I am new to using Raspberry Pi (mine is version 2 Model B) and am setting it all up. I have an HDMI enabled laptop and don't need the internet to do what I need to with the Pi. Is that sufficient? I keep seeing info about connecting to laptop with network cables, but I am assuming that is only if you need to go on the web. Currently downloading Noobs, Win32DiskImager, and SD Formatter, so thought I would ask this while I wait. Thanks!

  • 2
    Your question is unclear. You CANNOT run NOOBS without a keyboard/screen (at least for initial setup), but you could install Raspbian if you want to run headless.
    – Milliways
    Nov 23, 2015 at 2:57
  • Thank you. I am not using the Pi yet. I am just downloading the programs to my computer and will put them onto an SD card. My comment on that was a side note. Sorry if it was confusing. My actual question is: Can I connect the Pi to my laptop with HDMI if I only need the display and keyboard function of it to do Python coding? I don't know if plugging the Pi into my laptop with HDMI will work like that bcz I haven't seen anyone discuss it online. All I can find is instructions to use network cables, but I assume I don't need to connect to the web if I've already put the OS on the SD card.
    – HaikuFlash
    Nov 23, 2015 at 3:44
  • 1
    The laptop hdmi port would only be an output device, so No.
    – Milliways
    Nov 23, 2015 at 3:50

3 Answers 3


Laptop HDMI ports are generally output only, meaning it can only be used to display the laptop's screen on another device. Your HDMI port needs to be HDMI input enabled, which is unusual for these kinds of computers. If you had an external display for a desktop, those are solely input only and will work. Then again... Thats what the RPi needs anyways.

This is also why playing a game console like an XBOX or Play Station won't work. The "signal" only goes one way (output) on a laptop's HDMI port.


I want to add that all the tutorials "with network cables" are not neccessarily only talking about internet connections.

They enable you to use the Raspberry without a directly attached display.

This works by using a "Remote desktop" (VNC , RDP) software which communicates over the single Ethernet cable inbetween the Pi and Laptop after setting up "Internet Connection Sharing" .

  • You would still need to connect your Pi via HDMI to a monitor first, right? Just so that you can download the remote desktop software. I'm trying to find a way to connect a Pi to a laptop display straight away. Writing a tutorial for my students who might only have a laptop, so they won't have the option to view their Pi desktop on another monitor otherwise.
    – Azurespot
    Mar 16, 2021 at 20:15

Putty will also do the trick. It's a program to easily use SSH. You do need to have SSH enabled on your Pi.

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