Displays is the center of operations for all your monitor settings. Here, you set your monitor’s resolution, determine how many colors are displayed onscreen, and calibrate color balance and brightness.


On a laptop, you can open up this panel with a quick keystroke from anywhere on the Mac. Just press Option as you tap one of the screen-brightness keys (F1 or F2) on the top row of your keyboard.

The specific controls you’ll see here depend on the kind of monitor you’re using, but here are the ones you’ll most likely see:

Display Tab

This tab is the main headquarters for your screen controls. It governs these settings:

  • Resolutions. All Mac screens today can make the screen picture larger or smaller, thus accommodating different kinds of work. You perform this magnification or reduction by switching among different resolutions (measurements of the number of dots that compose the screen). The Resolutions list displays the various resolution settings your monitor can accommodate: 800 x 600, 1024 x 768, and so on (Figure 8-7).

    When you use a low-resolution setting, such as 800 x 600, the dots of your screen image get larger, thus enlarging (zooming in on) the picture, but revealing a smaller slice of the page. Use this setting when playing a small QuickTime movie, for example, so that it fills more of the screen. At higher resolutions (such as 1024 x 768), the screen dots get smaller, making your windows and icons smaller, but showing more overall area. Use this kind of setting ...

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