How to Set Up a Laptop With a Projector

By Solomon Poretsky

It's easy to connect a laptop to a projector with the right cables.
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Connecting a laptop to a projector is a relatively easy process that lets you share your laptop display with a group of people. Given that many laptop displays lose brightness, contrast and saturation when you view them off-axis, using a projector is an excellent idea, even if you are presenting to a small group of people. When you project to a large group of people, a projector is really the only way to share your laptop's display.

Turn your projector off by pressing its "Power" button.

Connect a 15-pin cable to your laptop's Video Graphics Adapter output port. It has a trapezoid-shaped plug and will only fit when inserted the correct way, so do not force it. Once you have connected it, tighten the thumbscrews so that it does not fall out.

Plug the other end of the cable into your projector's VGA port and tighten the thumbscrews.

Connect an audio cable with two 3.5-mm plugs between your laptop's Headphone or Audio Line-Out port and your projector's audio input. If your projector lacks a built-in speaker, you can omit this step.

Press your projector's "Power" button to turn it on and wait for it to warm up.

Use your projector's source selector button to select the input to which you connected your computer. On some projectors, you press an "Input" or "Source" button repeatedly until the projector selects that mode. On others, you press the specific button that corresponds to the input.

Press the key combination on your laptop that turns on its VGA port. Typically, you will hold down the "Fn" or "Function" key while pressing one of the numbered F-keys like "F4" or "F7." Different laptops use different F-keys, so look for one labeled "CRT/LCD" or "LCD/VGA." Alternatively, look for one with a picture of a monitor, or a picture of a monitor and computer.

Items you will need

  • VGA cable

  • 3.5-mm male-to-male audio cable


Some laptops also have HDMI ports. If you have an HDMI port, you can also make a connection with an HDMI cable. Doing this lets you forego using a separate audio cable.