How to Connect a Monitor to a Laptop [Full Guide]


Do you want to connect a monitor to your laptop? It’s easy.

In this article, we will walk you through the process of how to connect a monitor to a laptop. We’ll also:

  • discuss the different ports and cables used
  • show you how to set up the connection
  • give you some tips for connecting two monitors to a single laptop

Let’s get started.

How To Connect a Monitor To a Laptop

There are a few different ways to connect a monitor to your laptop. Check which of the following ports your laptop has, so you can establish a successful connection:


An HDMI connection is a means of connecting devices that use the High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) standard. It’s one of the most common audio/video standards currently in use.

HDMI ports used to connect the laptop to the monitor are standard on most laptops, including some of the most affordable gaming laptops. All you need to do is get an HDMI cable, connect one of its ends to your laptop, and the other end to the screen. Remember to check that the cables are properly aligned before plugging them in – if they’re not, you may damage the equipment.


The DisplayPort (DP) connection, like HDMI, transports high-definition HD audio and video signals between a laptop and a monitor. Actually, DP is more frequently used than HDMI on computer displays.

Before you learn about how to connect the laptop to a monitor through a DisplayPort, make sure that your laptop actually has one. The easiest way to do that is by checking the port’s appearance: the DP has five sides, with a slanted upper right-hand corner, while the HDMI one has eight edges, but the left and right-hand corners appear identical.


VGA is one of the oldest connectors on the market. They make contact between a PC or laptop and a monitor using an HD15 connector. Despite its capability to achieve a few high frame rates and resolutions, it transmits an analog signal.

To connect a monitor to your laptop via VGA, first, locate your laptop’s 15-pin VGA port on the back or side. Align the connecting end of your monitor with your laptop’s VGA jack and push it in. If automatic switching is enabled, the laptop’s output will be sent to the VGA monitor right away.


If your computer screen is older, it’s possible that it only has a DVI input. This is a digital connector that offers lower video quality, but it can still show a resolution of up to 2560×1600. If you need a second screen for your laptop, simply connect it to a monitor using a DVI cable.

If you’re a senior, but still in need of a higher quality resolution, consider purchasing a laptop specifically designed for seniors to better suit your needs.

What’s Next?

Let’s continue:

Get the Right Cable

After you’ve determined what kind of port your laptop has, you’ll need to get an appropriate cable. Whether it’s an HDMI, VGA, DisplayPort, or DVI cable will depend on what’s compatible with your equipment.

Get an Adapter

But how to connect a second monitor if you don’t have the right cable? If your laptop doesn’t have the right port for the cable you’re using, you may need to get an adapter. For example, if you’re using a DisplayPort cable but your laptop only has an HDMI port, you’ll need to get a DisplayPort-to-HDMI adapter.

You’ll also come across adapters and dongles for transforming AV signals, i.e. HDMI to VGA.

Connection Setup

Once you have the right cable and/or adapter, it’s time to establish the laptop to monitor connection.

  1. First, locate the correct port on both devices. Align the connectors and plug them in. Make sure that both your laptop and monitor are turned off, and that the connectors are properly seated before continuing.
  2. After everything is plugged in, go ahead and turn on both the monitor and the laptop, and wait for Windows to start.
  3. In the Start Search box, type “Display Settings” and then choose “Ease of Access Display Settings” when it appears.
  4. In the Display Settings window, select “Additional Settings”.
  5. You’ll see numbered boxes, one for the laptop and one for the monitor you connected. Usually, when connecting a laptop to a monitor, number 1 represents the built-in display of the laptop, but to be sure which is which, click “Identify” and the numbers will briefly flash on both display screens.
  6. Scroll down to the Multiple Displays section. Depending on whether you want them to display the same information or serve as a larger desktop, select “Duplicate These Displays” or “Extend These Displays” from the dropdown menu.
DID YOU KNOW: The connection process is pretty simple on a MacBook, and you’ll need a USB-C or a Thunderbolt cable. For the laptop and monitor setup, you should go to System Preferences -> Displays -> Arrangement, where you can rearrange, or mirror displays if you want both of them to show the same thing.

How to Connect Two Monitors to a Laptop

Connecting two monitors to your laptop isn’t much harder than connecting one, but you’ll need to check whether your laptop has enough ports to plug in all the necessary cables. Here’s how you can do it:

Via a Thunderbolt / USB-C Port

Some newer laptops come with a Thunderbolt or USB-C port. This is a versatile port that can be used to connect a variety of devices, including monitors. To connect your laptop to Thunderbolt or USB monitor, you will need a Thunderbolt or USB cable.

Thunderbolt 3 displays allow you to daisy-chain them together. So if you have two Thunderbolt 3 displays and a computer with a single Thunderbolt 3 port, you may connect the first display to your laptop’s TB3 connection, and the second display to the first monitor in the chain.

