How to Switch from Your Laptop Screen to the Projector Screen

When your projector and computer are connected together and turned on, both of them should display the same image, whether it’s the desktop, application, or game playing on your PC. If you want to switch laptop screen to the projector screen, you’re actually curious about mirroring the desktop of your laptop screen unto the projector. However, there are times when the notebook or workstation PC will need manual mirroring. Many business projectors do this automatically, however. This is because they’re mainly made for presentations.

They work by toggling screen modes or mirroring the laptop or desktop PC’s screen as you open the slideshow app. You might also need to configure your computer in case the projector screen is using the wrong resolution or something.

Mirroring a Laptop or Desktop Display on Your Projector

Here are the things you need to keep in mind when switching from a laptop or desktop PC display to a projector display.

  • Older Windows Versions Require Projector Screen Switching: It was only recently that screen mirroring became the default option when running a projector with your laptop. The default used to be that there’s no picture on your laptop (it also happened on desktop PCs, by the way). Windows in the 1990s and early 2000s don’t feed images to the screen and video out ports at the same time, so your projector is now your screen. This necessitated screen switches.
    • Hotkey Toggling Between Projector Modes: You can use hotkeys in order to toggle between different projector modes as you go about your presentation and whatnot. Here, you can switch between projector and laptop screen, mirror or duplicate the screen between the two, or extend your desktop to the projected image.
    • How to Use Hotkeys to Toggle or Duplicate The Screen: On your keyboard, hold down the Windows Key then press P to bring up the projector screen. You can instead click “Duplicate” to share the image on your computer screen to the projector, thus mirroring the display. You can click “Extend” to extend the image to your projector as well.
    • Mirrored Display: A mirrored display allows you to play different apps you’d normally access through your computer. Your physical connection can either be HDMI, VGA, DisplayPort, Thunderbolt and so forth. Mostly VGA though since HDMI is a more recent A/V standard from 2002 onwards.
  • Mirrored Displays and Establishing The Physical Connection: If you’re using a modern-day business projector then it’s usually enough to properly connect it to your laptop to mirror their displays automatically. This is because the latest business projectors are supposed to mirror your whole screen, operating system, desktop user interface, and the like instead of merely playing a video or a videogame.
    • Plug & Play: Ever since the 1980s and especially the 1990s, many devices such as projectors were plug & play or automatically recognized by the system, ready to use and mirror your screen. You don’t need to restart your computer or install drivers (or the drivers will be installed for you by the OS through the Internet).
    • Hold The Function Key: If you don’t want to tinker with your configurations, many laptops can switch to the projector by holding down the Function Key or “Fn” on the bottom left of your keyboard and then pressing the button with two monitors on them (usually the F7 or F8 Key, but it varies).
    • Go to Settings: If you still can’t switch to your VGA/HDMI port to start screen duplication or mirroring then you’ll have to go to your settings by right-clicking your desktop and picking the screen resolutions window to either mirror or duplicate your screen when all is said and done. The details on how this is done are outlined below.
  • Windows-Based Computers and Mirroring: Windows makes it easy to configure your projector to mirror your onscreen desktop of your PC or laptop. It ranges from being able to recognize the display device once connected and turned on to manually adjusting settings to allow mirroring. Some Windows operating systems have various display options you have to configure in order to get the mirroring or switching you wish to achieve.
    • Screen Resolution: Go to the virtual desktop of your PC and then right click on the wallpaper. You should get a dropdown menu wherein you can select the “Screen Resolution” option. It controls not only resolution but screen mirroring and other screens (or projectors) connected to your notebook PC.
    • Multiple Displays: From the “Multiple Displays” dropdown box on the ensuing window, choose the “Duplicate These Displays” option. Don’t choose the “Extend These Displays” option, that’s for extended displays on multiple monitors. From there, save the settings and exit the window.
    • Why The Manual Configuration? Your settings or your computer might not recognize the right resolution or display type for your projector, resulting in an “Extended Display” that you can sometimes do with two or more monitors.
