How to Connect a Monitor to a Computer (2023)

Updated: 03/05/2023 by Computer Hope

How to Connect a Monitor to a Computer (1)

To use a desktop computer, a monitor is required. The monitor lets you see the operating system GUI and applications, like a video game, document editor, or Internet browser.


If you're connecting a monitor to a laptop computer, see: How to connect an external display to my laptop.

How many cables are used with a monitor?

All computer monitors have at least two cables, a power cable and a data cable. The power cable connects to the power outlet, or better, a surge protector, and is what allows the monitor to turn on. The other cable is a data cable and is what allows the picture (data) from your computer to be displayed. The type of cable can vary depending on the type of connection your video card and monitor supports. The cable may be a VGA, S-Video, DVI, HDMI, DP (DisplayPort), or USB-C. VGA and DVI are older connections, whereas HDMI, DisplayPort, and especially USB-C are newer.


Monitors with USB ports or card readers also have a USB cable that must be connected to the computer if you want to use these features. Older monitors with speakers built-in to them may also have audio cables that connect the monitor to the computer. However, newer monitors with speakers no longer need these cables.

How do I know what cable to use?

If you purchased a new monitor, it should include a cable to connect to your computer. However, if your video card does not support that type of cable, you need to purchase a cable supported by the computer. Alternatively, you can purchase a converter that converts one video signal to another signal supported by the computer.


Generally speaking, today, we recommend using an HDMI cable. With higher quality displays, you may want to use a DisplayPort for higher refresh rates.

How to connect a monitor to the computer

  1. Find the monitor's connector cable. It should be included with your purchase.
  2. Match the cable with one of the video ports on the back of the monitor. The images below show each of the video ports used today.

How to Connect a Monitor to a Computer (2)

How to Connect a Monitor to a Computer (3)

  1. Connect the cable to the corresponding ports on both your monitor and computer.


The VGA and DVI cables have two screws, one on either side of the connector. Make sure the cable screws line up and then alternate turning each screw until they are secure.

If your monitor does not have the same connector as your computer, or you prefer a different interface, you have a few options.

  • You can buy a different cable that is compatible with your computer and monitor.
  • You can purchase a video converter that which changes one connector type into another.
  • Purchase a new video card or computer with the latest connectors.
  • Purchase a monitor with the connectors you need.
  1. If not already done, connect the flat end of the monitor power cord (left cable end shown below) to the back of the monitor. The power cord may also be built into the back of the monitor.

How to Connect a Monitor to a Computer (4)

  1. Connect the other end of the monitor power cord (shown above) into a power outlet, or better, a surge protector.
  2. Turn on the computer and turn on the monitor. The power button for the monitor is often found on the front or bottom of the monitor on the right side.
  3. While most monitors do not include or require software, if your monitor came with software, install that software on your computer.


If your monitor has different connectors, you may need to switch the input type you're using with the buttons next to the power button.


If you run into trouble getting the monitor to work, see: No display or black screen on a computer monitor.


How to Connect a Monitor to a Computer? ›

So, for example, if your monitor has a VGA connection, and so does your computer, then use a VGA cable

VGA cable
Video Graphics Array (VGA) is a video display controller and accompanying de facto graphics standard, first introduced with the IBM PS/2 line of computers in 1987, which became ubiquitous in the IBM PC compatible industry within three years. › wiki › Video_Graphics_Array
to connect the two. If it has HDMI, then use an HDMI cable to connect the monitor to the HDMI port on the computer. The same applies to any port and cable you may have.

What is usually used to connect a monitor to a computer responses? ›

HDMI, DisplayPort, and USB-C™ are the most common types of monitor ports and cables, and you'll find them on the majority of modern displays.

Why isn't my computer connecting to my monitor? ›

Make sure the cable connecting your PC to your external monitor is secure. Try changing the cable connecting the external monitor. If the new one works, you know the previous cable was faulty. Try using the external monitor with a different system.

What is a monitor in computer question? ›

A monitor is an electronic output device used to display information being entered and processed on a computer. The primary use of a monitor is to display images, text, video, and graphics information generated by the computer via a computer's video card.

How do computer monitors work? ›

To generate an image, the LCD uses liquid crystal sandwiched between two panes of polarized glass, with a backlight illuminating the glass. LCDs work by blocking light rather than creating it. The display's pixels are switched on or off electronically as the liquid crystals rotate the polarized light.

What input does a monitor use? ›

The main AV input interfaces are composite video, S-Video, component video, D1 – 5, and HDMI. All of these other than the new HDMI standard use analog connections. As with PC input, a digital HDMI connection generally provides better image quality for AV input than the various analog connection interfaces.

What is used to connect from a monitor to the system unit? ›

A VGA cable is used to connect computer monitor to the CPU. VGA stands for Video Graphics Array.

What type of input device does a monitor use? ›

A traditional monitor is only used to display (output) information from a computer and provides no source of input. For this reason, a computer monitor is considered an output device. Newer PCs, smartphones, and tablets have touch screens, which allows users to interact with the computer using their finger.

Why is my monitor plugged in but no signal? ›

'No signal' means that your monitor is not receiving a video signal that it can display. This is usually due to one of the following causes: 1- The cable going from your computer to your monitor is loose. Power off the monitor, re-attach the cable at both end, power on your monitor.

Why does my computer turn on but no signal to the monitor? ›

A faulty or loose cable or cable in the HDMI or display port will refrain your monitor from starting. Similarly, if your laptop turns on but no display screen black occurs due to hinge issues. Reconnect the HDMI cable and see or replace the cable if it is damaged.

Why is my PC not reading the HDMI? ›

The PC HDMI not working issue can also occur due to improper bootup error with the devices. If your system or HDMI device doesn?t boot properly and results in error, you may face issues with the video or audio output. You can try rebooting your laptop or PC and re-plug your devices with HDMI.

What is the output device of a monitor? ›

Monitor is an output device which is used for producing soft-copy output. It is also known as VDU i.e. Visual Display Unit. It forms images from tiny dots, called pixels that are arranged in a rectangular form. LCD contains liquid crystals in between two plates of the screen.

What are the 3 types of monitor? ›

These types are:
  • CRT – Cathode Ray Tube.
  • LCD – Liquid Crystal Display.
  • LED – Light Emitting Diodes.

Why do you need a monitor? ›

Why choose a monitor next to your laptop? When you connect a laptop to a monitor, it'll pretty much change into a small desktop. You'll have more screen space for work or a game, you can multitask more easily, and create an ergonomic sitting posture while working.

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