Via VGA, DVI, HDMI, and Mini DisplayPort

The odds are that your laptop has more than one display output type, and they can be a combination of HDMI, DVI, VGA, or a Mini DisplayPort. For example, it may have both an HDMI and a Mini DisplayPort connection. Both outputs may be connected to the same monitor, allowing both monitors to operate at the same time.

So, how does this way of connecting more than one monitor to a laptop work? Again:

Get the Right Cables

Once you’ve determined your laptop output ports, you should proceed with obtaining cables that match the respective slots, so you can establish a successful connection.

Get an Adapter

In case your laptop’s ports aren’t the same as your monitor cable connectors, there is an alternative solution. You can either:

  1. Use an adapter, such as an HDMI to DVI converter. This will work if your laptop and monitor have two different ports.
  2. Use a switch splitter, such as a Display Splitter, to combine two HDMI jacks. This works if you only have one HDMI port on your laptop but require two.

Connection Setup

Once all the equipment for connecting monitors to the laptop is ready, you can begin the setup process:

  1. Connect the cable of the first external monitor to your laptop’s appropriate video port. For example, connect the VGA cable on your laptop to the VGA port on the first external screen.
  2. Then, connect the cable of the second external monitor to the appropriate port on your laptop. For example, plug the HDMI cable of the second monitor into your laptop’s HDMI port.
  3. Using the search box, go to Display Settings on your laptop.
  4. In Display Mode, you’ll find three screens labeled 1, 2, and 3. In general, the laptop’s monitor is Display 1, while the external monitors are 2 and 3.
  5. The next step in connecting a monitor to a laptop is to click Display 2, and select the “Extend Desktop to This Display” option in Multiple displays, after which you should click “Apply”.
  6. Then, select Display 3, and repeat the same procedure.
  7. Finish the setup by clicking “OK”, and your three displays will be ready to use.

Key Takeaways

Knowing how to link your laptop to a second monitor can improve your experience and productivity by providing you with extra space.
You can establish the connection between your laptop and the additional monitor via HDMI, VGA, DVI, or DisplayPort.
If you need even more space, you can connect two additional monitors to your laptop by using any of the above-mentioned methods, or via a Thunderbolt/USB-C port.
If you don’t have an appropriate cable, you can use an adapter or switch splitter to connect the two displays.

Benefits of Connecting a Laptop to One or More Monitors

Connecting monitors to laptops isn’t only done for the sake of having more screen inches. Here are a few more reasons why some people prefer to connect their computers:


Knowing how to connect one or two monitors to a laptop can help you with multitasking. Connecting several monitors allows you to utilize split-screen mode, which lets you watch a movie on your PC monitor and do something else on your laptop display. This is a nice setup that keeps you from having to go back and forth between different windows and apps.

More Screen Real Estate

You can double the amount of screen area on your laptop by connecting it to a monitor or two. Functions might be transferred from one screen to the next so you don’t have to shrink windows or split your attention between two apps. Knowing how to connect a monitor to a laptop can be useful for a number of purposes, ranging from leisure activities like video chatting while using Facebook to updating a working spreadsheet while looking up data on another platform.

Increase Communication

Dual monitors make communication easier since you can stay in touch with other workers, clients, and management without getting off your work. To assist during team discussions, you may use communication technologies like Zoom, Skype, or Slack while having your project open on the second screen.

Ideal for Gaming

Learning how to connect two monitors to a laptop can provide you with an enhanced gaming experience, especially if you use an MSI gaming laptop. Multi-monitor gaming allows you to easily play a video, listen to music, or talk while using two monitors. Two monitors are great for live streaming; dual displays allow you to communicate and interact with viewers without losing your concentration.

DID YOU KNOW: Having two monitors can significantly improve your productivity if you’re programming, too. People who code in many languages prefer to split one monitor between their IDE (integrated development environment) and other things such as documentation, reference materials, or a web browser with search engine results open.


Knowing how to add a monitor to a laptop can significantly enhance your experience and improve your productivity. Connecting your laptop to a second monitor is a rather simple process, and once you have all the necessary equipment, you’ll be able to enjoy all the benefits of having more screen space.


Can you connect a laptop to a monitor?

You can easily connect a monitor to your laptop if you have the right equipment. Check what kind of ports your laptop and monitor have (HDMI, VGA, DVI, or DisplayPort), and then provide an appropriate cable to set up the connection.

How to connect a second monitor to a laptop?

It’s easy to learn how to connect a monitor to a laptop. Once you’ve checked what kind of ports your laptop has and provide an appropriate cable, you are ready to plug it in and establish the connection with the second monitor.

Can I connect 2 monitors to my laptop without a docking station?

In a daisy-chained configuration, two monitors can be linked to the same DisplayPort video output without the need of a docking station. Since HDMI and DisplayPort are not compatible; you’ll need monitors with a DisplayPort input.

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