Change-resistant PC Question of the Week
February 22, 2010 11:05 PM   Subscribe

How do I make my 23" LCD monitor act like a 17-18" one?

My eyes were bigger than my stomach for a wide-screen LCD PC monitor and I'm not a fan of the wide spaces on either side of websites and the horizon of my desktop seems a little too expansive for me.

Not sure what's possible, but I'd like to be able to change settings so that I have a working space on the monitor of a specified (standard monitor) size. OR, at the very least, be able to open IE windows in a 17" frame.

Have fiddled with the resolution settings and tried to find some windows size settings in IE and googled my ass off to no avail.

If it matters at all, it's a SyncMaster2333 and I'm running Windows7. Probably not ;)
posted by kreestar to Computers & Internet (13 answers total)
I don't understand why simply resizing the IE window to whatever size is comfortable isn't doing it for you.
posted by flabdablet at 11:08 PM on February 22, 2010

The feature you are looking for is 1:1 Pixel Mapping, you might want look around in the settings for your monitor.
posted by wongcorgi at 11:15 PM on February 22, 2010

Just get used having browser windows not being maximized. It took a while for me when I no longer had a tiny monitor.
posted by zsazsa at 11:16 PM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Yep, seconding zsazsa.

If you make it act like a smaller screen stretched out over a big one, you will hate it. I promise. Huge text and all the like.

It took a while for me to get used to a bigger monitor, and even now, mine's not huge. I have on occasion used pretty huge ones, though, and the trick is just to use smaller windows (and once you get used to it, it's very nice to be able to see multiple windows, even even they only peek out from behind each other.

As far as making IE look smaller, if it is not maximized when you close it, it shouldn't open maximized. Just adjust the size so that you are comfortable, and it should keep using that size.
posted by R a c h e l at 11:35 PM on February 22, 2010

Response by poster: Okay, thanks. So I'll just drag IE windows to the size I imagine they should be? ;) ... if it remembers previous size, that'll work!

And so it does. And Word too. Could actually make like I have dual monitors on one screen.

Thanks :)
posted by kreestar at 11:40 PM on February 22, 2010

Also on Windows 7 if you drag a window to one side of the screen it will auto-expand it to fill one half of the screen. Can be very useful for example if you want to drag an IE window to one side and Word to the other side. Kinda makes it easier to get one large monitor to behave as if you had two separate ones.
posted by ruperto at 12:41 AM on February 23, 2010

Winsplit Revolution will let you organize your open windows into presized tiles.
posted by defcom1 at 1:35 AM on February 23, 2010

Why not just move it farther away?

Also, if you don't want your browser windows to fill the whole screen just, you know, don't open them full screen. In most browsers, the windows will open to whatever size they were last. I've never used my browser window maximized. I don't even understand how people can do it.
posted by delmoi at 5:11 AM on February 23, 2010

nthing Winsplit Revolution.
posted by mathlete at 5:50 AM on February 23, 2010

Placing documents or web pages next to each other, as you seem to have discovered, can be quite useful at times.

In my opinion though, a better use of your new screen real estate is to put your widescreen monitor on an arm mount or stand which lets you swing the monitor into a portrait orientation. Not only will you be able to better position the monitor (ergonomically and in terms of desk space), but you can keep your windows full screen and do much less scrolling.

I always thought monitors on arms were a bit extravagant, but that didn't stop me from really wanting one; I finally gave in a couple of weeks ago and am amazed at how convenient it has been.

Most everyday computer tasks (surfing the web, looking at documents) involve using portrait formatted work spaces, and orienting your monitor to accommodate more content per page makes so much sense once you start doing it. Plus you can stand up, tilt the monitor up, and swing it towards you in order to read it as if it was a huge tablet display (useful if you get antsy sitting down reading for long periods on your computer). With most mounts, it's easy to switch back and forth between orientations if you need to (for a spreadsheet, for example, or to play a game).

Monitor arms (there are stands that do this too) can be found for quite cheap, and a variety of mounting options are available. Looks like your monitor isn't too heavy (around 5 kg, looks like). Also, make sure your graphics cards / drivers can handle it (I'm on a Mac, so can't really speak to that on your system).

Sorry for the long (first) comment, I have been lurking quite heavily on the blue and green for years and actually just signed up last to ask a monitor arm related question (coming as soon as I can post one!).
posted by soy bean at 7:24 AM on February 23, 2010

Best answer: Useful trick on windows 7; the win key (the one with the flag icon on it) + left arrow key will make the current window fill up half the screen on the left side. win + right arrow will put it back in the middle. win + right arrow key again will size the window to the half-screen on the right.

It's dead handy for putting two windows side by side on a widescreen, filling up half the screen each without having to faff about dragging/resizing them precisely. I use it all the time for having my browser reference info on one side, and the word doc/email/management console etc I'm typing in on the other - and if I alt-tab through those apps, as they're all on the same side and the same size, they just fit automatically.
posted by ArkhanJG at 9:47 AM on February 23, 2010

Oh, and win + up will maximise, and win + down arrow will minimise to task bar. There's also win + tab for the new 3d scrolly window thing, but I prefer the old flat alt-tab for switching between windows.
posted by ArkhanJG at 9:49 AM on February 23, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks Soy Bean. Will consider it, but I'll test the monitor new world with my wide-screen first. Baby steps :)

Ruperto, ArkhanJG - awesome, awesome :) ... your shortcut that is a marvelous little trick and I don't need to rely on my own dragging and yanking around and trying to tile my windows. Will need to do a crash course in what's nifty in Windows7 that's lost to me.

Thanks again, all.
posted by kreestar at 11:50 AM on February 23, 2010

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