Change Screen Resolution
The fonts and icons on my new computer are so small that I have trouble seeing them. How do I adjust or magnify my screen for easier viewing?
How Do I Change the Screen Resolution?
Typically, a new Windows or Mac computer will be automatically set up to display at the highest resolution your monitor can support with the software drivers available. The resolution is just the number of dots or pixels displayed on your screen in the horizontal and vertical directions. A high screen resolution like 1680x1050 looks really sharp if you have a large desktop display and 20/20 vision. But older eyes may find that the default screen resolution needs adjusting. Even with perfect vision, things may be a bit small for comfort on a smaller laptop or netbook display. There are other reasons to change the screen resolution occasionally, too.
The higher the quality of your display, the more processing power required. If you have a souped-up graphics accelerator with its own specialized processor and RAM, there may be no problem. But the lower-powered graphics cards integrated into motherboards may bog down under a full load of pixels and colors. Reducing the screen resolution can speed up the ever-changing display without sacrificing much quality. Words will scroll down the screen more smoothly and games will be more responsive.
To change screen resolution in Windows XP:
- Right-click on the Windows desktop and select Properties from the context menu
- Click on the Settings tab
- Drag the Screen Resolution slidebar left or right to reduce or increase the number of pixels displayed (1440x900, 1024x768, etc.)
- Click on the Color Quality box and select the number of colors to be used
- Click Apply to change the display to the new settings
- If you like what you see, click Yes and then Save. If not, click No and choose new settings
Windows 7 works much the same way as XP, with a couple of twists:
- When you right-click on the desktop, "Screen Resolution" appears on the context menu
- Instead of a slidebar, there's a pulldown menu from which to select a supported screen resolution
- Color Quality" is under "Advanced Settings" and is called "Color Management
- "Make text and other items larger or smaller" without changing screen resolution is a new option at the bottom of the Screen Resolution window. Settings include 100% (normal), 125%, and 150%. You will have to log off (not restart) to have these new settings take effect.
What settings are optimal depends on your eyes, hardware, and the applications you use. Making text 150% larger may result in some text not showing at the bottom of the screen where the software puts it. All of the text just won't fit. Some Web pages may display enlarged text overlapping other items in your browser. Reducing the screen resolution to less than about 80% of its maximum size is generally not advisable.
Mac OS X users can change screen resolutions by following these instructions:
- Open the System Preference dialogue via the Dock or from the Apple menu
- Open the Displays panel and click the Displays tab
- Select the desired Resolution from the list on the left
- Close the System Preferences when you are satisfied with the resolution
Other Options for Screen Magnification
There's yet another display option in Windows, called the Magnifier, and it works like a magnifying glass. Under Mac OS, it's called the Zoom feature.
- On Windows XP, click Start, then Run, type "magnify" then press ENTER.
- On Windows Vista, click Start, Control Panel, Ease of Access, Ease of Access Center, Start Magnifier.
- On Windows 7, click Start, enter "magnifier" in the Search box, press ENTER, then click "Turn Magnifier On or Off".
- On Mac OS X, open Finder, click the Apple menu, click System Preferences, click Universal Access, click the Seeing tab, then click "Turn on Zoom".
On Windows, a rectangular window will appear in which a magnified view of the area around your cursor is displayed. The magnified area shifts as you move the cursor around, just like the magnified area displayed through a moving magnifying glass. You can adjust the amount of magnification and the size of the magnified area though a floating dialogue box.
Another trick which works on both Windows and Mac computers, is to use the scroll wheel on your mouse, if you have one. Hold down the Ctrl key and spin the scroll wheel up or down to adjust the text and graphics on your screen. On Windows, this works on an application level, and not every program supports zooming. Web browsers like Firefox, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Office, and other popular programs all have the zoom feature.
Do you have something to say about changing the screen resolution? Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 23 May 2010
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Change Screen Resolution (Posted: 23 May 2010)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved