Master the Art of Using an External Monitor with Your Laptop Closed: A Comprehensive Guide


In today's fast-paced digital world, efficiency and productivity are crucial in staying ahead. One way to achieve this is by learning how to use a monitor with a laptop closed. This article will discuss the importance of using a laptop with an external monitor, its benefits, and a step-by-step guide to setting up the perfect workstation.

A. Importance of using a laptop with an external monitor

The laptop has become an essential tool for professionals and students alike. While it offers undeniable portability, it often lacks the screen size and ergonomics of a traditional desktop computer. By connecting a laptop to an external monitor, you can maximize your productivity without compromising portability.

B. Benefits of using a laptop closed with an external monitor

There are several advantages to using a laptop closed with an external monitor, including:

1. Increased screen size: Larger screens make it easier to multitask and view documents simultaneously.

2. Extended screen real-estate: Gain additional workspace by extending the display across the laptop and external monitor.

3. Better ergonomics: Reduce eye strain and improve posture by positioning the external monitor at eye level.

4. Prolonged laptop life due to reduced heat accumulation: Closing the laptop lid can help reduce heat buildup, which may help prolong its overall life.


Before diving into the setup process, it's essential to gather the necessary hardware and components.

A. Required hardware components

1. External monitor: Ensure it is compatible with your laptop and provides the desired screen size and resolution.

2. Compatible laptop: Your laptop should have an available output port that matches the monitor's input.

3. Video cable: A cable (e.g., HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA) compatible with the output of the laptop and input of the monitor.

4. External keyboard and mouse (optional): For improved ergonomics and comfort.

B. Required software components

1. Updated graphics drivers: Ensure your laptop's graphics drivers are updated to guarantee smooth performance and compatibility with the external monitor.

Connecting the laptop to the external monitor

Properly connecting your laptop to an external monitor is the first step to setting up your new workstation.

A. Identify the video ports on both devices

Inspect your laptop and monitor to identify the available video ports. Common types include HDMI, DisplayPort, and VGA.

B. Choose the appropriate video cable

Select a video cable that is compatible with both your laptop and monitor's video ports.

C. Connect the devices using the video cable

Connect one end of the video cable to your laptop and the other end to the external monitor.

D. Turning on and configuring the external monitor in the OS settings

To configure the external monitor correctly, follow these steps for either a or macOS laptop:

1. Windows laptop: Navigate to Display settings
2. macOS laptop: Go to System Preferences > Displays

Configuring the laptop to work with the lid closed

After successfully connecting your laptop to the external monitor, it's time to configure the laptop to work with the lid closed.

A. Adjusting power settings for Windows

1. Open Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Power Options.
2. Select “Choose what closing the lid does.”
3. Change the “When I close the lid” option to “Do nothing.”
4. Save the changes.

B. Adjusting energy saver settings for macOS

1. Open System Preferences > Energy Saver.
2. Click on the “Power Adapter” tab.
3. Uncheck “Put hard disks to sleep when possible.”
4. Ensure the laptop is plugged in before closing the lid.

Optimizing the setup

To get the most out of your new setup, follow these steps to optimize your workspace:

A. Adjusting the resolution and display scaling

1. Windows laptop: Access Display settings > Resolution and Scaling options.
2. macOS laptop: Navigate to System Preferences > Displays > Scaled.

B. Calibrating the external monitor

Properly calibrate the external monitor's color, brightness, and contrast using:

1. The monitor's built-in controls
2. OS-based calibration tools

C. Setting up your workspace to maintain proper ergonomics

Arrange your desk to ensure a comfortable and ergonomic working environment. This includes placing the monitor at eye level and using an external keyboard and mouse to promote better posture.

common issues

Occasionally, you may encounter issues while trying to use a monitor with a laptop closed. Here are some ways to address common problems:

A. Laptop unable to detect the external monitor

1. Check cable connections.
2. Update graphics drivers.
3. Restart the laptop.

B. Display not optimal on the external monitor

1. Adjust the resolution and display scaling.
2. Calibrate the external monitor.

C. Laptop going to sleep or hibernating when the lid is closed

1. Check power settings (Windows) or Energy Saver settings (macOS) and ensure the appropriate options are selected.


In conclusion, using a laptop closed with an external monitor can lead to increased productivity, better ergonomics, and prolonged laptop life. Remember, proper setup and configuration are crucial for a seamless experience. Don't hesitate to explore additional ways to optimize your workspace for your specific needs and requirements.


Q: Can I use any external monitor with my laptop?

A: Make sure that the monitor is compatible with your laptop's video output and has the desired screen size and resolution.

Q: Do I need a specific type of cable to connect my laptop to an external monitor?

A: Choose a cable that is compatible with both your laptop's video output and the monitor's video input, such as HDMI, DisplayPort, or VGA.

Q: Can I use my laptop while it is closed with an external monitor?

A: Yes, as long as you properly configure the power settings (Windows) or Energy Saver settings (macOS) to prevent the laptop from sleeping or hibernating when closed.

Q: Why is my laptop unable to detect the external monitor?

A: Check your cable connections, update your graphics drivers, and restart your laptop.

Q: How do I calibrate my external monitor?

A: Use either the monitor's built-in controls or OS-based calibration tools to adjust color, brightness, and contrast.

Q: Why is my external monitor's display not optimal?

A: Adjust the resolution and display scaling settings on your laptop, and calibrate the external monitor.

Q: How do I ensure proper ergonomics while using a laptop closed with an external monitor?

A: Position the monitor at eye level, use an external keyboard and mouse, and maintain proper posture.

Q: Is it possible to use multiple external with a closed laptop?

A: Yes, depending on your laptop's capabilities and video outputs. You may need additional hardware, such as a docking station or USB video adapters, to expand the number of external monitors.

Q: Will using a laptop closed with an external monitor cause overheating?

A: Closing the laptop lid can reduce heat accumulation, but it's essential to monitor the temperature and ensure proper ventilation.

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Tracy C.
Tracy C.

Hi! I'm Tracy and I am the owner of this little website. I build it as a resource center to troubleshoot common tech, hardware and software issues.

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