How to Project a PowerPoint From a Computer

By Mindi Orth

A projector allows everyone in the room to see your presentation.
i George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

PowerPoint allows you to present information to clients and staff in an engaging and interactive fashion. Projecting your PowerPoint presentation onto a projection screen helps to ensure that even those sitting in the back of the room benefit from the information shared. Before you can begin your presentation, however, you must properly connect your computer or laptop to a projector.

Secure one end of the video to the Video input port on your projector and then secure the other end of the cable to the coordinating video output port on your computer. Typically, projectors use a VGA cable to form this connection. Disconnect your monitor before connecting the projector if your computer only has one VGA port. Depending on your projector and computer hardware, you may use a DVI, HDMI, USB or S-video cable to form the connection. Refer to your projector’s manual for specific instructions on how to connect the device.

Connect the audio cable into the projector’s Audio Input jack and into the Audio Output jack of your computer. This step is necessary only if your presentation contains audio and you're not using HDMI, which includes audio on the same cable as video signals.

Connect your projector to a power source and then press the “Power” button or switch to turn on the device.

Press the power button to turn on your computer. Laptop users may need to press a specific function key, often “F4,” to view the screen images on both the laptop monitor and on the projection screen. Pressing this button repeatedly allows you to toggle between displaying the images on your laptop monitor only, the projection screen only or both sources at the same time. Refer to PC’s manual for specific instructions on how to toggle between the video output options.

Open your PowerPoint presentation file. Use your mouse or your projector's remote control to advance slides if necessary.

Items you will need

  • Projector

  • VGA or other video cable

  • Audio cable (optional)


Windows 7 allows you to select how you want to display your desktop images when you have more than one video output source connected to your computer, such as a monitor and a projector. Press the “Windows” and “P” keys simultaneously to open a dialog box containing the four options on how to display your desktop. Choose “Computer Only” or “Projector Only” to display on one source or the other. Choose “Duplicate” to display your desktop on both.