How do you connect a beamer?

Anyone who attends (or gives) presentations at conferences, at companies, or at a random family gathering with photos of grandparents, almost always sees things go wrong: connect a beamer. Because it never goes right the first time, here's how to connect a laptop to a beamer.

First quick step-by-step plan

1. Connect the cables between the projector and the laptop.

2. Switch on the projector and let it warm up completely.

3. Do not turn on the laptop until the projector has fully warmed up.

Depending on which beamer you have, you can connect the beamer via VGA (which is fairly standard), but more modern beamers also often have an HDMI connection.

Two connections: HDMI and VGA

If you use an Apple laptop, you need an adapter: from the Display port on the back (note: it is wider for older models than for newer models, and that is inconvenient) to VGA, HDMI or DVI . If you want to connect a Mac Mini, you can do so via HDMI, and the newer generation of Macbook Pros have also had an HDMI connection since early 2012.

Most laptops do not have a DVI connection, but standard VGA and/or HDMI. Many desktop computers are still equipped with this connection, but the standard is becoming obsolete.

The infamous Apple cable; you can't do anything without this thing

Second quick step-by-step plan

Then we come to the exciting part, because connecting cables correctly should still work, right? Sure, there are several options, but in the end connecting a beamer is about the signal you want to transfer from laptop to beamer. That's where things often go wrong.

Option 1: Connect and wait

Many modern laptops identify a projector (or external display) instantly and know 'what to do'. When the beamer is turned on, it detects the laptop as an input device and the image jumps directly from your screen to the projection of the beamer. Finished!

Option 2: Working with key combinations in Windows 7

Usually it is not as easy as in option 1: it is not for nothing that hassle always arises when working with a beamer, very often the IT manager is asked for that handy computer cousin or at parties with family photos.

On many laptops that run on Windows, you will find an FN key, usually at the bottom left of the keyboard. Hold that key and press F5, then the screen display on the beamer starts. If you're running Windows 7, it's even easier...

Windows P

Keep the Windows key and press p. 1x P is the screen itself, 2x is duplicate, 3x is expand and 4x is only on the beamer. When you release the keys, the command will be processed. You will see the menu below:

Option 3: Control Panel

One option, of course, that works mostly on older laptops running Vista or XP operating systems, is to get the job done through the Control Panel. In summary (several menus at once) it looks like this:

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