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Improve your vision: expand or improve your Windows computer's display quality

This page is part of a 7-part story, 7 things you can do to make Windows 7 (and other versions) easier to use.

Applies to: All with suitable hardware
Why? Because sometimes your current display is too small, cramped, or hard to read.
How? It depends on your system configuration, desired enhancements, and your budget.

  • Notebook Computer: Add a second monitor for an expanded Windows Desktop
  • On many notebook computers, there is a connector for an external display which will allow you to add an external LCD display. The external monitor can be used as part of an expanded Windows Desktop area, allowing you to see more of your documents while working.

  • Workstation or desktop computer: add a larger/higher resolution monitor (and/or higher-resolution video adapter), or a second video adapter and monitor
  • Adding a larger or higher-resolution monitor, and/or a higher-resolution video adapter can help you see more of your documents or work with multiple applications with less hassle.

    Adding a second monitor provides the same benefits described above for notebook computer users: an expanded desktop area and ability to work with side-by-side application windows.

  • Match display resolution to LCD monitor native resolution
  • If you have an LCD monitor, check the display's native resolution—this is the resolution at which the LCD display's pixels are mapped 1 to 1 with the computer's display signal. This ensures the best image quality. For example, if an LCD monitor has a native resolution of 1280x1024, but you have your computer set to display 800x600, the LCD display is usually fuzzy or a bit blurry as the LCD monitor 'scales' (resizes) the computer's display image to fit the LCD native display area. In this case, you should set your Windows display resolution to 1280x1024, in order to match the native display hardware in the LCD monitor, and set a larger font size if the text is too small (see below).

    You may need to update your display adapter or video driver if it cannot match your LCD monitor's native resolution.

  • Configure a Larger font size
  • If you have a large, high-resolution display, you might want to set a larger than standard font size. Typically, systems are configured for 96DPI font scaling, which can make for small text and tiny controls. You can set 120DPI (or "Large Font") or a custom scaling, which can create a more pleasant display, especially if you have impaired vision.

Helpful resources

Multiple Monitors

Match LCD native resolution

First, you'll need to know your LCD monitor's native resolution. This is usually included in the manufacturer's specifications; if you don't have those handy, you can usually find it pretty quickly by searching the internet for the monitor or notebook model number and the word 'specifications'.

Larger text: Set a larger font size or change display scaling (DPI)