William M. Pegram
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Monitor Resolutions

Revised: April 10, 2000

Monitor resolution is either 640x480, 800X600, 1024 x 768, or 1280 x 1024 pixels.  This can be set by clicking on Start, Settings, Control Panel, Display, Settings.  Which setting you will want to use will depend on the size of your monitor and your personal preference regarding size of text.  For example, with a 14" monitor, anything but 640X480 produces text that is too small for most.  When I moved up to a 17" monitor, I started using 800X600, but others might set it at 1024x768.  You may also be constrained by the video card in your computer.

When displaying text simple HTML where there are no <P> or <BR> or other tags that result in a new line, browsers "word wrap" text in accord with the monitor resolution.  Thus, those will lower resolution will see fewer words per line than those with higher resolution monitors, but the lines of text will fill up the same percentage of the horizontal width of the monitor regardless of the monitor resolution.  No horizontal scrollbars appear in the browser, because no text is off the right side of the screen.

Images are displayed differently however.  The image has a certain size in pixels, and the monitor displays the image at full size.  Thus a 100x200 image occupies less of a 800x600 screen than it does of a 640x480 screen.  You can make images appear larger or smaller using the HEIGHT and WIDTH attributes but it is generally better to resize the image using graphics software and then have the browser display the image at full size.

Table width can be specified in percentage terms, or in absolute terms (pixels).  The advantage of specifying table width in percentage terms is that the screen width is efficiently used and horizontal scrollbars are avoided.   Specifying widths in absolute terms either leads to a fraction of the width being used in high resolution monitors or horizontal scrollbars appearing with low resolution monitors.  Specifying width in absolute terms may be more appropriate when images are used because the size of these is generally fixed.