How to connect an external monitor to a laptop

laptop pain in the neck

Working on a / computer for a long time is not recommended, due to the strain it puts on your neck ,shoulders and back

Bad posture and overuse of a laptop can cause many serious health issues which can cause serious side effects as we age. Correct posture is important. You must not spend too much time looking down or up to a monitor or laptop screen. Ideally your eyes should be level with the top of the monitor.

A stand-up desk (see below) is an excellent option and can be used sitting or standing.

laptop-with-monitor1The best solution is to attach your laptop to an (or two) and use a full-sized external and keyboard attached to the USB ports (or built in bluetooth on some models)

Purchasing a second or additional monitor is now a very affordable option with prices as low as $99 for a 20″+ monitor.

See Also

To put your work on maximum display, connect multiple monitors

Boost office productivity instantly. Give your staff dual monitors

But before purchasing that monitor you need to know what your laptop is capable of connecting to, so take a look around the back and sides of the laptop to see available ports.

Most and Notebooks have either a or a connection but some ultra-thin notebooks may only have a USB port with a adaptor, or thunderbolt, or the new USB “c” connection.

Most commonly on older Laptops is the VGA connector


On more recent Laptops and Notebooks, this has been replaced with a HDMI connector which will connect to most recent TVs and


Depending on Which connector you have on your laptop or notebook may force you to choose a particular monitor.

Monitors will any of the following combinations of input, so be careful that you purchase one to suit your laptops outputs.

Typical monitor connections.

vga and dvi ports on monitor

VGA Connector (left) (right)



HDMI (top) DVI (left) and VGA (right)


Display Port


Thunderbolt and Mini Display Ports


USB “C” Port

Upon plugging in a suitable cable connecting the laptop to the monitor it is likely that there will initially be no picture on the monitor. You may need to select the “input Type” by pushing the button on the monitor. Select VGA, HDMI, DVI or whatever type of connection you are using.


Although it varies from laptop to laptop, some can turn on the external monitor by hitting the Function Key (Fn) plus the F5 key.



On the Toshiba, continually hitting Fn-F5 , skips between the various monitor options including screen duplication and screen extension.


In this example we choose to extend the screen to the external monitor



On Windows 10, right click over the desktop and choose “Display Settings” or via the menu

Settings >> System >> Display

On Windows 7, a right-click on the desktop and selecting “Screen Resolution” will give you more options on what to display and on which monitor.

How to connect a 2nd monitor to a computer


You can also extended your laptop to use two or dual-monitors by employing one of the various cables depending on your laptops available outputs,vga-spliiters

VGA Splitterhdmi-splitter

HDMI Splitterdvi-splitter

DVI Splitterusb-dvi-vga


USB Splitter to DVI and or VGA

There are many cables and splitters available from a few dollars to around $100

Ultimate “mobile” home office for under $3,000

Need more help?

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