This is the center of operations for all your monitor settings. Here you set your monitor’s resolution, calibrate color balance and brightness, and turn AirPlay on and off—a cool feature that duplicates whatever’s on your Mac screen on a TV set. Wirelessly.


You can open up this panel with a quick keystroke from any program on the Mac. Just press Option as you tap one of the screen-brightness keys on the top row of your keyboard.

The specific controls 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:

  • Resolution. 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).

    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 showing a smaller slice of the page. Use this setting when playing a small Web movie, for example, so that it fills more of the screen. (Lower resolutions usually look blurry on flat-panel screens, though; see the box below.) At higher resolutions, such as 1280 x 800, the screen dots get smaller, making your windows and icons smaller, but showing more overall area. You could use this kind of setting when working on two-page spreads ...

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