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Indiana Wesleyan University Support Knowledge Base

How to Connect a Laptop to a Display



This page shows the common connections (VGA, HDMI) for connecting a portable or mobile electronic device to a monitor, projector, a flat panel TV, or a teaching station, in order to show the visual and audio content from the laptop or tablet to a larger group of people.  As well as types of adapters that can be used with these common connections so that you are able to use any type of connection. Example: If you would like to use a HDMI cable but, do not have the port on your computer for it you can get an adapter to a port that is on your computer. For types of adapters you can use reference this link (ADAPTERS)

Connection Types



Some laptops have this connection available if not you will need a DisplayPort (or thunderbolt/MiniDisplayPort) to HDMI adapter. Some newer devices have an HDMI connection built into the computer. HDMI is used to connect Digital High Def video and audio sources to display sources. HDMI plays sound through the main connection, so no AUX cord connection is needed. (See image below for what a HDMI connection looks like)   


DisplayPorts are found on most IWU -issued Windows laptops, and can be used with an adapter to connect either a VGA or HDMI cable to the flat panel display. DisplayPort is similar to HDMI, but it is better for computer displays.  (Reference picture below for image of a DisplayPort). 


MiniDisplayPort (Thunderbolt)

MiniDisplayPorts are associated with some Mac models, and some HP Z-book laptops. It can be a way to connect HDMI or VGA to a computer by using an adapter if you do not have a HDMI or VGA connection. (Reference picture below for image of a MiniDisplayPort/Thunderbolt).


USB-3 Type C

These can be used to charge electronics or transfer data from one device to another. It can also be used to connect a new Macbook Air, newer tablets and cell phones to a display. You can get an adaptor that can be used with USB and HDMI connectors  (See USB-3 Type C, shown below).



Many older laptops have the ability to connect a VGA cable to the laptop. If you have a newer HP laptop, a Mac or IOS device you will need a mini DisplayPort (Thunderbolt) or DisplayPort to VGA adapter. This connector is used to connect computer displays. If you want sound to play you must have a VGA connection, with an integrated audio cable to plug into your headphone jack.  The image below is of a VGA (male) connector. 

(VGA cable with integrated Audio cable)

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