So, you want to change your Chromebook’s resolution.
Maybe you want to turn it down a notch because it’s messing up your videos and photos.
Or maybe you want to turn it up to experience full HD glory.
Whatever the case, changing it on a Chromebooks is easy, but the menu to do so is kind of secret and hidden.
Well, it’s not that hidden, but it may be hard to find if you’re new to Chromebooks, or laptops in general.
I wrote this guide to help you find this “secret menu” so you can get to the display settings with ease.
Last updated: 3/6/23. Updated for accuracy.
Changing the resolution
This tutorial will teach you how to easily change your resolution with just a few hotkeys.
Why would you wanna change it? Because with Chrome OS being able to emulate apps from the Play Store, sometimes it can mess up the aspect ration.
You may get blurry images or text because of pixel stretching. Or you may be rendering at a higher resolution unnecessarily because your screen maxes out at only 720P or 1080P. This can make your machine run slower because it’s trying to push pixels higher than your screen can display. You’re not going to get 4K on a 720P display.
For those that want to play with Linux, changing the pixel resolution can also come in handy. Working with images, videos, or just using it as an entertainment center is all fair game.
I also wrote a little section at the bottom to help you decide which one to choose, how to choose, and how to read a screen’s resolution by the pixel count you always see on laptops, TVs, and smartphones.
If you’re not familiar with this stuff in general, I suggest you read the section (it’s at the bottom of the post) after you’ve adjusted it to your liking.
Let’s get going. Here’s what you came for.
Here’s how to adjust your Chromebook’s resolution:
Step 1: Open the information window.
Click the information widget on the bottom right corner of the screen.
This is the section with your profile picture.
This is the section of the screen with the sound, WiFi, power, and other displays- not the update box (the one with the arrow).
This should be simple and straightforward. All Chromebooks run the same operating system (Chrome OS), so it doesn’t matter what model or make of Chromebook you have- the window is always in the same spot.
Step 2: Click on “Settings.”
This is the on the same row where it tells you the battery status of your Chromebook. It’s the little gear icon or cog wheel. Clicking on this launches the Chrome Settings page.
You can also launch it directly from the Chrome Browser by typing to “chrome://settings” in the address bar.
Step 3: Search for “Display.”
You’ll be brought to a window with your Chromebook’s internal settings, such as Internet connection and Appearance.
In the top right, there’s a search box. Simply type in “display” to get to the options faster.
Step 4: Click on “Display settings.”
You’ll be brought to the search results and see a section labeled “Device.”
You can change your Chromebook’s touchpad speed, touchpad settings, keyboard settings, and display settings- which is how you change it. Click on this button.
Step 5: Change the resolution
Click on the field labeled “resolution” and a drop-down menu will appear.
You can choose and adjust it from this menu, and you also have the options to change the orientation and TV alignment.
Orientation is used for portrait or landscape display. TV alignment is used if you’re connecting to a TV or other external monitor.
I’d suggest leaving the resolution on the “default” or native setting, as this gives you the maximum screen resolution that your device can handle.
You’ll get the best picture quality with minimal blur. If your Chromebook is still blurry even at the native setting, consider getting a model with a higher resolution.
Step 6: Choose what works for you
If you’re not sure what to choose, your Chromebook will give you a few remarks in commas, such as “best.”
Generally, larger numbers mean a sharper image.
When you hear about full HD, this is what’s meant by it.
The first number is the number of pixels going across (horizontally) your screen, and the second number is the number of pixels going up (vertically) your screen.
The “native” resolution is what your Chromebook’s display is manufactured for by default.
However, the default isn’t always the best, nor is it always ideal.
You need to play around with it to get it to do what you’re looking for.
- If you plan to watch a lot of HD videos or view detailed photos, choose a higher resolution.
- If you plan to type, write, or code, choose a lower resolution.
It depends on your intended use of your Chromebook.
Turning the resolution higher results in a “smaller” experience, with smaller text, UI, layout, menu, buttons, icons, etc. But the picture is generally clearer and crisper.
Turning the resolution lower results in a “bigger” experience, with bigger icons, buttons, and text size. But the cost is that it’s blurrier and not as clear.
See below for an explanation about resolutions.
Step 7: Finalize it
Choose it and click “done.”
Your screen will most likely flicker for a bit and then you’ll either see larger everything or smaller everything, depending on which you chose.
- If you want a bigger picture, choose a lower setting.
- If you want a smaller picture, choose a higher setting.
And by picture, I mean the whole display- text, pictures, videos, etc. Not just images. Picture = display.
If you’re not sure which to choose or what these numbers mean, see the next section.
How do I choose the right setting for my Chromebook?
The best way to do this would be with an example.
So, for example, let’s say you have an 800 x 600 screen on your Chromebook.
Although most Chromebook models have some settings way higher than this, or are at least capable of, this is a standard setting that’s common (or at least used to be).
So, this means that you have 800 pixels going horizontally across your screen and 600 pixels going vertically up your screen. That’s what these numbers mean.
1280 x 800? 1024 x 768? 1920 x 1200? 1366 x 768? 1600 x 900? 800 x 600? What do these numbers mean?
The higher the numbers, the more pixels there are.
The more pixels there are, the sharper the image. When a Chromebook says it has “full HD,” this means that there at least 720 pixels vertically.
So that means the second number is at least 720. Of course, HD can go much higher than 720 pixels, but that’s generally the lowest vertical setting to be considered high-definition. This is generally speaking, of course.
In actuality, it really gets a lot more complicated than you’d imagine:
Did you find the perfect resolution?
So there you have it, it should now be fine-tuned to just how you want it.
And you should now know how to adjust the resolution of your Chromebook for picture perfect cat videos.