Display Resolution Concern


Today’s Question: My current laptop is an HP 15.6 inch with a Full HD resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels) display. As it is now, I have trouble reading the text and sliders in the sidebars in Lightroom Classic. Would you consider purchasing a laptop with even more resolution which, I believe, will make everything (text, etc.) even smaller?

Tim’s Quick Answer: I would certainly consider a laptop (or desktop display) with a higher resolution than 1920×1080, but you may want to set your display to a lower resolution when you’re working in Lightroom Classic due to the challenges of making out the text and some of the interface controls when working at a high resolution on a relatively small display.

More Detail: A high-resolution display can be helpful in a variety of scenarios. More pixels available in the display means more information can be presented at the same time. This enables you to have multiple windows arranged side-by-side, for example, or to provide adequate space for applications that have an interface with many panels and controls.

Because of these considerations, I very much appreciate a high-resolution monitor display.

Unfortunately, high resolution often means text is presented too small to really be legible. In some cases, such as with word processing software, you can zoom the document without adjusting the overall interface size, so you can read your text without compromising on the interface presentation.

The impact of a high resolution is impacted by the display size, of course. The smaller the display, the smaller the interface will appear at a high resolution. Therefore, a very high resolution on a laptop with a relatively small screen can make text especially difficult to read.

Lightroom Classic uses relatively small test in general, and unfortunately the option within Lightroom Classic for increasing font size is limited and not especially helpful. You can increase the text size by going to the Preferences dialog, which can be found on the Edit menu for Windows users and the Lightroom Classic menu for Macintosh users.

Within the Preferences dialog go to the Interface tab, and in the Panels section at the top you’ll find a Font Size popup. The default setting is “Small”, but you can change the setting to “Large”. Unfortunately, despite the reference to “Large” on the popup, the result will not be much larger than with the “Small” setting. However, you can change the display resolution for your computer when working in Lightroom Classic to have a more significant impact.

Changing the Font Size setting from Small to Large represented a change on my system from the equivalent of about an 11-point font size to a 12-point font size, which is not something I would even remotely consider to be a significant increase in font size.

On the other hand, changing the resolution for my display from an effective 1680×1050 pixels to 1440×900 pixels resulted in an improvement from the equivalent of about a 12-point font size to a 14-point font size, which certainly helped a bit more. The specific options in terms of resolution will depend upon your hardware configuration, but with high resolution displays you do have the option of operating at a lower than maximum resolution.

Hopefully in the future Adobe will provide larger text settings in Lightroom Classic. In the meantime, while I am very much a fan of high-resolution displays, you’ll likely want to work at a reduced resolution when using Lightroom Classic.