Get the best display on your monitor

Windows chooses the best display settings for your PC based on your monitor. If you want to adjust your display settings, or if they were changed and you want to restore default settings, here are a few things you can try.

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Set your monitor to its native resolution

It's a good idea to set your monitor to the resolution it was designed to display (called the native resolution). To see your monitor's native resolution, check the display settings in PC settings.

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)

  2. Tap or click PC and devices, then tap or click Display.

  3. Tap or click the resolution slider and drag it until you find the resolution marked (Recommended). This is your monitor's native resolution—usually the highest resolution your monitor can support.

  4. Tap or click Apply.

Resolution options in PC settings
The slider in PC settings shows the recommended resolution for your monitor.

Monitors can support resolutions that are lower than their native resolutions, but text won't look as sharp and the display might be small, centered on the screen, edged with black, or stretched.

Recommended screen resolutions

Monitor size Recommended resolution (in pixels)
Monitor size

19-inch standard ratio monitor

Recommended resolution (in pixels)

1280 × 1024

Monitor size

20-inch standard ratio monitor

Recommended resolution (in pixels)

1600 × 1200

Monitor size

20- and 22-inch widescreen monitors

Recommended resolution (in pixels)

1680 × 1050

Monitor size

24-inch widescreen monitor

Recommended resolution (in pixels)

1920 × 1200

Laptop screen size Recommended resolution (in pixels)
Laptop screen size

13- to 15-inch standard ratio laptop screen

Recommended resolution (in pixels)

1400 × 1050

Laptop screen size

13- to 15-inch widescreen laptop screen

Recommended resolution (in pixels)

1280 × 800

Laptop screen size

17-inch widescreen laptop screen

Recommended resolution (in pixels)

1680 × 1050

Laptop screen size

Tablet screen

Recommended resolution (in pixels)

1360 × 768

Set brightness and contrast

You can set the brightness and contrast for most monitors using buttons or other controls on the monitor. If you aren't sure how to adjust the brightness and contrast on your monitor, check the manual or the manufacturer's website. You can also check to see if your PC has an automatic brightness setting. And if you have a laptop, you can adjust the brightness in Windows.

To adjust brightness automatically

Some PCs adjust screen brightness automatically based on how much light there is in the room where you're using the PC. To see if your PC has this setting, follow these steps.

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)

  2. Tap or click PC and devices, then tap or click Display.

  3. Make sure the Adjust my screen brightness automatically slider is turned on.

    (If you don't want the screen brightness to change automatically, tap or click the Adjust my screen brightness automatically slider to turn it off.)

  4. Tap or click Apply.

Note

  • This setting might not be available on some PCs.

To adjust brightness for a laptop screen

For most laptop screens, you can adjust brightness in Power Options in Windows.

  1. Open Power Options by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or if you're using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Search), entering Power options in the search box, and tapping or clicking Power options.

  2. Under the plan that you want to change, tap or click Change plan settings.

  3. On the Change settings for the plan page, choose the brightness settings that you want to use when your PC is running on battery (if applicable) and when it's plugged in.

Note

  • On a laptop, you can also try adjusting the brightness by holding down the Fn key, and then pressing the corresponding function key to increase (The Increase brightness button) or decrease (The Decrease brightness button) the brightness of the display.

Adjust settings for multiple monitors

If you're using more than one monitor, you can identify the monitors that are plugged in, detect another monitor, change the screen orientation, choose what's displayed on each monitor, and choose which one is the main display.

Identify your monitors

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)

  2. Tap or click PC and devices, then tap or click Display.

  3. Tap or click Identify.

Detect another monitor

If another monitor is plugged into your PC but Windows didn't detect it automatically, you can detect it manually in PC settings.

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)

  2. Tap or click PC and devices, then tap or click Display.

  3. Tap or click Detect.

Change the screen orientation

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)

  2. Tap or click PC and devices, then tap or click Display.

  3. In the Orientation list, choose the screen orientation you want to use.

Choose what's displayed on each monitor

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)

  2. Tap or click PC and devices, then tap or click Display.

  3. In the Multiple monitors list, choose one of the following:

    • Extend. You'll see one continuous display that stretches across all of your monitors.

    • Duplicate. You'll see the same display on each of your monitors.

    • Show only on 1. You'll only see the display on your first monitor.

    • Show only on 2. You'll only see the display on your second monitor.

Choose the main display

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)

  2. Tap or click PC and devices, then tap or click Display.

  3. In the preview image, tap or click the monitor you want to use as your main display to select it.

  4. Select the Make this my main display check box.

Tips

  • You can use the four corners of any monitor to open the Start screen, charms, and your recent apps.

  • You can have the Start screen and apps from the Windows Store on only one monitor at a time. When you open the Start screen, charms, or your recent apps on a different monitor, apps from the Windows Store also move to that monitor.

Make text and other items on the desktop larger

If text and other items (like icons) on the desktop are too small, you can make them larger without changing the screen resolution.

