How To Use A Laptop As A Monitor – Step by Step Guide

In an era of evolving technological solutions, the concept of repurposing devices for increased functionality has become a valuable and innovative approach. Among such ingenious applications lies the concept of using a laptop as a secondary monitor. By harnessing the inherent capabilities of a laptop’s display, users can unlock a world of enhanced productivity, flexibility, and convenience. This practice not only extends the utility of a laptop beyond its traditional role but also offers a cost-effective and space-saving solution for those seeking to optimize their computing experience.

10 Steps To Use a Laptop As A Monitor

10 Steps To Use a Laptop As A Monitor

In this guide, we will delve into the realm of utilizing a laptop as a monitor, exploring the practical steps and myriad benefits it brings to both work and leisure activities. Whether for multitasking, collaborating, or creating a dynamic workspace, repurposing a laptop as a monitor presents an intriguing blend of versatility and resourcefulness. Using a laptop as a monitor for another device, such as a gaming console or desktop computer, can be a convenient solution when you need an extra display. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to achieve this:

Step 1: Check Compatibility Ensure that your laptop has the necessary ports (HDMI, DisplayPort, etc.) to connect to the device you want to use as the primary source. Also, verify if your laptop supports the specific input mode you intend to use (e.g., HDMI input).

Step 2: Gather Required Cables Acquire the appropriate cables to connect your laptop and the primary device. Common options include HDMI, DisplayPort, USB-C, or VGA cables. Make sure both ends of the cable match the available ports on both devices.

Step 3: Turn on the Laptop Start by turning on your laptop and allowing it to fully boot into its operating system.

Step 4: Connect the Cable Connect one end of the cable to the appropriate port on the laptop and the other end to the output port of the primary device (e.g., gaming console or desktop computer).

Step 5: Select Input Source on Laptop On your laptop, access the input source settings. This is usually done by pressing a specific function key (e.g., “F4” or “F8”) that corresponds to external displays. Look for an icon that resembles a monitor on your laptop’s keyboard.

Step 6: Choose the Correct Input Using the function key you pressed, cycle through the available input sources until you select the correct one (HDMI, DisplayPort, etc.) that matches the cable you connected.

Step 7: Configure Display Settings (Optional) Once the laptop recognizes the input from the primary device, you may need to adjust display settings. Right-click on the desktop and select “Display Settings” (Windows) or “System Preferences” > “Displays” (macOS) to configure resolution, orientation, and other display preferences.

Step 8: Adjust Screen Arrangement (Optional) If you want to use the laptop as an extended display, configure the screen arrangement settings. You can position the laptop display to the left, right, above, or below the primary device’s display.

Step 9: Start Using the Laptop as a Monitor Your laptop should now be acting as a monitor for the primary device. You can interact with the laptop’s keyboard, touchpad, or external peripherals as needed.

Step 10: Disconnect and Restore Settings When you’re done using the laptop as a monitor, disconnect the cable and revert the laptop’s display settings back to its default configuration. This might involve using the same function key to cycle through input sources or selecting the laptop’s built-in display in the settings.

Remember that the quality of the experience might vary based on the capabilities of your laptop’s display and the primary device’s output. Additionally, using a laptop as a monitor might introduce some latency, so it’s ideal for tasks that don’t require ultra-fast response times, such as productivity or casual gaming.

Benefits Of Using A Laptop As A Monitor

Using a laptop as a monitor for another device offers several benefits, making it a flexible and resourceful solution in various situations. Here are some advantages of using a laptop as a monitor:

1. Extra Display Space: Repurposing your laptop as a monitor instantly provides you with additional screen real estate. This can be incredibly useful for multitasking, especially when working on complex projects or managing multiple applications simultaneously.

2. Cost Savings: If you already have a laptop with a functional display, using it as an additional monitor eliminates the need to purchase a separate external monitor. This can be a cost-effective way to extend your desktop workspace.

3. Portability and Convenience: Laptops are inherently portable, and using one as a secondary display maintains that portability. You can easily move your “secondary monitor” to different locations, making it convenient for presentations, meetings, or working from different spaces.

4. Versatility and Adaptability: Laptop screens can be repurposed for various devices, such as gaming consoles, desktop computers, or even smartphones with the appropriate adapter. This versatility allows you to optimize your devices for different tasks.

5. Space-Saving Solution: When desk space is limited, using a laptop as a monitor can help you declutter your workspace. It eliminates the need for an additional monitor, saving you valuable desk real estate.

6. Temporary or Emergency Setup: If your primary monitor is unavailable or malfunctions, using a laptop as a temporary substitute can help you continue working or gaming without significant disruptions.

7. Enhanced Collaboration: Using a laptop as a secondary monitor can be beneficial for collaborative work. You can share content, presentations, or data with a colleague without the need for a projector or dedicated screen-sharing software.

8. Multi-Device Connectivity: Laptops often come equipped with various input ports, such as HDMI, DisplayPort, or USB-C. This allows you to connect a wide range of devices, such as gaming consoles, streaming devices, or other computers.

9. Extend the Life of an Old Laptop: If you have an older laptop that you no longer use as your primary device, repurposing it as a secondary monitor can give it a new lease on life and contribute to a more sustainable tech setup.

10. Testing and Debugging: Developers and software testers can benefit from using a laptop as an extra monitor to debug code, test software across different screen sizes, or simulate a dual-display setup.

In summary, using a laptop as a monitor offers practicality, versatility, and cost savings. Whether you need extra screen space, a temporary setup, or an efficient way to collaborate, repurposing your laptop as a secondary monitor can significantly enhance your productivity and computing experience.


In conclusion, the practice of using a laptop as a secondary monitor exemplifies the ingenuity and adaptability that modern technology empowers us with. As we navigate an ever-evolving digital landscape, the ability to repurpose our devices for diverse tasks showcases a creative approach to enhancing productivity and optimizing resources. Whether you’re seeking a cost-effective method to expand your workspace, a temporary solution for a malfunctioning monitor, or a versatile tool for collaborative endeavors, repurposing a laptop as a monitor offers a range of benefits that cater to different needs.

By repurposing a laptop’s display, we bridge the gap between different devices and create seamless connections that contribute to a streamlined and efficient workflow. This approach embodies the ethos of maximizing the potential of our existing tools, promoting both sustainability and practicality. Whether you’re a professional striving for heightened productivity or an individual seeking innovative ways to enhance your tech setup, the concept of using a laptop as a monitor opens doors to new possibilities.

Sumi Azher is a dedicated technology enthusiast and a seasoned writer with a passion for all things related to computer monitors. With years of experience in the tech industry, Sumi has become a trusted voice in the world of display technology, providing readers with valuable insights and guidance on choosing the perfect monitor for their needs.

As a prominent contributor to the website, Sumi Azher has authored numerous like 300 plus comprehensive reviews, buying guides, and how-to articles on monitors. Her commitment to staying current with the latest monitor releases and industry trends ensures that readers have access to the most up-to-date and reliable information. Sumi is dedicated to helping individuals and professionals find the perfect monitor solutions to enhance their computing experiences.

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