How to Connect a Computer Projector

By Eric Mains

After you have put together the ultimate computer slide show, there is just one problem. You need to transfer the slide show from your computer to a projector. Otherwise, everybody has to stand around your workstation to see your work. Unless you mind your co-workers invading your personal space and generally putting a serious crimp in your solitaire playing time, learn how to connect a computer projector by following these steps.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Computer-ready Projector
  • Appropriate Cables

Step 1

Choose the connection method. Most computer ready projectors can accept a variety of input sources. You will make your connection based on what cables you have at hand and what your computer can support. The easiest connection to make is from a USB monitor output on your computer to a USB or S-Video input on the projector. The most common connection is through the VGA monitor output on your computer to an analog VGA input port on the projector.

Step 2

Gather the cables you need to make the connection. If you intend on controlling the projector from your computer, rather than from the projector's remote, you may need to string a second cable from the computer's serial out port to the projector's control input port. Consult the projector's user manual to see if this is necessary.

Step 3

You should power down everything, including both your laptop computer and the projector as well. You will also want to turn off any peripherals hooked into your laptop. After you power everything down, unplug the AC from everything, too. Why? Because most computer projector manufacturers recommend doing so, that's why.

Step 4

Make the connections. The most common mistake made in hooking up a projector, or any piece of electronics, is sticking the plug in the wrong port. Double check your connections and make sure the correct outputs are linked to the correct inputs.

Step 5

Re-connect the power supply to your computer, the projector and any peripheral stuff you have hooked up to your computer. Turn on the juice.

Step 6

Set the input of the computer projector. Usually, this is a simple on-screen menu. Look for terms such as COMPUTER, PC or SVGA.

Step 7

Test the connection. Assuming everything looks good, get ready to knock the presentation out of the park.

Tips & Warnings

  • Note that these steps assume a laptop computer is being used. When giving presentations, lectures and so on, the laptop is the most likely to be hooked up to a computer projector. If you are using a desktop computer, these general instructions should do the job for you.
  • More recent computer models include a digital monitor output port. If the computer projector has a digital input, you can use a DVI-digital cable to get better resolution on the projected display.
  • Power down the equipment before you make connections. Projectors and computers receive a tickle charge of current while they are still plugged in, which can create problems when you are hooking these devices together.