  • Apple/iOS Computers and Mirroring:  As for iOS devices and Apple computers, you need to remember the following points. First off, the computer and the projector should be properly connected, whether it’s via HDMI or wireless HDMI as well as Thunderbolt, Lightning, and the like. It depends on your MacBook laptop or Macintosh PC.
    • Ensure Compatibility: As a rule of thumb, use a compatible projector that matches the make, model, and year of your iOS device. Otherwise, you’ll have to tinker with adapters to make things work.
    • Small Monitor Icon: Your Mac or iOS device should detect the projector if it has the right connection via a small monitor at the top of its screen. Click this icon then choose the “Open Display Preferences” selection.
    • Display Preferences Window: Once you get to the Display Preferences window, go for the box named “Mirror Displays” and click it. Now you can mirror your display on your projector.
  • Windows 10 Wireless Mirroring Configuration: If you wish to configure Windows 10 for wireless mirroring, here’s what you need to do. Select the Screen Mirroring Settings on your projector if available. Afterwards, press the LAN button on your projector remote control in order to switch to the Screen Mirroring source. This will prompt the Screen Mirroring Standby Screen.
    • What To Do on The Screen Mirroring Standby Screen: Once you’ve accessed this particular screen, go ahead and select Apps, select Settings, select Devices, select Connected Devices, and then click the Add a Device option. A list of available devices will be presented to you.
    • Pick Your Projector off The List and Enter the PIN Code: On the list, select your specific projector. If your laptop has a PIN entry screen as well, enter the PIN code on the bottom right of the projected image or the Screen Mirroring standby screen then click the “Next” button. This should result in the projector displaying the image from your laptop wirelessly.
    • Be Patient and Don’t Disconnect: When establishing a wireless connection between your laptop and your projector, it might take a bit of time. Don’t disconnect your projector’s power cord while it’s synchronizing its link with your notebook PC. This might make your computer hang or freeze.
  • Mirroring Your Mac Screen Wirelessly with Airplay: You need to activate Airplay or AirPlay for the sake of mirroring your Mac screen on a projector. It broadcasts or streamcasts the signal to any Apple-compatible display device, like a projector or an Apple TV. The Airplay icon is available on the top-right corner of your screen, at the so-called menu bar. Enable your Airplay button in case you don’t see it on the screen.
    • Select the Device: As long as you’re assuredly using a compatible projector for your MacBook Pro or Air, it should be on the list of selectable devices you can broadcast to using Airplay. Otherwise, you might need to connect your projector to an Apple TV via wired HDMI connection to make it serve as your screen mirroring middleman.
    • Enter The Code: You might be prompted to enter the code from your Apple TV or projector display. Input the code in the window that appears on your Mac notebook PC to establish your wireless connection. When everything is said and done, this should result in your MacBook screen being mirrored by your projector (with or without the assistance of the Apple TV).
    • Settings and Proportion Adjustment: You can better configure the resulting projector image by accessing the Airplay button on your menu bar once again. There, you can click the “Mirror Built-In Display” to have your Apple TV match the proportions of your MacBook. You can also click “Mirror Apple TV” to have the display on your Mac mirror your Apple TV and projector as well.

In a Nutshell

Switching your laptop screen to your projector screen can be done in a multitude of ways. It can be as simple as connecting your projector to your laptop (especially if it’s a business projector made after 2010 or so) and as complicated as fiddling with your screen configurations or settings in order to select the screen duplication or mirroring option. However, you usually can’t switch from laptop to projector and back. Usually, both screens are mirrored with each other, with the projector duplicating the screen shown on your laptop

References:

  1. Mandy Slake, “How to Change to a Shared Screen When Using a Projector“, Chron.com, Retrieved September 10, 2020
  2. How do I mirror my laptop display on a projector, TV, or monitor?“, UCLA.edu, Retrieved September 9, 2020
  3. Connecting for Screen Mirroring Using Windows 10“, Epson.com, Retrieved September 6, 2020
  4. Mirroring a Laptop Display to the Projector“, ODEE Resource Center, Retrieved September 6, 2020
  5. Plug and Play“, Wikipedia, Retrieved September 10, 2020
  6. Aliya Chaudry, “How to mirror your iPhone or Mac screen“, May 13, 2020

 

James Core
I write dozens of helpful informational articles based on topics that I have identified again and again throughout my research and work experience. I am here to help you find the right projector.

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