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Resolution on dual screen troubles

Last response: in Windows 7
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May 3, 2013 4:24:23 AM

Hello,

I am using a new Dell Precision | M4700 with a second screen.

The native option for the laptop screen is 1920x1080. This makes the text and far too small for me to read, I find myself either squinting or moving things to the second display.

I have added 1440x900 to the resolution options which helps but slightly squashes everything when expanded to fit the screen.

Being in graphic design and photography, this is a pain!

Can anyone help me with this? I just want the laptop display larger (i know the quality wont be quite as good).

Any advice appreciated :) 
a b $ Windows 7
May 3, 2013 4:41:18 AM

1) Always run monitors at their native resolution. While on old CRT monitors you could run a much larger monitor at a low resolution to 'make things bigger' without loosing clarity, LCD panels do not work this way... especially if you are doing graphic design.

2) Use UI scalling. Windows 2K/XP/Vista/7/8 all have scaling options to help make text bigger without messing with things like resolution and such. For XP and before you are going to have to look for it yourself. In vista/7/8 it is found in Control Panel, Display, and then you choose an option. For the sake of some programs you will want to keep as close to 100% as possible to ensure that the UI does not get terribly distorted with the placement of text/images. Web browsers have similar 'zoom' options by holding down the control key and using the scroll wheel.

3) Get glasses. Seriously, if you are having vision problems where you cannot view things 'normally' then the strain on your eyes will typically get progressively worse, while having good glasses will at least slow down the process.
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May 3, 2013 5:29:56 AM

Very good points Caedenv, especially about the glasses. A good set of reading glasses are fairly cheap and can really make a difference for us old guys.
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May 3, 2013 6:33:07 AM

Hello,

Thanks for the reply. The issue I started with was the monitor (additional screen) is 1600x900. I have my laptop on a stand next two it at 1920x1080. Everything on the additional screen is large compared to the laptop which is very small.

Yes I can change the text size etc but this changes both monitors which isn't what I want.

The resolution on the laptop would be ok if I was using it for what is made for - on my lap, not using an additional keyboard or mouse but I am sat in an office at my desk.

With some trial and error the resolution is now at 1584x880, everything seems in proportion (I've had the ruler out) and there is no distortion. Will I cause any damage running this? If everything looks good surely that's the main thing?

I've had all sorts of drama with dual screens, colour is also an issue, I can never seem to get the two to match but my company don't want to fork out for an expensive screen.

Thanks for the tip about glasses, I'm pretty sure I'm good for now but I will keep an eye on it (excuse the pun).


CaedenV said:
1) Always run monitors at their native resolution. While on old CRT monitors you could run a much larger monitor at a low resolution to 'make things bigger' without loosing clarity, LCD panels do not work this way... especially if you are doing graphic design.

2) Use UI scalling. Windows 2K/XP/Vista/7/8 all have scaling options to help make text bigger without messing with things like resolution and such. For XP and before you are going to have to look for it yourself. In vista/7/8 it is found in Control Panel, Display, and then you choose an option. For the sake of some programs you will want to keep as close to 100% as possible to ensure that the UI does not get terribly distorted with the placement of text/images. Web browsers have similar 'zoom' options by holding down the control key and using the scroll wheel.

3) Get glasses. Seriously, if you are having vision problems where you cannot view things 'normally' then the strain on your eyes will typically get progressively worse, while having good glasses will at least slow down the process.


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a b $ Windows 7
May 3, 2013 7:20:46 PM

aaaah,
The issue is the pixel density of your monitors not matching, this is a normal problem and the only 'right' way to fix it would be to get a proper 2nd monitor that has a similar pixel density to your main display.
(PixHeight*PixWidth)/(Height*Width)= ppi or pixels per inch

Your laptop likely has a much higher pixel density (~75-85ppi), while your monitor has a lower pixel density (~65ppi). This is because your laptop display is meant to be viewed at ~1.5' away in your lap, while a desktop monitor is typically meant to be viewed at ~2-3' away on a desk.

Purchasing a monitor of similar size and resolution to your laptop, or getting a larger monitor with a much higher resolution is the only good way to fix this. Running non-native resolutions on any LCD monitor causes really odd optical issues, especially when messing with graphics (as implied by your post).
It may look 'right' to you, but trust me when I say that it will cause you all sorts of headaches when it comes to viewing detail because the monitor is trying to guess which pixels should be displayed or left out... and monitors are rather dumb devices that ought not make such decisions (something GPU and CPUs are much better at).



So the cheap man's fix until you can purchase a proper monitor? Move the desktop monitor back until the sizing is approximately right from where you sit.


As for color (or colour for our British friends); Run the Windows color management (control panel, display, calibrate color). It is not perfect, but it can go a loooong way at helping dissimilar monitors at least get in the same ball park, or similar monitors 'close enough' that most people would not notice a difference in day to day use. The better solution is getting a color calibration kit, this will include software which will create a specific color profile for your monitors, and a piece of hardware which hangs on the monitor to make measurements. This will make dissimilar monitors pretty close, and high end monitors extremely accurate.
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