Change Your Screen Resolution

If you’re having trouble seeing objects such as program icons and menus on your screen you may want to change the screen’s resolution.

Most computer screens are set up to use their highest resolution which gives you a lot of fine detail on the screen. A disadvantage of this, however, is that menu items and buttons can become very small. While it’s easy enough to zoom into a document such as a Word document so the text becomes larger – that zooming process has no effect on the size of buttons on the Ribbon or the menus commands. Screen resolution can be changed and if you make the resolution lower then all the icons and buttons will become correspondingly larger. One thing to be aware of when changing screen resolution is that it is important to note the resolution that the screen is set to before you made the change. Unfortunately Windows doesn’t store this information for you so you will need to have it written down so you can return to it if needed later on. In the steps that follow we’ll show where to find your current screen resolution so that you can make a note of it and then how to change it so you can see if a different resolution will help you see things more clearly.

Minimize or close any open programs by clicking the Close or Minimize icon in the top right corner of the program window. You need to be able to see at least a small portion of your Windows desktop before continuing. Right click the desktop and choose Screen Resolution from the menu.

The dialog shows you details of the screen on your computer. The Resolution box shows you the current resolution which will read something like 1920 x 1080 – write down these values as you will need to know these settings to get back to this resolution if desired later on.

From the Resolution dropdown list select a lower resolution – one further down the list. As you drag down the list you will see that the preview of your screen changes to show you how menus and dialogs will get bigger at lower resolutions. Select a resolution to try and click Apply.
The screen will change immediately and a small Display Settings dialog will appear.

You will have 20 seconds to click the Keep Changes button to keep this new resolution. If you do not click Keep Changes then the screen will automatically revert to its original resolution. So, to keep the new resolution, click Keep Changes. If you like the new resolution, click Ok to exit the dialog. When you lower the screen resolution buttons and icons will look larger on the screen. In programs like Word, for example, you may find that because the icons are larger you won’t see as many of them on the screen and they may be grouped together so you will need to click the group icon to reveal the icons in that group. So the program might look a little different to what you are used to seeing when the resolution was higher.