Change screen resolution in Windows 7
The "screen resolution" of your monitor (display) determines the amount of things (pixels) you can see at once in Windows 7: the larger the screen resolution, the more things you see, but the tinier they become. For an enjoyable experience, and to avoid eye strain, finding the perfect screen resolution is important, and depends on your sight, the distance at which you seat from your monitor, and the type of work you do on your computer. In this tutorial, we will explain how to change your screen resolution for one display and for multiple monitors.
- In this Windows 7 tutorial:
- Change the screen resolution of a single monitor
- Use different screen resolutions for multiple monitors (displays)
- Additional and custom screen resolutions
Change the screen resolution of a single monitor
In most cases, you will only have one monitor connected to your computer, which is the simplest setup. To change your current screen resolution, follow these simple steps:
- Start by minimizing all your open programs and windows
- Then, right-click on an empty area of your desktop (not on a desktop icon)
- From the context menu, choose "Screen resolution"
- Windows 7 will open the Control Panel, with the "Change the appearance of your display" screen automatically selected, which lists the monitors currently detected by Windows.
- Let's ignore all settings but the Resolution dropdown menu: it displays your current screen resolution, with width listed first (in pixels), and then height:
- Click on the Resolution dropdown menu to chose another screen resolution: in some cases, Windows 7 will list in black all screen resolutions supported by your monitor (those that will avoid making things on screen look distorted), and in light gray the screen resolutions that could cause problems.
If you currently have a secondary display connected, or have in the past hooked up a second monitor, Windows may list all available screen resolutions in black - which is also true if you have created custom screen resolutions with a third party software.
- Choose a screen resolution, and click on the Apply button to try it: for your safety, Windows 7 will automatically revert to your last screen resolution in case you do not confirm "Yes" to keep the latest screen resolution you tried. This is especially useful when an unsupported screen resolution makes your entire screen go black!
- Click OK to return to Windows: you have successfully changed your screen resolution!
Tip: if you forget how to access screen resolution settings in the Control Panel, just remember that you can also type "screen resolution" in the start menu's search field, and Windows 7 will display as the top result an "Adjust screen resolution" link - clicking on it brings up the same screen we just discussed above.
Use different screen resolutions for multiple monitors (displays)
Changing your screen resolution in Windows 7 for different monitors is actually a breeze: simply click on the monitor whose screen resolution you want to change, and change it (then click Apply and Yes to test and accept the new setting). Then, select the second monitor icon, and do the same: you do not need to have the same screen resolution on both monitors (fortunately!)
Additional and custom screen resolutions
When you are in the "Change the appearance of your display" screen, you can click on the "Advanced settings" link to open your video card's (graphics card's) configuration, usually shown with a tab with icon: (likely to read the name of an "NVIDIA" or "ATI" card model, or something like "Intel Graphics Media Accelerator Driver" - etc.)
A button on your video card's tab will generally be visible, and allow you to access more advanced screen resolution settings and additional resolutions, and sometimes give you the ability to create your own custom screen resolution! (Handle with care, make sure an advanced user is present to help you.)