As the Chromebook market has evolved, the number of new screen sizes, resolutions, and aspect ratios has only increased. At this point, there are Chrome OS devices anywhere from 10-inches up to 15.6-inches, 720p to 4K, and everything in between. And that’s to say nothing of extended displays and Chromeboxes outputting to a vast variety of external monitors.
With all these variations in place at this point, Chrome OS requires the ability to actively scale the entire interface to work on different displays. Native 1080p looks pretty nice spread across 15.6 diagonal inches, but the same pixels squished into a 13.3-inch screen like the Pixelbook Go makes things quite small on screen.
The remedy to this predicament is display scaling, and Chrome OS has done this well for a few years now. Digging into your settings, you can find your internal display and its current scale percentage, adjusting if need be. Every Chromebook has a 100% mark set for it out of the factory, and it is different for each device. The Pixelbook Go, for instance, is set to a ‘resolution’ of 1536×864. The resolution slider then moves up and down by percentage based on this as the center point. (It’s important to note this isn’t actually changing the screen resolution, only making things on screen look as if the resolution was changing.)
Moving down to 80% gets you to 1920×1080 resolution which is the native resolution of the panel itself. I prefer something around 90% which looks like 1707×960. It gives me a tad more screen real estate while not making reading a strain on my eyes. Your mileage will vary, and that is why there’s a quick and simple way to move up and down this scale to dial in the resolution that works for you. No matter the one you choose, because of resolution scaling, things on screen will stay nice and crisp.
The way to quickly move between all these resolutions is simple and effectively something I use on a daily basis. All you have to do is press CTRL + SHIFT + =/- and you’ll see your screen adjust right in front of your eyes. While there’s no indication of what percent you are at when you do this in either direction, I’d advise just adjusting things until you feel comfortable with them. While 90% works for me, I only got to that point by adjusting it to my comfort level.
Depending on the task and the day, I move through multiple resolutions, so this trick is a real time saver. From time to time, I dig down in the settings (device > displays > display size) to see where I am on the scale, but not very often. If you ever want to just get back to the factor 100%, you can check that out, but there’s really no need. We hope this tip helps you out and makes your Chromebook experience just a bit better. Be sure to keep an eye out for next week’s tip!