  1. Open Screen Resolution by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or if you're using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Search), entering Make text larger in the search box, and then tapping or clicking Make text and other items larger or smaller.

  2. Drag the slider until the items in the preview image are the size you want them to be.

  3. Tap or click Apply.

    You'll see the change the next time you sign in to Windows.

Note

  • This might not be available for some displays.

You can also change the text size for specific items in Windows, like window title bars or tooltips, without changing the size of anything else on the desktop.

  1. Open Screen Resolution by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or if you're using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Search), entering Make text larger in the search box, and then tapping or clicking Make text and other items larger or smaller.

  2. Under Change only the text size, choose the item you'd like to change and pick a text size. If you want the text to be bold, select the Bold check box.

  3. Tap or click Apply.

    You'll see the change the next time you sign in to Windows.

Help make text easier to read

The ClearType technology in Windows helps make the text on your screen as clear and smooth as possible and can help make text easier to read over long periods of time. If the text on your screen looks fuzzy, make sure ClearType is turned on.

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, and then click Search.)

  2. In the search box, enter ClearType, then tap or click Adjust ClearType text.

  3. Make sure the Turn on ClearType check box is selected, and then tap or click Next. On each page, tap or click the text sample that looks best to you.

  4. On the last page of the tuner, tap or click Finish to save your settings. Administrator permission required You might be asked for an admin password or to confirm your choice.

Calibrate your display

Display Color Calibration helps you improve your display color and make sure that colors are represented accurately on your screen.

To use Display Color Calibration

  1. Open Display Color Calibration by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or if you're using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Search), entering Calibrate display in the search box, and then tapping or clicking Calibrate display color. Administrator permission required You might be asked for an admin password or to confirm your choice.

  2. On the Welcome to Display Color Calibration page, tap or click Next to continue.

  3. On the Set basic color settings page, press the Menu button on your monitor (it's likely to be on the front). An on-screen menu will appear. Use the monitor buttons to navigate through the on-screen menu to verify (or adjust) one or more of the following settings:

    • Locate the color menu for choosing the color mode, and then set your display to sRGB.

    • If you see the option to select a color temperature (also called a white point) rather than a color mode, set the color temperature to D65 (or 6500).

    • Find the menu to set gamma. Set gamma to 2.2, which is the default setting.

    • If you can’t find any of these settings, look for a setting in the on-screen menu where you can reset your display to the factory default color settings, and then choose that option.

    If the basic color settings aren't shown in your monitor's on-screen menu, just tap or click Next to continue.

    Note

    • The menu and monitor buttons vary by model and manufacturer. To get help using the buttons for your monitor, check the manual or the manufacturer's website.

  4. On each page in Display Color Calibration, follow the on–screen instructions and tap or click Next when you're done. The following list has more info about each of the settings.

    • Gamma. This helps make sure that details like shades of color and shadows look right on your screen.

    • Brightness. This determines how dark colors and shadows appear on your screen. You can adjust brightness so that dark colors appear accurately, and so that you can still see shadows, outlines, and other details in the darker images. If brightness is set too high, black colors appear light and gray. To adjust brightness settings, look for either a Brightness button or a Menu button on your monitor. If you're using a laptop, try adjusting the brightness by holding down the Fn key, and then pressing the corresponding function key to increase (The Increase brightness button) or decrease (The Decrease brightness button) the brightness of the display.
    • Contrast. This determines how white and light colors appear on your screen. You can adjust contrast so that highlights in images appear accurately. To change contrast settings, look for either a Contrast button or a Menu button on your monitor. (Laptops usually don't have contrast controls.)

    • Color balance. This improves how shades of gray appear on your screen.

  5. On the You've successfully created a new calibration page, tap or click Previous calibration to see your old display calibration. Then tap or click Current calibration to see your new display calibration.

  6. Do one of the following, depending on which calibration you want to use:

    • To use the new calibration, tap or click Finish.

    • To use the previous calibration, tap or click Cancel.

  7. Select whether to use the ClearType Text Tuner to help make sure that text appears clearly with your new calibration.

Note

  • If you have a display calibration device and software, it's a good idea to use them instead of Display Color Calibration because they'll give you better calibration results.

Choose the best display settings for a CRT monitor

If you have an older cathode ray tube (CRT) monitor, it's important to change the screen resolution to the highest resolution available that provides 32-bit color and at least a 72-Hertz refresh rate to prevent the screen from flickering.

Recommended resolutions for CRT monitors

Monitor size Recommended resolution (in pixels)
Monitor size

15-inch CRT monitor

Recommended resolution (in pixels)

1024 × 768

Monitor size

17- to 19-inch CRT monitor

Recommended resolution (in pixels)

1280 × 1024

Monitor size

20-inch and larger CRT monitor

Recommended resolution (in pixels)

1600 × 1200

Note

  • CRT monitors generally don't come in widescreen sizes. Almost all have standard 4:3 screen and resolution ratios.