How to Connect a Surface Laptop to a Monitor

Make the most of the Surface Laptop's limited ports

What to Know

  • Microsoft's Surface Laptop 3 and 4 output video through the USB-C port.
  • The Surface Laptop and Laptop 2 use Mini-DisplayPort instead.
  • You'll likely need an adapter to connect a Surface Laptop to most monitors.

Microsoft's Surface Laptop has support for up to two monitors with a resolution of up to 4K, but the Surface Laptop itself has just one video output. This article offers several ways to connect a Surface Laptop to one or more monitors.

How to Connect a Surface Laptop to a Monitor (Surface Laptop 3 and Laptop 4)

Microsoft's most recent Surface Laptop models, the Laptop 3 and Laptop 4 use a USB-C port to output video.

It can connect directly to a monitor with a USB-C video input; however, most monitors lack this input. You'll likely need a video adapter; Microsoft sells the following adapters.

  • USB-C to DisplayPort
  • USB-C to HDMI
  • USB-C to VGA

The Surface Laptop 3 and Laptop 4 will also work with third-party adapters.

Here's how to connect your Surface Laptop to a monitor once you have the correct adapter.

A photo of the Surface Laptop 4's USB-C port
The Surface Laptop 4's USB-C port is used to output video.


  1. Turn on your monitor.

  2. Connect a USB-C cable to the Surface Laptop's USB-C port.

    The USB-C cable must be compatible with DisplayPort alternate mode. Most are, but some less expensive ones cut this feature. Check the USB-C cable's specifications, if available.

  3. If your monitor has a USB-C video input, connect the USB-C cable directly to the monitor.

    Otherwise, connect the USB-C cable to a video adapter, then plug the video adapter into the corresponding video input on your monitor.

  4. The Surface Laptop will detect the display automatically.

While your Surface Laptop will output video automatically, you may want to change the resolution or location of the second monitor. Lifewire's guide to adding a second monitor in Windows will help you find and select the correct settings.

How to Connect a Surface Laptop to a Monitor (Surface Laptop and Laptop 2)

The Surface Laptop and Laptop 2 don't have a USB-C port and instead use Mini-DisplayPort.

Nearly all modern monitors support DisplayPort input but use a full-size DisplayPort connection instead of Mini-DisplayPort. You'll need a Mini-DisplayPort to DisplayPort cable.

Older monitors without DisplayPort will also require a DisplayPort to VGA or DVI adapter.

Follow the steps below once you have the correct cable or adapter.

  1. Turn on your monitor.

  2. Connect the Mini-DisplayPort to DisplayPort cable to the Surface Laptop's Mini-DisplayPort output.

  3. Plug the Mini-DisplayPort to DisplayPort cable into your monitor's DisplayPort input.

    If using an adapter, plug the Mini-DisplayPort to DisplayPort cable into the adapter, then plug the adapter into your monitor's corresponding input.

  4. The Surface Laptop will detect the display automatically.

How to Connect a Surface Laptop With a Surface Dock

Microsoft's Surface Laptop has only video output included on the laptop but can support more than one monitor.

You can connect a second monitor using the Microsoft Surface Dock, a peripheral sold by Microsoft which attaches via Surface Connect. It's the custom, magnetically attached port used to charge and power the Surface Laptop.

The Surface Dock can handle up to two 4K monitors in addition to the Laptop's built-in display.

Microsoft offers two Surface Dock models. The older, original Surface Dock uses Mini-DisplayPort to output video, and the newer, more expensive Surface Dock 2 uses USB-C. As with the Surface Laptop itself, you will need an adapter to connect your monitor if it lacks a Mini-DisplayPort or USB-C input.

Here's how to use the Surface Dock.

  1. Turn on each monitor you want to connect to your Surface Laptop.

  2. Connect the Surface Dock to the Surface Laptop via the Surface Connect port.

  3. Connect each monitor to the Surface Dock. If using adapters, connect the adapters to the Surface Dock first, then connect your monitors.

  4. The Surface Laptop will detect each display automatically.

More Ways to Connect a Surface Laptop to a Monitor

The Surface Laptop 3 and Surface Laptop 4, which use USB-C to output video, can be used with most third-party USB-C docks.

While you can use third-party USB-C hubs or docks to connect a Surface Laptop 3 or Laptop 4 to a display, some models place limitations on the video output. Be sure to double-check the hub or dock's video capabilities.

In some situations, you can connect multiple monitors with a daisy chain. It involves attaching a DisplayPort or USB-C video output to a monitor and then connecting a second monitor to the first monitor.

Most monitors don't have a video output in addition to video input and, because of this, can't daisy chain. Monitors that can daisy chain include the BenQ PD2700U and the Dell U2721DE. All Surface Laptop models have daisy chain support.

FAQ
  • How do I connect my Surface Pro to a laptop monitor?

    You can use the Surface Pro's built-in Miracast screen mirroring to wirelessly extend or duplicate the display on a compatible Windows 10 laptop. On your Surface, open Action Center > Connect and find your device and accept the connection. To change the way the screens display content, use the Windows logo key+P shortcut to toggle through options like Extend or PC Screen only.

  • Can I connect my Surface laptop to my TV wirelessly?

    Yes, if your TV also has Miracast, you can connect and mirror your laptop display using the same steps above to project a Surface Pro to a laptop. If your smart TV doesn't have Miracast, you can use the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter to create a wireless connection between your TV and laptop.

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