Pixel Size for a Background

by Amber Viescas
A background image for a computer should be as large as the computer's resolution.

A background image for a computer should be as large as the computer's resolution.

When designing a computer desktop background or Web page background, the user's resolution will always be a component of the final display. A computer can shrink a background to fit or stretch it to cover the whole screen, though this may introduce distortions in the image. Keeping a high-quality version of the original background allows you to downsize with a minimum loss of information.

Computer Resolution

A computer resolution is given in the number of horizontal pixels it can display by the number of vertical pixels it can display. A background must cover approximately that area, minus whatever toolbars appear on the screen. While modern computer monitors are capable of high-density pixel formations, the resolutions of the computer display itself may be lower depending on user preferences.

Low Resolutions

The lowest resolutions on modern computer monitors are around 640 x 480, or 800 x 600. These are favored by people who cannot use higher resolutions, as the higher the resolution, the smaller text and icons appear, and therefore people with poor vision can have trouble viewing the screen. 800 x 600 is the default resolution for Windows XP, though Windows Vista and 7 default to higher resolution screens. Computer backgrounds should match these pixel sizes.

Higher Resolutions

The maximum resolution for a particular computer depends on its graphics card and operating system, but it is not unusual for resolutions to reach 2048 by 1536 or even higher. Even so, these high resolutions are not common. 1024 x 768 is considered the "default" on Windows 7 and Vista, so anyone designing a background should have a version with this pixel size.

Creating a Background

To create a background that people will use, design the background in a high resolution and save the image as a backup copy before generating images of lower resolution. This will ensure that your lower resolution generations are as close to the original as possible. In addition, keep your viewer's layout in mind: as icons in Windows operating systems line up on the left side of the screen, that side should be less cluttered than the other areas of the background, so it is not difficult to see all of the icons.

About the Author

Amber Viescas is a 23-year-old freelancer who has been writing since 2009, penning articles for sites such as Nu Home Source. She has a Bachelor of Arts in computer science from Swarthmore College and has co-published a paper in the "Journal of Parallel and Distributed Computing."

Photo Credits

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