's focusing lens throws the image onto the screen.

Connect one end of the 15-pin VGA cable to your projection panel's VGA input. Tighten the thumbscrews so that it does not fall out.

Connect the other end of the cable to your laptop's VGA port. As with the connection to the panel, tighten the thumbscrews so that it does not fall out.

Flip the overhead projector's power switch to the "On" position.

Press the "Power" button on your projection panel to turn it on.

Press the "Power" button on your notebook computer to turn it on. Wait for it to boot up.

Hold down the "Fn" key on your notebook keyboard, while pressing the numbered "F"-key that turns on the VGA output. A list of typical F-keys is linked in the Resources section below. Some notebook computers automatically turn on their VGA output when they detect that something is attached, so you may be able to skip this step.

Adjust your projector's focusing knob and the position of the projection panel, until the projected image meets your needs.

Items you will need

  • Projection panel

  • Video Graphics Adapter cable