Basic Connections From Your Laptop to Your Projector

Written by
  • Shelagh M.
  • 4 years ago

Our guide shows you how to get everything up and running whether you are using a PC or a MAC.

Step 1: Know your connections

What connections does your projector and computer use:

  • VGA: Video Graphics Array
  • DVI: Digital Visual Interface
  • HDMI: High Definition Multimedia Interface
  • RS-232 serial port is found on older computers used to connection peripheral devices.


Every projector will have a VGA connection but not all will have a DVI, HDMI, S-video, composite video. Most projectors will have at least one HDMI and some will have more than one. You want to use the projector with built-in speakers with video and audio signals, check that the HDMI can handle 1.3 or a higher version. Older version of HDMI connection will not support audio transmissions.

Your projector should detect your source automatically. You may need to refer to your projector manual for further information if the basic steps are not working.

Basic steps for connection

  • Your laptop needs to be turned off.
  • Connect the VGA cable (usually VGA) from your laptop’s external video port to the projector.
  • If you want audio for your presentation, connect the laptop’s “audio out” port to the projector, or to another sound system
  • Plug your projector into an electrical outlet and press the “power” button to turn it ON.
  • Turn on your laptop.
  • Sync the projector and laptop by holding down the FUNCTION key and pressing one of the following keys to toggle.

Connect your PC

  • Press Windows Key + P
  • You can also go to the Control Panel
  • Under Appearance and Personalization, click Adjust Screen Resolution
  • Click Project to a Second Screen
  • You’ll see a new screen slide into view from the right side

Connecting your Mac

  • On your laptop, open the System Preferences dialogue box.
  • Click Displays.
  • Click Arrangement
  • If the box for “Mirror Displays” is unchecked, check it.
  • Click Display
  • In the Resolution Window, select 1024 x 768
  • In the Refresh Rate select 60 Hertz
  • The laptop and projector will not display the same image

It’s always a good idea to do a test run before the big presentation. So get everything connected and see how your presentation looks.

Learn more about cables and connections in Get your laptop connected

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