Fake a Higher Resolution in Linux

I have a netbook with a display resolution that is just too small. It's native resolution is 1024×600. Some applications are taller than 600 pixels and so the bottom of those apps, where important buttons typically are, fall off the bottom of the screen.

There are a few solutions to the problem, including learning keystrokes that let you move the window around or allowing the screen to scroll, but I wanted a “zoomed out” type solution. Something similar to the way VNC will scale a screen for you. XRANDR offers a solution.

Use the following command to fake a resolution that is 1.5 times what your monitor actually supports (in this case 1024×600 becomes 1536×900). There will be some minor artifacts but the resolution is worth it. If you use a ratio of 2:1 (exactly doubling the resolution) then scaling works better and there are less artifacts, but things get a bit small for me. Here's the command.

xrandr --output LVDS1 --mode 1024x600 --scale 1.50x1.50 --panning 1536x900

LVDS1 is the name of the primary monitor. On most systems the command will work as-is. You can check the connected monitor names, however, by running xrandr by itself.

My netbook is running Ubuntu 12.10 and this worked out of the box with a default install.

If fonts end up too small, you can install Tweak Tool and then set the fonts to a larger size, such as scaling them back to 1.5x. This makes it a bit easier to see things in toolbars, menu's and such.

This might be useful to increase your screen real estate on a low resolution projector as well.


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linux/fake_a_higher_resolution_in_linux.txt · Last modified: 2013/01/04 15:05 by Joel Dare