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How to Customize and Enhance Your Windows 10 Display

Your Windows 10 display doesn’t look quite right. Maybe the text is too small or too large. The resolution may not be to your liking. Maybe the color seems off. Don’t despair; you can customize your display in Windows 10 to make it look just right by resizing the text, changing the resolution, calibrating the color, and doing much more.

First, open Settings > System > Display. The list and layout of commands at this screen will differ slightly based on the version of Windows 10 and your computer itself. For these steps, I’m running the latest update to Windows 10 as of early March 2021 on a desktop and laptop.

Brightness and Color Settings

The first section on this screen will say either Brightness and color or just Color, depending on your computer. If you see a section for Brightness and color, you can adjust the slider bar to make the screen dimmer or brighter.

brightness settings

Next on the Display screen is Night Light, which allows you to modify the color temperature of your monitor to reduce blue light, a factor that can affect your quality of sleep. Click the Night light settings link to enable this feature or schedule when it should turn on and off.

night light

Next up is Windows HD Color. This setting can deliver more vibrant colors for high-definition videos, games, and apps that support HDR (High Dynamic Range). Click the link for Windows HD Color settings. At the next screen, make sure the display is set to your primary source if you have more than one.

color settings

The Display capabilities section tells you which HDR capabilities are supported by your computer and monitor—Stream HDR video, Use HDR, and Use WCG apps. If all three are labeled as No, then there’s nothing you can do at this screen. If Stream HDR video is labeled as Yes, then your display is capable of streaming HDR video. Turn on the switch below for Stream HDR video. 

Display capabilities section

You will then need to calibrate the display for HDR video. Click the Change calibration settings link, then hover your mouse over the thumbnail video and click the double arrow to view it full screen. Adjust the slider to find the right balance between details in the buildings on the left and details in the mountain on the right. When done, click the double arrow to exit full-screen mode. 


If you’re using a laptop, you can return to the Windows HD Color settings screen and adjust battery options, since HDR is a battery hog. Under the Battery options section, you can optimize the display for battery life or image quality. Check the box next to Don’t allow streaming HDR video on battery to shut the setting off when you unplug the laptop.

battery options

Color Management Settings

You can fine-tune your colors even further in the Control Panel. Open Control Panel in icon view (Click View by on the top right and select Large icons or Small icons). Click Color Management and select the Advanced tab. Select the Calibrate display button and follow the instructions in the Color Calibration tool. You will be asked to adjust the gamma, brightness, contrast, and color balance of the screen.

advanced display settings

When you’re finished, Windows takes you to the ClearType Tuner. Make sure ClearType is turned on and then view the five thumbnail screens of text to decide which one looks best on each page. When you’ve gone through all the TrueType screens, click the Finish button.


Scale and Resolution Settings

You can control the size and resolution of your screen from the Display settings menu under the Scale and layout header. By default, Windows sets these items based on recommended values, but if you find the on-screen text is too small or the resolution isn’t right, you can change them. Text hard to read? Open the drop-down menu under Change the size of text, apps, and other items to make the screen larger by intervals of 25%.

scale settings

You can also tweak the scaling more precisely by clicking Advanced scaling settings, and adding a custom number between 100 and 500. You will need to sign out of Windows for this to take effect. If apps appear blurry when you change display settings beyond their recommended values, turn on the switch for Let Windows try to fix apps so they’re not blurry.

advanced scaling

Every PC display is optimized for a certain resolution based on its size and other factors, but you can still change it by using the Display resolution drop-down menu in Display settings. Change to different resolutions to test how they look; click the Revert button to go back.

Display resolution drop-down menu

The orientation of your screen should automatically be set based on whether you’re using a computer or tablet. However, if the orientation is not correct, or you wish to change it for some reason, click the drop-down menu for Display orientation and switch it to Portrait or Landscape.

Display orientation

Multiple Monitor Settings

If you’re using multiple displays, such as a built-in monitor and an external monitor, you can rearrange the displays and determine how the cursor transitions between the two screens. Click and drag the boxes at the top of the Display settings page until they are oriented how you want them. Click Apply to save your changes. 

multiple displays

If you don’t know which box corresponds to which display, click Identify and a number will appear on each screen. If you’re trying to add a new display to the mix and Windows doesn’t automatically detect it, click Detect to have the system perform a quick search.

There are also additional settings under the Multiple displays section, where you can choose what the second display shows. Open the drop-down menu to have your monitor duplicate the display, extend the display, or only use one display. Click Connect to a wireless display if you’re trying to use a wireless display device. Click Detect to connect to it automatically.

dual display settings

Click Advanced display settings to view and change the refresh rate and other settings for a display. At the next screen, click Display adapter properties to view the properties for your graphics adapter, view and switch to a different resolution and refresh rate, change the refresh rate, and manage the color settings.

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