How to use a laptop as a monitor?

If you have seen those graphic designers who use multiple monitors, you would definitely be wondering how to use your laptop as the second monitor. Well, if you really have a laptop, there are several ways you can use your laptop as the second monitor.

Can you use your laptop as the second monitor? Like we already stated, you can do so, but it isn't actually as easy as might appear to be. The culture of Work From Home is taking a massive leap of late (whether due to the impending pandemic or otherwise). Working on the small screen of laptops is not always the best option. Your eyes will thank you for the rest they will get when you work with a bigger font and well-optimized screens.

Laptops come with some big advantages. One such advantage is that a laptop provides high-end portability. That makes it one of the flexible options as a second monitor.

Why use a laptop as the second monitor?

There are several advantages that come associated with the use of a laptop as a monitor. You would only need to have access to a working operating system and a perfectly working screen. Using another laptop as a monitor is useful if you don't have another monitor and is a great workaround to use existing resources intelligently. It will also help you save on the battery life of your laptop since displaying visuals also consume a considerable amount of energy.

A second monitor can be useful in many ways, a few of which can include the following options -
  • You can view two documents side by side for an effective comparison.
  • If you are into content creation, it would double up as an excellent option for researching on one of the monitors and work on the other.
  • You can watch a movie or an interesting video on one of the monitors while working on the other monitor.
  • The the second monitor can double up as a means for a chat and other communications while you keep working on the other one.

Toggling between two different applications, browser windows and other details can be handled efficiently with a second monitor. Why not begin using your existing old laptop as a second monitor? You can perhaps come across better use cases.

How to use a Laptop as monitor?

For the sake of this tutorial, we will use the Windows operating system. We will divide the steps into 2 parts. First, we will enable your laptop to stream content from it to the other display. Then, we will configure the secondary laptop that you want to use as a screen.

Enable your laptop

The steps here involve setting up the laptop that you want to use as a monitor. The settings here will help you make your laptop stream the content from the source that you want to connect it to.
Here we go with the settings -
  • Launch Settings on your laptop and move to System grouping
  • Choose Display on the left hand side pane. You can also reach this page by right clicking on any empty space on your desktop and choosing Display Settings
  • Pick the option for Projecting this PC option.
  • projecting to this PC
  • Choose the right options based on your individual preferences and security needs. Change the Windows PCs and phones can project to this PC when you say it's OK to connect Always Available or Available only on secured networks. You can also configure the other settings as per your preferences.
  • Once you have made the necessary settings, you can just note down the name of the device or PC name at the bottom of the page. In fact, you can even rename the PC if you want to.

Connect with your main Desktop or Laptop

Now that you have configured your laptop to work as a monitor, the next step would be to stream content from your primary or main device to this laptop.
Follow the steps as indicated here below -
  • On the laptop or the device you want to stream from, press a key combination of Windows +P. This will take you to Project. You can also reach here through the Action Centre and picking Project from here.
  • Choose the option Extend. This will provide you access to using your laptop as an extension of the main device.
  • extend
  • Your laptop name should now be visible as one of the options to connect. Click on it and approve the connection.
That does it. You should now be able to use your laptop as the second monitor for your main device.
Do note that Extend is one of the options you can use for extending your main device display to another laptop. You would also have access to a few other options as well -
  • Duplicate - This option will duplicate the screen on the second monitor. That would mean you would duplicate everything on the primary device on the laptop.
  • Second Screen Only - This option would help you shut down the display on the main device and check out the display only one the second monitor.

The method above uses the Miracast feature on Windows operating system. You can even use a third-party tool such as Space Deck for connecting your laptop as the secondary monitor. However, we would not necessarily recommend opting for it unless the above option doesn't work for you. In essence, the built-in method should be your first choice for this purpose.

The Concluding Thoughts

Using your laptop screen as a monitor is a great option when you don't have a separate monitor. This is especially true nowadays when even desktops are coming as one whole unit instead of individual CPU and monitor. Having separate screens is useful in a lot of professions like for graphic designers, software developers, gamers, etc. So if do have such a requirement as well as another laptop at your disposal, make great use of it.


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