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Here’s how to connect your laptop to an external display

It doesn’t matter how big your laptop screen is – if you’re doing serious multitasking for work or school, plugging in a monitor can be of great help. Any modern laptop should be able to connect to an external monitor, but you may need to get creative.

The first step is to find out which outputs your laptop supports. It will likely be HDMI, Mini-HDMI, a USB-C port with Thunderbolt and / or DisplayPort support, DisplayPort, or Mini DisplayPort. If you have an older computer, it could be VGA or DVI (the ones covered with holes). If you’re not sure what ports you have, a quick Google search can help. You should be able to find a list on the manufacturer̵

7;s website or in reviews of your laptop model.

Here are some examples:

The Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 from the left.

To the left of the ventilation slots is a USB-C port that supports DisplayPort and Thunderbolt 3. Not all USB-C ports support DisplayPort and Thunderbolt 3. So check the manufacturer’s website. You can also look for icons next to the port.
Photo by Monica Chin / The Verge

HP Pavilion x360

In the second position from the right there is an HDMI connection (labeled). Second from the left is a USB-C that supports DisplayPort.
Photo by Cameron Faulkner / The Verge

Vaio SX14 Windows PC

This is a VGA port.
Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Dell G5 15 SE

In the second place from the left is a Mini DisplayPort. The third from the left is an HDMI port. The rightmost USB-C supports DisplayPort, but Thunderbolt 3 does not.
Photo by Cameron Faulkner / The Verge

Next, you need to find out which inputs your external display supports. You may find several options, but most of them have HDMI or DisplayPort. (If you have both HDMI and DisplayPort, the ideal choice will depend on the specific standards that each port supports, the type of work you want to do, and the capabilities of each device. You may want one Read explainer. PC Mag has a detailed.)

From there, the final step is to connect the two devices. The easiest way to do this is to find a cable that connects the two standards. For example, if your laptop has a USB-C port that supports DisplayPort and your monitor has DisplayPort, you can use a USB-C to DisplayPort cable. If both your laptop and monitor support HDMI, a standard HDMI cable will work.

In some scenarios, it might be easier to use a dongle or a dock. For example, if you’re using Thunderbolt 3 on your laptop and HDMI on your monitor and you already have an HDMI cable, you can use a USB-C to HDMI dongle to connect the two instead of buying a whole new cable. If you’re using a Dell XPS 13 or MacBook Pro that only has USB-C, you might be connecting your laptop to a USB-C hub that has HDMI support. In this case, simply slide the HDMI into the dock to connect an HDMI monitor.

Once you’ve set up your cable, plug in your monitor and turn it on. Plug your laptop and monitor into the correct ends of your cable and off you go!

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