All, or practically all, have a FullHD monitor for day to day. Or if we are gamers, we may have up to a 2K or 4K screen that gives us better quality. Operating systems usually automatically adjust the screen resolution to the highest possible to offer us the best quality. However, this is not always the best.
When we configure our monitor in the maximum resolution we will be able to enjoy the maximum image quality in all the elements of the system. However, the higher the quality, the smaller the size of many items. And this implies that if we have a vision problem it is difficult for us to read or find certain elements.
If we lower the resolution, we will lower the quality of the image and make some icons appear with jagged edges. However, we will be making all the elements larger, and therefore, making it easier and more comfortable to work with the computer.
The maximum and minimum resolution that we can configure depends on both our monitor and our graphics card and the operating system that we use. Next we will explain how to change the screen resolution in Ubuntu.
Change screen resolution in Ubuntu
The first thing to keep in mind to be able to change the screen resolution in Ubuntu is that we must have the graphics card drivers installed. Otherwise, we will only be able to use the one assigned by default and we will not be able to adjust it.
There are two ways to change the screen resolution in Ubuntu. The first one is using the Configuration menu of the distro, and the second from terminal. The first of them can vary depending on the type of desktop we use (we are going to do it with GNOME 3, the default desktop of this distro), and the second of the methods is valid for any desktop, since it depends only on the terminal .
How to change the resolution from GNOME 3
To change the Ubuntu resolution, we must open the applications menu from the bottom left of the screen, and in the list of applications access “Settings”.
The Ubuntu Configuration panel will open. In it we must access the “Devices” section from the menu on the left.
Within this menu we can see another new section called “Monitors”. From here we can change the screen resolution.
We click on this section to display the list with all the possible resolutions that we can choose.
We select the one we want, and that’s it. Now we just have to click on the “Apply” button and the new Ubuntu resolution will be applied to the entire distro.
We can also change it from terminal
If we do not want to use the Settings menu, we do not use GNOME 3 or we directly want to resort to the universal method, by commands, to change the resolution of the monitor, we can also do it.
Ubuntu uses the Xorg application component . And it has a tool called Xrandr that can be used to dynamically change the output of a screen without manually modifying the xorg.conf configuration.
This tool is installed by default. And to use it, we will simply open a terminal and execute the following command (changing the resolution for the one we want to configure):
- xrandr –size 800 × 600
This way we can change the resolution much more quickly, and we do not depend on GNOME 3 for it. Of course, we must choose one that is registered, since otherwise the change will not be applied.
Why can’t I change Ubuntu’s resolution
Although it is rare, it can also happen that we cannot change the resolution of the screen of our Ubuntu. And finding the cause of this can be quite tricky.
One of the reasons why this usually happens is because you do not have the latest version of the drivers installed on your computer. It usually happens if, for example, we have a very new graphics card that does not yet have official support within the default drivers of the distro. In that case we would have to manually install the proprietary NVIDIA or AMD drivers in our Linux to be able to change the screen resolution. This can also happen if we are using a virtual machine. Therefore, we must ensure that we always have the latest drivers. And also the latest Ubuntu and Kernel updates.
It can also happen that the HDMI cable of our monitor is damaged and begins to send false signals to the graphics that the distro is not able to identify. In that case, an unknown monitor warning will appear in the Configuration panel. This message can also appear if our screen is about to break and therefore does not work well.
It may even happen that we are already using the maximum resolution of our monitor. If our screen has a maximum resolution of 1080p and we try to put it at 4K, for example, we will not be able to do it. That is already a hardware failure and therefore Ubuntu is not to blame for it.
Too small icons? Reduce it
A very common annoyance when working with very high resolutions is that the icons, letters and other elements of the system appear very small . Oddly enough, it is not always best to work with the largest resolutions. Sometimes a smaller resolution will make us feel more comfortable while working with the PC.
This is noticeable, especially when we work with 2K and 4K screens . These resolutions, for games or movies, are fine. But for work and surfing the Internet, it is too big. If we do not want to go around configuring scales and zooms, it is probably better to use a lower resolution, for example, 1920 × 1080. Our eyes will thank you.