fixed : how to connect an external display (or iMac) to my new USB-C only MacBook Pro ?

Question :

I have to work from home right now, so I would like to connect my MacBook Pro to an external display, but I have a new MacBook Pro that only has USB-C ports…

How do I do that ?

 

Answer :

First, you need to know if your MacBook, MacBook Air or MacBook Pro has Thunderbolt 3  (TB3) or regular USB-C.  Thunderbolt 3 (TB3) and regular USB-C (USB 3.1 gen 2) connectors look exactly the same, but Thunderbolt 3 (TB3) runs at 40Gbps instead of 10Gbps for regular USB-C. Thunderbolt 3 (TB3) can handle a 5K-display or two 4K-displays at once, but regular USB-C can only handle one 4K-display.

The 12″ MacBooks from 2015/2016/2017 have regular USB-C (just like the iPad Program 2018/2020) that is NOT Thunderbolt 3 (TB3) capable

The MacBook Air from 2018/2020 and the MacBook Pro’s from 2017 and newer have Tunderbolt 3 (TB3)

Then, you will need a display-connector-cable that converts USB-C to something that your monitor can handle :

If your external screen is a 4K- or 5K-display with USB-C/Thunderbolt 3-input, use this cable (or something similar) :

Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 3 cable  [ buy from Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Amazon DE ]

If your external screen has an HDMI-input (e.g. if it’s a recent display or if it’s a TV), use this cable (or something similar) :

USB-C 4K@60Hz to HDMI cable  [ buy from Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Amazon DE ]

If your external screen has a DVI-input (e.g. if it’s a slightly older or more expensive display), use this cable (or something similar) :

USB-C to DVI cable  [ buy from Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Amazon DE ]

If your external screen has a DisplayPort-input (e.g. if it’s a slightly older or more professional display), use this cable (or something similar) :

USB-C to DisplayPort cable  [ buy from Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Amazon DE ]

If your external screen had a MiniDisplayPort-input (e.g. if it’s an old iMac with Target Display Mode* support), use this cable (or something similar) :

  • * = only few iMacs have Target Display Mode support :
    • iMac 27″ 2009 to iMac 27″ 2014 (MiniDisplayPort/Thunderbolt 1)
    • iMac 21,5″ 2011 to iMac 21,5″ 2014 (MiniDisplayPort/Thunderbolt 1)
    • note : iMac Retina 4K and iMac Retina 5K do not have support for Target Display Mode !
    • visit the Apple website for more info on Target Display Mode
    • newer iMacs can be used as an external screen using Wireless Screen Sharing when connected to the same WiFi network, but that could be laggy (where cabled Target Disk Mode will never have lag)

USB-C to MiniDisplayPort cable  [ buy from Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Amazon DE ]

If your external screen has a VGA-input (e.g. if it’s a really old computer monitor or a beamer), use this converter (or something similar) to connect to a regular VGA-cable :

USB-C to VGA adapter  [ buy from Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Amazon DE ]

 

When you have gotten hold of the right connection cable, do this :

  • shut down both your MacBook* and external display**
    • * = MacBook, MacBook Air or MacBook Pro that only has USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 ports
    • ** = external display, iMac or beamer
  • connect your MacBook* to your external display** using the proper cable mentioned above
  • switch on your external display**
  • switch on your MacBook*
  • make sure your MacBook* is connected to the wall power adapter
  • connect a mouse and keyboard to your MacBook** either using USB (with a USB-to-USB-C connector) or using Bluetooth
    • any basic USB-to-USB-C connector will do, here is a suggestion
    • if your MacBook* only has 2 USB-C ports, you either need to use a Bluetooth mouse & keyboard, or your need a USB-C port hub (port multiplier) like this :
  • if your external display** has various input options, make sure it is set to receive the input from your MacBook*
  • then, close your MacBook*’s lid, so your entire desktop screen will be visible on the external screen
  • usually, the macOS Display Preferences window will now be on-screen, if it is not, open the System Preferences (in the Apple-menu top left) and click on the Displays-icon to open it
  • in the Preferences window that is named like your external display, click on the Display-tab
  • then choose ‘Default for display’ (if you click on ‘Scaled’ once, you will see that macOS has automatically chosen the optimal resolution for your this external display** with your MacBook*, if that is not the maximum screen resolution listed, you might want to change this, but usually you just choose ‘Default for display’)
  • now you are good to go…

That’s it !

enjoy 😉

 

fixed : external display goes black when I close my MacBook

Question :

Since I need to work form home at this moment, I have connected an external display. It works great and I now have a far better overview than I had on my tiny MacBook Pro screen. Now I have connected a USB-keyboard and a wireless mouse, so I would like to close my MacBook’s lid while I’m working on the external display. But, somehow, every time I close my MacBook’s lid, the connection to the display is lost and the display goes black…

What is going on ?

 

Answer :

To prevent your battery from draining while you are not using your MacBook, all connections are cut off when the lid is closed (since you cannot access the keyboard or the screen when the lid is closed). This also means that the connection to your external display will be cut off whenever you close your MacBook’s lid.

However : since your MacBook’s battery will no drain as long as extra power is provided, this shut down feature will not be activated as long as your MacBook is plugged into the wall charger. So, there’s your answer : just plug your MacBook into external power, and your external display will not go black when you close the MacBook’s lid.

Note : if you already have your MacBook connected to external power and your external display still goes black, see this post.

That’s it !

enjoy 😉

fixed : where is the Show Thumbnails option in Microsoft Word for Mac ?

Question :

I am loosing track of what I’m doing in the multi-page Word document that I’m working on. It’s over 20 pages and I am referring to info I have written on various previous pages, so I keep scrolling back and forth to find the exact pieces of text I have previously written…

It would be great to have a Show Thumbnails option like I have in Pages, Preview and Acrobat Reader, but I can’t find anything similar in Word.

Is it possible to have something similar in Word ?

 

overviewAnswer :

Yes, there is a Show Thumbnails option in Word ( Word 365 / Word 16 for Mac). It’s just that Microsoft didn’t name it Show Thumbnails and but it somewhere deep inside the menu-structure where you won’t find it if you don’t know that Microsoft calls it Navigation Pane… here’s how to activate it :

  • open Word.app
  • don’t go to the top-of-screen Word application menu bar
  • go to the menu bar of the Word Document window
  • click on the View tab
  • then put a checkmark at “Navigation Pane”

…that’s it !

enjoy 😉