Computer and Projector

In Support of Presentations to a Group

Audiovisual presentations such as PowerPoint have become very common to local history societies. The topic of this paper is to give guidelines for connecting your computer to a projector. Setting up a video projector is exactly the same process as setting up a second monitor.

Objective: to provide guidelines for connecting your computer to a projector

Equipment needed:
For your presentation, you will need a projector and a computer.

The projector that you will need is not an inexpensive piece of equipment: the price generally is over $200-$300. Therefore, you should check with the venue for your presentation to see if they can supply the projector, or contact your local library or school to see if one might be available.

VGA Straight

VGA Straight

As you will not be needing sound, use the simplest video-only connection called VGA, a connection that uses 15 pins in three staggered lines. There will be a VGA plug on the projector and the projector itself will come with a VGA-VGA cable.

This is a VGA receptacle from the cable: that can support (most computers and laptops would fulfill this need)

A Windows computer will also have a VGA plug: simply attach the other end of the VGA-VGA cable to the computer and you’ve completed the hookup of the projector.

Macintosh computers use a different connection from the computer that may look like one of these:

In this situation, you will need to use a pigtail to convert the connection on your computer to the VGA-VGA cable.
This is an example of a pigtail, with the VGA coupling on the right.

The Mac will have come with the pigtail, but you can buy one separately (it will be in the range of $15-$20). The easiest way to get the correct one is to call MacConnection (800-800-2222); give them the make and model of your computer; and ask for the pigtail necessary to hook up to a VGA connection.

Setting up the projector on a Windows machine
To come

Setting up the projector on a Mac
Under the apple icon in the upper left corner, scroll down and open the system preferences. Then, locate and double click on the monitors/displays icon that give you 3 options: display, arrangement, and color.

The arrangement window will show two rectangles superimposed on each other. These rectangles represent the two monitors for your adjustment. Click and drag one of the rectangles to the side. In the bottom left, you should also uncheck the “mirror displays” box.

Move your mouse from left to right and explore how it flows. As you move the mouse around, it will be stopped at the top and bottom of your screen, and at one side of your screen. However, you can move the mouse beyond one side (either the left or the right). Going back to the arrangement window, you can grab either of the rectangles and change the arrangement side to side.

Playing with your mouse again, you’ll now see that the cursor disappears on the opposite side of the monitor: your computer thinks there are two monitors connected with the display area forming one large monitor.

When you have connected the project, you can arrange your computer’s windows so that the PowerPoint presentation will be projected onto the screen while the laptop will be available for any control or search functions you may need.

If you want the projector duplicate the laptop, you can check the “mirror displays” box.

If the picture projected looks squashed in some dimension, re-open the system preferences and click on the display tab. This will give you a number of options for the width to height or portions of the projector. Select the option that gives you the best appearing picture.

Gerry Stoner

Gerry Stoner

This article is one of several to help you document local history. Other articles will help you convert your interviews, documents, pictures, and artifacts into documentation of your local history that can be shared with your community.