How to Hook Up a Laptop to Present a PowerPoint

By Jeff Grundy

With Windows 7, you don't need to use function keys to toggle external displays on most laptops.
i old dirty Multimedia projector image by Pavel Losevsky from

Many successful entrepreneurs use Microsoft PowerPoint to display interactive presentations to help train staff, cover important information at meetings and even in sales pitches to prospective customers. When presenting slide shows in the office, it’s usually not a problem having your employees gather round your desktop computer to view a PowerPoint presentation. However, if you need to take your presentations on the road, you will probably use a laptop with a smaller view screen. If you need to display PowerPoint presentations for a group, connect your laptop to a large-screen TV or projector so everyone in the room can view the slide show easily.

Power off the laptop and the television or projector to which you want to connect it. Locate the video-out port on the rear of the laptop and determine if the connector matches the one on the projector or television. If the port on the external display does not match the one on the laptop, you must use a VGA-to-DVI or DVI-to-VGA adapter to make the connection.

Connect the video cable to the video-in port on the TV or project. Connect an adapter to the cable if needed, and then connect it to the video-out port on the laptop. Note that most laptops have either a blue VGA video-out port or a white one for DVI cable connections.

Power on the projector or TV first, then turn on the laptop. Use the remote to change the source input on the TV if needed. Log in to Windows with your username and password if prompted. After you log in to Windows a duplicate image of the laptop display appears on the television or projector.

Press the "Windows - P" keys to launch the multi-monitor setup utility. Click the "Extended" option in the window. A new blank desktop screen appears on the projector or television screen.

Launch PowerPoint on the laptop. After the program launches, drag and drop the window on to the TV or projector display.

Launch your presentation in PowerPoint and use the application, as you normally would.

Items you will need

  • RCA A/V cables (optional)

  • DVI-to-VGA or VGA-to-DVI adapter (optional)

  • VGA-to-RCA adapter cable (for older televisions)


If you are connecting the laptop to an older TV without a VGA or DVI video-in port, use an VGA-to-RCA adapter cable. Connect the VGA head on the adapter cable to the laptop -- or to the VGA port on a DVI-to-VGA adapter, if required -- and then connect an RCA A/V cable set to the female RCA plugs on the adapter. Plug the other end of the A/V cable set in to the Audio-In and Video-In ports on the TV.