What should my screen resolution be?
June 16, 2007 7:28 AM   Subscribe

I'm having some trouble figuring out what my screen resolution should be. My monitor is the Dell UltraSharp Widescreen 2007WFP... which is a 20 inch widescreen. Its native resolution is 1680 x 1050. At this resolution everything is very clear and normal and good. However, everything is a bit too small for me to read comfortably. The monitor is maybe 2 - 2.5 feet away from my face, which I think is normal, but everything is still just a little on the too small side. Because of this, I've been using a 1280 x 800 resolution with a 96 DPI. Everything is easily and comfortably readable for me like this. The only problem is I lose a lot of screen real estate vs its native resolution, and everything becomes just a slight bit less clear. So, what I'm wondering is, what should my settings be? Thanks in advance for any help.
posted by creative to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You always want to have an LCD running at its native resolution. If you're on Windows, you can increase the font size Control Panel > Display > Appearance > Font Size.
posted by djb at 7:36 AM on June 16, 2007

Also, 2.5 feet is a little farther away than usual, for a standard desk. Larger doesn't automatically mean farther away, especially when you're dealing with text. Remember, 'Code 18' errors are because the problem's 18" from the monitor.
posted by pupdog at 7:44 AM on June 16, 2007

I have a 22" widescreen also running at 1680 x 1050, and I had the exact same problem--text was just too small! I did the font size trick, but it mainly affected me while I was reading websites, so I just increase the text size in the browser...it works great.

You'll have to experiment some with your distance from the monitor. I had mine closer than it needed to be at first, and it was hurting my eyes. Now it's a little farther back, and I love it. You'll just have to try different things, I guess.
posted by DMan at 7:51 AM on June 16, 2007

Use the higher resolution and change your font settings. If you're in windows, there are font size settings under desktop>properties>appearance (If I remember right).

The other thing you'll need is a great firefox extension called NoSquint. .

After you adjust the font size (suning Ctrl & +), it remembers that size and applys it next time you visit that page. For example, metafilter always shows up at 150% for me. Some other websites show up as high as 200%. But the key is - it doesn't matter to me, becaue I don't have to futz with it all the time.

If you use thunderbird, you can change font settings using a userChrome.css file - google it for the details.
posted by chrisamiller at 8:47 AM on June 16, 2007 [3 favorites]

(This is one reason absolute font sizes (px, pt, in, cm,...) in web pages is a boneheaded idea.)
posted by cmiller at 9:37 AM on June 16, 2007

chrisamiller, thanks for the NoSquint link--I love that! I have MeFi set at 150% now too.
posted by DMan at 9:43 AM on June 16, 2007

If you're on OS X, try option apple = and option apple -. (You may have to enable it with option apple 8). I use this all the time with small text, and often like it better than simply increasing the font sizes past a certain point. I do have my web browser set to be readable as is though.
posted by advil at 12:27 PM on June 16, 2007

I have exactly the same monitor, and I know well how small the text is. Keep the resolution at 1680X1050. Assuming you're running XP and have a scroll mouse, all you need to do is hold CTL and scroll - the font sizes will increase or decrease accordingly. Setting the size in the control panel limits you to a few prefixed sizes.
posted by Neiltupper at 1:45 PM on June 16, 2007

hey chrisamiller thanks for that firefox extension. :) that's the only thing that's been bugging me on my otherwise *really* great 1920x1200 widescreen (which is only 15"!)
posted by ancamp at 5:53 PM on June 16, 2007

If you are on a system with Beryl (Linux, etc), you can actually zoom in on the desktop and any open windows. Very useful if you feel like sitting back and relaxing, or want to make things take up the whole screen.
posted by mezamashii at 7:34 PM on June 16, 2007

Also, in IE and Firefox, hold down ctrl and scroll the mouse wheel for fast text size adjustments
posted by ijoyner at 10:09 AM on June 18, 2007

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