How to Get My Widescreen Monitor to Expand the Page Size

by C. Taylor

Widescreen monitors usefully display a wider area, which allows viewing of multiple windows or allows a larger work area within a single program. However, if you use the standard settings with a widescreen monitor, you might notice the display is stretched out laterally or has unused areas on the screen, such as black "bars" along the sides. Using proper display settings will help you fully enjoy your new monitor.

Consult your monitor's manual for its native resolution and aspect ratio. The aspect ratio might be 16:9 or 16:10. Those numbers represent the ratio of width to height of the monitor's display area. The resolution is the number of pixels displayed horizontally and vertically. For example, 1600 x 1050 will display 1600 pixels from side-to-side and 1050 pixels top-to-bottom. Although you are not restricted to the monitor's native resolution, it will look best at that resolution, because the monitor was designed for that resolution.

Right-click on an empty area of the desktop and click "Screen resolution" to open Windows 7's display options.

Select the picture of your widescreen monitor at the top, assuming you have two monitors attached to your computer. If you have trouble telling which monitor is which, click "Identify," and Windows will display the numbers on the physical monitors. If you only have one monitor attached, skip this step, since Windows will have it selected by default.

Click the drop-down menu by "Resolution" and select your preferred resolution, preferably the native resolution. If you choose your own resolution, select one using the same aspect ratio. For a 16:9 aspect ratio, that would be 1600x900, 1360x765 or1280x720. You can match the aspect ratio by dividing the aspect ratio number, such as 16/9 equaling 1.777, and then dividing the resolution numbers, such as 1360/765 also equaling 1.777. As long as they match, the aspect ratio is the same.

Click "Apply" and then "Keep changes" in the confirmation dialog box. Any problems associated with improperly selected resolution should now be fixed.

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