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How to Get Sharper, Brighter Images on Your Monitor

When it comes to your screen display, you can switch your monitor between low- and high-resolution settings. A low-resolution setting displays fewer objects, rendered larger and with less clarity. A high-resolution setting will allow you to fit more objects onto your screen with more details, but they’ll be smaller. Microsoft recommends setting your screen to at least a 1024×768 resolution.

Note that this advice generally applies to CRT (cathode ray tube) screens, which respond more easily to adjustments in resolution. Newer LCD (liquid crystal display) screens, more common in laptops and flat-screen monitors, are best left at their native resolution – which is to say, the fixed number of pixels on the screen. If objects are rendering too small to be easily viewed on your LCD screen, the best approach is to try adjusting the DPI setting under Display Settings before you change the resolution.

To adjust the resolution on your screen, just follow these steps:

In XP:

  1. Go to the Start menu
  2. Select Control Panel
  3. Select Appearances and Themes
  4. Select Change the Screen Resolution 
  5. Slide the bar to the left or right to decrease or increase resolution 
  6. Click OK.

In Vista:

  1. Go to the Start menu 
  2. Select Control Panel 
  3. Select Appearance and Personalization 
  4. Select Personalization 
  5. Select Display Settings 
  6. Slide the bar to the left or right to decrease or increase resolution 
  7. Select Apply

While you’re adjusting your screen’s resolution, you might also want to adjust its brightness. How you do that depends a lot on what model of computer you have. For example, many Dell laptops use a Fn + Up arrow key combination to increase the brightness, while many IBM laptops have a dedicated single key at the top of the keyboard. If you’re at a desktop computer, there’s probably a hidden panel on your monitor that lets you manually set brightness, color, contrast, and other settings. The fastest way to figure out what’s right for your computer is consult your user manual or just Google the model of your computer plus the phrase “screen brightness.”


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