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Screen Resolutions:

You may want to know about computer monitor screen resolutions because you may need to know how to view your page the way that most people see it. I have also included information about how to change and reset your computer monitor screen resolutions.


Q: Why do I have to scroll from left to right on many of the web sites I visit? Even with my browser maximized on my 17" monitor, I'm still scrolling! Any Ideas?

This could be the result of a couple problems. The most likely problem is that your screen resolution is set too low. It's probably at 800x600 and most sites are designed with the assumption you're using a resolution of 1024x768 (the most common resolution used in Windows XP).

To check / change your monitor resolution, right-click your desktop and select Properties . Next, click the Settings tab. You'll see a little slider that goes left to right. Make sure it's set to 1024x768 or higher (the higher you go, the smaller an item will appear on your screen, so don't go too far).

Here's a sample shot :



The following table summarizes the categories
of screen resolution

Width x Height (pixels) Video Display Category
640 x 480 Standard VGA; lower setting SVGA
800 x 600 SVGA
1024 x 768 Max. SVGA and lower limit XGA
1280 x 1024 XGA
1400 x 1050 XGA
1600 x 1200 XGA

A web author has no way of telling the user's screen resolution. In another five years the statistics on monitor screen resolution will have changed dramatically again.

At higher resolutions you seem to gain more desktop "space" because objects will appear smaller in size and icon labels may be more difficult to read at the smaller icon size. With higher resolutions the display is "sharper" but the cost may not be worth having more pixels to process, perceivably slower screen refresh rates and more eye strain from looking at the smaller objects.

Computer Resolution 

Simply put, resolution is the number of elements, or individual pixels, that make up an image. The more elements that make up an image, the finer the detail the image can display.

Computers output set resolutions. While there are many variations and non-standard resolutions out there, for the most part they stick to the following formulas: 

Name Resolution Notes
VGA 640 X 480 Very uncommon
SVGA 800 X 600 common
XGA 1024 X 768 *Currently the most common
SXGA 1280 X 1024 or 1365 X 1024 More common on laptops
UXGA 1600 X 1200 Very uncommon

 *2005, These resolutions are expressed as the number of vertical lines of resolution multiplied by the number of horizontal lines of resolution. The vertical and horizontal lines are actually lines of individual dots, or pixels. Because all video and computer screens are wider than they are tall, the first number will always be larger than the second.


Changing Monitor Screen Resolutions

(On many computer systems you may need to turn off and reboot your system in order for the changed settings to take effect.)
Windows 9x/2000Pro/XP:  Right click with your mouse pointer positioned on a blank spot on your desktop. Select Properties from the pop-up menu. Left click on the Settings tab. You should now be able to see the Desktop area slider bar.    Moving the slider by holding down the left mouse button and dragging it to the left or to the right will change the resolutions. The current resolution numbers will appear under the slider. Click on Apply and click on OK .

Mac OS 8.0:  Choose Monitors & Sounds from the
Control Panels submenu under the Apple menu . If necessary, click the Monitor button in the Monitors & Sounds window that appears. Select a resolution from the list in the Resolution area. Close the Monitors & Sounds window.

Mac OS X Jaguar: From the Apple menu select System Preferences, then select Displays from the Hardware section. The two tabs are for Display and Color. The default refresh rate is 85 Hertz in a range from 60-120 Hertz. Be sure to check "Show modes recommeded by display". The nine resolution settings vary from 640 x 480 pixels up to 1280 x 1024 pixels.


Screen Resolution testing site

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Last updated: 28/07/2008.  

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