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Reduce eye strain by changing monitor settings

Author: Scott Colvey
Date: Thu, 07 Jan 2010 09:30:00 GMT
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Advanced monitor controls Monitors used to have at least a dozen screen-tweaking controls, accessible either by buttons and knobs on the bezel or, more recently, via on-screen displays (OSDs). Owners could fiddle with options to correct wonky pictures (pincushion distortion), remove odd swirly patterns (moiré) or restore the image balance after magnetic interference (degaussing).

But with the advent of flat-screen monitors and the digital video interface (DVI) connection, many of these controls became redundant, as the associated problems only afflict bulky, older monitors reliant on cathode-ray tubes (CRTs). Now almost all display tweaks are performed (usually automatically) on the PC. Even so, your monitor may still have a few advanced controls to experiment with.

Each display is different but most have a button labelled ‘Menu’ or similar, along with ‘+’ and ‘-’ buttons to move through options in the OSD and change values. Look in the OSD for a colour ‘temperature’ control, for instance. This is essentially a way of adjusting the display’s colour balance to better suit particular environments or applications.

In publishing environments, for example, a particular temperature setting may be used to more accurately reflect the colour of printed materials. At home, though, you might just want to use a particular temperature setting simply because you find it easier on the eye. So, if your monitor has the option, try a few of the preset temperature settings to see which you like.

Back to the computer As noted, though, now there are as many ways to fine-tune the display’s picture from within Windows as there are from any controls built into the display. Now, the precise list of options will depend on both your monitor and the graphics card that drives it (and we will cover a few possibilities toward the end) but there are a number of universal controls.

Perhaps the most important of these is resolution. The modern flat-screen displays that most of us now use employ a fixed matrix of pixels (tiny square dots) to make up the image. This is known as the monitor’s ‘native resolution’.

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