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2,673 Tutorials

How to set up a projector in Windows 7

Take the complexity out of setting up a projector

If there’s one IT product that tends to fox people, it’s the projector. Whether that’s because it’s usually about to enable the person in question to stand up in front of colleagues and give a nerve-racking presentation, or because the projector is needlessly complex, we’ve sat through many meetings that took a while to get started because of ‘projector incompatibility’.

Windows 7 makes it far easier to get a laptop and projector to work together harmoniously, if not quite to ‘plug and play’.

If you’re a Windows 7 user, all you have to do is remember the letter P (for Projector). Press Windows, P to invoke a new display-switch toolbar. This makes it easy to switch between various display modes. By default, the mode is set to ‘Computer only’. Click Duplicate and Windows will clone your screen to whatever secondary display is connected, be it a monitor or a projector.

If you’re using a second monitor, a better option is to click ‘Extend’. This expands the desktop so you can open additional windows. For example, you might want to run your web browser on one screen and your word processor on the other.

Finally, ‘Projector only’ turns off your laptop’s LCD, effectively transforming the projector into a monitor. If you want to preserve laptop battery life while giving a presentation, this option will help.

Note that if you’re still running Windows XP or Windows Vista, you’ll need to find your laptop’s external-display toggle or delve into the Control Panel, then bring up the display settings and fiddle around.

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