How to Display Photos From a Laptop to a Projector

By Jeff Grundy

For presenting slide shows as business tools, connecting your laptop to a projector is simple enough. But actually creating and formatting the slides in PowerPoint or other slide show software can be time consuming and unnecessary. Consequently, if you need to create a slide show consisting entirely of pictures, you can skip creating a presentation altogether and simply stream photos from your laptop to a projector using the Photo Viewer program in Windows.

Power off the laptop and the projector.

Connect the monitor cable to the video-output port on the laptop and the matching video input on the projector. Depending on the type of ports on your laptop and projector, you must use a DVI, HDMI or VGA cable to connect the devices.

Power on the projector first, and then turn on the notebook. Allow the notebook to boot into Windows. Log in with your Windows username and password if required. After the laptop displays the desktop screen, the image from the notebook may or may not display on the projector screen automatically.

Press the appropriate function keys on the laptop keyboard if the computer display doesn't appear on the projector screen automatically. Check your laptop's documentation for the correct key combination. Typically, you press the "Fn" key and a function key on the top row of the keyboard that has an icon of two small monitors on it, such as "F8," to toggle the display between the laptop and the projector.

Position the projector so that it faces the screen or wall on which you want to display photos from the laptop. Adjust the focus ring on the projector sharpen the display if needed.

Press "Windows-P" on the laptop keyboard, and then click "Extend" in the Display Switch pop-up window. A blank Windows desktop screen appears on the projector display.

Click "Start," then "Computer." In Windows Explorer, browse to and open the folder containing the photos you want to display as a slide show on the projector screen. Double-click the first image filename in the folder to open and view it in Windows Photo Viewer.

Click the "Play" button on the Windows Photo Viewer navigation bar. The photo opens in full-screen mode and the slide show begins. After the photo opens in full-screen mode on the laptop screen, right-click anywhere on the image and click "Pause."

Press the "Shift-Windows-Right Arrow" keys at the same time. The full-screen mode photo transfers to the projector display immediately and no longer appears on the laptop screen.

Right-click the photo and click "Play." Every few seconds, Windows Photo Viewer displays the next photo from the folder on the projector screen. Press the "Esc" key after displaying all of the photos from the selected folder to return Windows Photo Viewer to normal-window mode and stop the slide show.


Older laptops and projectors usually have only VGA ports, while newer models often have DVI or HDMI connectors. VGA ports are blue in color, while DVI ports are usually white. Some higher-end laptops and HD projectors include HDMI ports that resemble large USB ports you can use to make the connection.