How to Connect Laptop to a Projector

Like DVD and Blu-Ray players, a laptop also serves as a great video source to connect your projector. However, unlike other video sources, you can connect your laptop in various ways. The fundamental way of connecting your projector to the laptop is through HDMI, but you can utilize other port options if there is compatibility.

Nevertheless, in this article, I’m going to discuss how you can connect the laptop to a projector without any hassle. In this process, I’m going to discuss the connection process through HDMI as it serves as the most common and best for connecting a projector.

Why Does Everyone Prefer HDMI?

HDMI not only serves as the most common mode for connectivity, but it offers one of the highest data transfer rates enabling the device to play contents at their optimum quality. Moreover, almost every device, whether it is a projector, laptop, or TV, comes with at least one HDMI port.

They are straightforward to connect and set up, and most of the device automatically detects the connection. Due to its wide usage, you get a lot of options for HDMI cables which include type, length, and quality. The best thing is that they are available at every price range so you won’t have to worry about anything.

Other Available Ports for Connectivity

When discussing how to switch laptop screen to projector, besides HDMI, you can utilize other ports for connecting both devices. Like HDMI, if you have VGA or DisplayPort, you can easily utilize them for connecting the projector to laptop cord. Here are some of the valuable ports that your laptop might offer for connecting the projector directly or through an adapter;

Mini HDMI Port

Besides HDMI, many modern laptops, especially slim units, come with mini HDMI ports, which are basically a tiny version of HDMI but with the same function.

This port is often known as HDMI Type-C, and it comes with a cable where one end is mini HDMI while the other end is a standard HDMI port. If your projector doesn’t support HDMI, you can easily utilize an HDMI adapter for connection.


Nowadays, you will find many laptops using USB-C ports to output video as they are highly efficient. Some modern projector also uses USB-C for video input, and if you have such a projector, you can easily connect it to your laptop.

Or else you will have to resort to USB-C to HDMI adapter for accomplishing the connection.


After HDMI, the VGA cable for the projector to laptop serves as the most common choice. Since it is an older option for projector to laptop cord, the maximum resolution you will get is 640 X 480 resolution. If you are using an old projector and laptop, then you can connect them without any fuss.

You will also need a separate audio cable for sending audio signals. But in case of compatibility issues, you will need a VGA to HDMI adapter to establish the connection.


DisplayPort is another option you would get on your laptop, and it also offers high audio and video transfer. However, DisplayPort is not widely available in laptops, and hardly any projector offers such a port.

You will either need an HDMI to DisplayPort adapter or an HDMI to DisplayPort cable to connect both the devices.

How to Connect Laptop to A Projector

Today, I’m going to discuss how to hook up a projector to a laptop using the HDMI connection option as it makes the connection simple. Even though there are many other options, today I’m going to use an HDMI laptop to projector cables for connection. Let’s check out the process;

Finding The Appropriate HDMI Cable

Your first task is to get the right HDMI cable. By right cable, I mean it should be of appropriate quality and length. You check the length from the projector to the laptop’s placement and buy an HDMI cable accordingly.

It would be best to get a bit long longer than your expected length because it will give you room for adjustment. However, you should definitely avoid going for cheap HDMI cables or units that are short in length because they can disrupt the display.

If you have HDMI incompatibility with your projector or laptop, then you might have to use an adapter that we have discussed earlier in this guide.

Plug-In The Laptop

When you play any content on the projector through your laptop, you can’t simply rely on the inbuilt battery. The projector consumes a lot of power to relay videos through HDMI.

If the laptop is running out of power, then it won’t allow you to send a signal to the projector. So it is safe to plug in your laptop to power while you’re setting up a projector and laptop setup.

Not only can you freely use the projector for watching as long as you want, but it will also prevent resolution degradation.

Connecting The Cable on Both Devices

Now it is time to hook both the projector and laptop using the HDMI cable. Take one end of the laptop to the projector HDMI cable and hook it to the laptop’s HDMI port which is mainly located on the side. Then take the other end of the cable and plug it into the rear HDMI panel.

Make sure the cable is inserted properly to ensure smooth audio and video transmission. However, if you are using a VGA, USB-C, mini HDMI, or DisplayPort adapter for connectivity, the process is similar.

Depending upon the port of the device, you need to connect one end of the HDMI to the adapter and the other end to the projector or laptop. Similarly, you should do the same from the adapter’s end.

For example, if you are using a USB-C cable, then one end should go to the adapter, and the other end should go to the laptop. However, if you are utilizing HDMI to VGA adapter, then you would need to connect a separate audio cable to the adapter as the VGA cable doesn’t send audio signals.

Switch On Both The Devices

In this step, you will need to switch on both the devices but one at a time. First, turn on the laptop and allow it to boot before you switch on the projector. Once the laptop boots up, switch on the projector.

Double-check the cable before you switch on both devices. When both the devices start operating, you will be able to see the laptop’s screen on the big display.

Some Tips on Troubleshooting

When the projector connects to laptop using a suitable cable, not every time will you have success in the first place. On many occasions, you might not find a display on the projector’s screen. But they are pretty easy to fix if you go through the following tips;

Do A Restart

In general, the projector and laptop detect a new connection automatically without requiring any adjustment. If you still face a black screen after successfully connecting them, then you might have to restart both devices.

When you do the restart process, first turn on the projector and then turn on the laptop. Restarting the devices fixes the issue most of the time as both the devices will now recognize the incoming signal.

Check The Connection

One of the primary reasons behind a black screen is a loose connection. When you have connected the cables, especially with adapters, double check the cable and see whether they have plugged firmly into the ports.

Make sure the cables are properly inserted into the adapters and tightly attach the screws when you are using a VGA or DisplayPort adapter.

Check The Input Signal

Sometimes, a tweak in the settings of the projector or laptop can solve the issue of a blank screen. Go to the connection settings of your projector and check whether the projector is put to the correct input settings.

Similarly, check the laptop’s settings and make sure the laptop has been put to correct settings to send video and audio through the appropriate port.

Assess The Cables

A wrong or faulty cable can also lead to a black screen. If you are using an old HDMI cable to connect it to a new HDMI port, then it would cause an issue. HDMI 3.0 and HDMI 2.0 ports can accept backward compatibility, but you can do the other way round.

It has been seen that faulty cable or laptop to projector adapter often causes the issue of black screen. Most of the cheap cables tend to go kaput quickly after a few days of usage.

Final Thoughts

Knowing how to connect the laptop to a projector is an excellent thing as you can play all your favorite content easily. There are many ways to connect the projector to the laptop, but HDMI serves as the most convenient and straightforward option.

I have explained all the steps thoroughly so that it gets easy for you to accomplish the task. If you face any issues during the connection, you look at the tips that I have furnished.

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