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How to connect a laptop to an external monitor

monitor e laptop

Despite the PCs portable have become increasingly powerful in recent years, their very format has insurmountable limits. The main one, in this sense, is the size of the monitors. In fact, connecting a laptop to an external monitor, an action far from rare among users of these devices.

The larger dimensions of displays integrated into a laptop, as we explained in our buying guide, usually appear to be from 17 inches. Although in this specific context he can be defined as a "giant" in his category. In fact, most users find themselves having to work with screens ranging from 11 to 15 inches.

In fact, if you use a fixed laptop on a desk, perhaps using a notebook dock and a wireless keyboard, connecting a larger monitor can bring a great advantage. Regardless of the type of work to be carried out with the device, in fact, a larger surface to be managed with great advantage.

But how do you connect a laptop to a monitor? In this guide we will explain, in broad terms, how to make this type of connection. Before proceeding, we also invite you to read our selection of the best PC monitors.

monitors and laptops

Because connecting a laptop to an external monitor can be very useful

Almost all laptops on the market have at least one connector, one port, which can be used to connect a monitor. In this case, sockets of different nature are used such as:

Some very thin laptops, such as ultrabooks, require an adapter as there is no space for a full-size DisplayPort or HDMI output, and this is not always provided in the package. In fact, even if we are talking about laptops, it is easy to connect a second screen as if it were referring to a more classic Desktop PC.

Who does not already have a screen to use with the laptop, must make sure to choose one with an adequate input to the video ports on the laptop. Sometimes it is also possible to combine some of the different options. For example, you can convert the signal of a DVI port to HDMI with a suitable cable. For example, using a cable like this.

However, it is not possible to convert an analog signal (such as VGA) to digital, such as HDMI, without specifically designed tools. If you have an old laptop and a new screen, you can hardly connect them without a converter suitable for this task.

On the other hand, newer laptops can only have one port USB-C. This is the same physical connector that you will find on most new Android phones. reversible and it is also possible to purchase a USB-C to HDMI or USB-C to DisplayPort cable, depending on which of these inputs the display has. In this case you can use USB-C hubs that allow you to greatly expand the potential of the notebook.

How to set up a second display on a laptop

Beyond the physical connection, it is often necessary to proceed with more in-depth procedures, in order to use both screens simultaneously.

In most cases, Windows automatically detects when a monitor is connected and turned on to the laptop, by default duplicating the contents of the laptop screen onto it. If you do not see anything on the display, you can use the buttons on it to find the menu and to try to select thecorrect video input. In this sense, the procedure can vary from model to model.

Once the duplicate image appears on the external screen, you can click it with the right mouse button on the desktop Windows and choose Screen settings (alternatively, you can click on Start, Settings and System). Here you can find options such as orientation, text size and resolution.

additional monitors

Duplicate or extend your desktop on two monitors

Connecting a laptop to a monitor has three possible options:

Duplicate: the second monitor reflects what is present on the first. In fact, one of the least useful solutions (although often the one proposed by default). Extend: the Windows desktop distributed between the two monitors. This is the ideal solution, which allows you to have a sort of dual desktop, to be managed as you see fit. This is the ideal option and allows you to use different apps in full screen on the two monitors, or more apps of course.Show only on 1 or 2: in this way it is possible to limit the operation of one of the two displays. Useful if you do not intend to use the laptop screen and focus, only and exclusively, on a larger one.

Please note: another way to switch from one mode to another look for a function key in the top row of keys on the laptop that shows two monitors. In this case it is necessary to press the key Fn and that function key and should alternate between the various configurations: laptop display only, laptop + external display, external display only.

As already mentioned, the possibility of "extending" the desktop is considered the most useful. To do this, it is necessary to give a priority order, to understand which display on the left and which on the right. In this case, drag monitor 2 under the header Personalize the display, more precisely where it is physically located on the desk.

If the resolution of the monitor is larger than that of your laptop, the schematic rectangle will appear larger, even if it has nothing to do with the actual size of the monitor.

Please note: best practice verify that the resolution for each screen is set to the native resolution of each monitor. This allows you to have an ideal image quality for each screen.

For screens with high resolutions (mainly 4K monitors), there will probably be a need to enlarge the display of text and other elements of the screen. In this case it is possible to act in Change the size of text, apps and other items to find the right balance that allows the user not to go blind.

The advantage of a dual monitor

What does it mean to connect a laptop to a monitor? For those who work and have many applications or open browser tabs, this essential solution. It allows us, for example, to have a browser open on one screen while working with software on the other.

Especially for those who work in the web and, necessarily, they must always keep an eye on a large number of cards, having two monitors available is a real blessing.