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The Definitive Guide to Using a Laptop as a Monitor | How To Use a Laptop as a Monitor

How to Use A Laptop as A Monitor?

Whether it’s for convenience or finances, many people have laptops instead of desktop PCs.

It’s not uncommon for those with laptops to use them in place of a monitor. This can be done either by connecting your laptop to your TV (this is known as docking) or by simply plugging it into an HDMI cable and sticking it on top of your desk (known as undocking). While docked, you can control your entire computer from its touchscreen.

Whether you’re an artist looking to maximize your screen space or you’re on the go and need to set up shop in an impromptu location, using your laptop as a monitor can be an excellent solution.

However, if you’ve never used this setup before, it can seem overwhelming at first glance. In order to make sure you have the best experience possible,

We’ve put together this complete guide on how to use a laptop as a monitor so that you’ll have everything you need for a stellar display setup no matter what your needs are.

How to Use A Laptop as A Monitor

Reasons Why people Use Their Laptop as Monitor


If you’re looking for one reason, it’s probably that your computer has only one output. With dual-output PCs becoming more common, however, you might not have a good reason to use your laptop monitor.

The real question is why would anyone want two monitors on their desktop? Well, here are some great reasons:

Multitasking : If you work with lots of open windows at once and need both data and editing tools on hand all at once, two screens can be very beneficial. For example, if you write code and want to test it in an editor window while referring to other code documents or tools in another window.

Benefits of Using Your Laptop Monitor


Utilizing your laptop screen can make multi-monitor setups less expensive than purchasing additional monitors.

That’s because you may already have all of your needed hardware; an inexpensive docking station (most laptops have one) will make all of these components work together as one, like it’s supposed to.

Disadvantages of Using Your Laptop Monitor


Some people prefer to use laptops due to their portability. Although they are smaller and more convenient than desktops, they can pose problems when used as monitors.

For example, screen resolution is often lower with laptop screens than with standard computer monitors (which usually have resolutions of at least 1024 x 768 pixels). Also, having your laptop on your lap can make it difficult for you to work on some projects.

Things You Need To Get Started


A laptop with a removable battery (as opposed to one that’s built in) and a mini display port. These are standard on most Apple laptops, like MacBook Airs and MacBook Pros from around 2008 onwards.

A cheap mini display port to VGA adapter. You’ll find these at any electronics store, or you can buy them online here.

Monitor Size Considerations


The first consideration when connecting your laptop to an external monitor is size. Most computer monitors come in one of three sizes: 17, 20, or 24 inches. Standard laptop screens are typically 15.6 or 13 inches.

Adjusting The Color Settings on Your Computer


If you’re using your laptop for video editing, it’s critical that you can adjust your screen to give you an accurate depiction of what your project will look like once finished.

While some programs have built-in settings for laptops, you may need to turn on or off specific color channels.

If so, follow these instructions: Start by opening your video editing program (such as Final Cut Pro X) and creating a new project; then open up System Preferences. Choose Displays and press Color.

What About Vertical Alignment?


If you’re investing in a multi-monitor setup, it’s important to keep some things in mind. Different brands of monitors can have different problems with vertical alignment—your displays could be slightly off kilter with each other.

The good news is that many of these companies have tools built into their software or hardware that will help you adjust them correctly.

Make sure you pay attention to where your displays are going, and then use tools that come bundled with them to make any necessary adjustments.

What If You Don’t Have an External Keyboard and Mouse?


There are two main ways to use your laptop without an external keyboard and mouse. First, you can use your laptop’s built-in trackpad—the small pad of buttons located just below your laptop’s keyboard.

And if you have a touchscreen, you can use that too. Simply slide your finger across your screen to move around and tap with multiple fingers on larger screens.

Some laptops also come with stylus pens that allow for more precision; these will require you to buy some add-on software, but it’s worth considering if you need high levels of accuracy while working on spreadsheets or presentations.

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