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How To Connect Nintendo Switch To Laptop (To Use As Monitor)

One of the best features of the Nintendo Switch is the ability to throw the display onto a television by merely dropping your Nintendo Switch into the dock. This means you can enjoy your games on the big screen when at home and on the handheld when you are out.

Sometimes you fall in the middle. You aren't at home, with access to your TV, but you still want a bit more screen real estate. When this happens, there is another way. You can connect your Nintendo Switch to your laptop monitor screen, merging the two portable devices to give you a bigger screen to kill baddies on.

You can also use this method if you just want to use your Switch on a gaming monitor.

In this article, we are going to walk you through the steps and the equipment that you need to connect your Nintendo Switch to a laptop, as well as a few alternative backup plans.

But first, for those that don't know, what is the Nintendo Switch?

The Switch is a handheld console designed by the legends over at Nintendo. This is their second attempt at merging portable and static gaming, their first attempt being the Wii U.

The Nintendo Switch is a handheld console that comes with a charging dock. This dock can be connected to any display monitor with an HDMI port. When the Nintendo Switch is dropped into the charging port, the display shows up on the TV. You can then detach the wireless handles from the side of the Nintendo Switch, which you then use as the controllers.

The Nintendo Switch has been a massive success, with people all around the world loving the casual aspect and focus on fun over competition. This makes the Nintendo Switch much better for families, kids, and casual gamers compared to the much more competitive Playstation and Xbox gaming solutions.

Nintendo Switch - Mario Red & Blue Edition

1st Method: Connect Nintendo Switch To Laptop Via Capture Card

The first method is the best one but will require some preparation. As a laptop isn't designed for this task, you will need to buy a couple of things.

What Do You Need

In order for this to work, you are going to need a Nintendo Switch and docking station, a Laptop with an HDMI port, an HDMI cable, and most importantly, a Video Capture Card.

The process here will be similar to connecting your Nintendo Switch to normal television. The main device will be in the Nintendo dock the whole time so make sure you remember to pack it!

Video capture cards are used by gamers and streamers to capture content. This is what will allow you to play your Nintendo Switch on a laptop display. Make sure that the capture card has both an IN and OUT HDMI Port.

You will also need to download the software necessary to run your capture card on your laptop. Follow the instructions in the box or google your capture card model to do this.

You will already have a high-quality HDMI lead as one came inside the box when you bought it.

The Video Capture Card

Elgato is the range of capture cards designed by the gaming giant Corsair. Currently, they are pretty much the only cards being purchased by streamers and gamers.

This is because the best Elgato video capture card offers full 1080p output even at 60 FPS. It also connects via the much more powerful USB-C port, which can deliver data at a rate many times faster than your standard USB. This makes it the perfect card to connect your Nintendo Switch to a laptop.

If your laptop doesn't have a USB-C port, don't worry; the older Elgato video capture card range is still an excellent purchase and will suit this purpose perfectly.

The Method

Here are the steps you need to follow to hook up your Nintendo Switch to a laptop.

  1. 1
    The first step is to make sure that the Switch is powered down and disconnected from your television.
  2. 2
    Next, you will plug your HDMI cable into the "In" port on your capture card. Make sure you get the right port, as nothing will happen if you connect to the "Out" port.
  3. 3
    Next, you will open up the software that you downloaded for your capture card. Wait for this to fully load before moving to the next step.
  4. 4
    Your Nintendo Switch will now need to be turned on by one of the wireless controllers. Do not try to turn on the Switch by the power button on the console as it won't work.
  5. 5
    Connect the capture card to your laptop by either USB or USB-C, depending on the connection. This will provide the device with power, and you should see the menu from your Nintendo Switch on the screen. If not, repeat the earlier steps in case you went wrong.
  6. 6
    Click on the "Full Screen" icon at the top of the menu to maximize the display on your monitor.

That's it, and you should now be fully set up to play your favorite games on your laptop monitor.

Related: How To Use A Laptop As A Monitor

The Work-Around

Suppose you are having trouble connecting this way. Or you don't want to spend the money on an expensive capture card. There is another workaround. You can download a Switch emulator onto your laptop and use it to load Switch games.

However, this is frowned upon by Nintendo and also comes with some risks. You do not have control over what you are downloading. In some cases, you may download a virus or a game that causes your laptop to glitch out.

If you are happy to take those risks, then you should head over to this forum to find out more.

Nintendo Switch

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Can you connect a Nintendo switch controller to a laptop?

Both the joy-con controllers and the pro controllers can be connected to any PC or MAC with Bluetooth support. This can be a great way to play old-school arcade games using a controller similar to an arcade machine joystick.

Can I use my laptop as a monitor for my console?

You can use your laptop as a monitor for all three consoles. If you want to find more, check out our other articles on how to set up a monitor for your PS4 and your Xbox One.

Can HDMI on laptop be used as input?

It's not easy to change the HDMI output to input on a laptop but it's possible by using an adapter or splitter.


By following these steps, you should be able to play your Switch on your laptop. This can be a great way to play the Switch on the move and is perfect for flights and traveling with friends.