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
Here are some examples:
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!