Use SwitchResX to Change Mac Display to HD

Edited by Grimm, Rushell, Eng, Crystal and 2 others

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SwitchResX Preferences

You're watching VisiHow. In this series of tutorials we will show you how to control and manage the settings and options for the SwitchResX application on the Mac OS X Yosemite.

Steps

  1. 1
    To get started, we need to open the System Preferences panel to access the SwitchResX option, which can be done by placing our cursor near the bottom of the screen until the doc opens
    .
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  2. 2
    Then click on the "System Preferences" icon
    .
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  3. 3
    We can also click on the Apple icon at the top left-hand corner of the screen
    .
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  4. 4
    Then select "System Preferences" from the menu
    .
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  5. 5
    Either way will open the "System Preferences" window
    .
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  6. 6
    We will find "SwitchResX" on the fifth row at the bottom of the window
    .
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  7. 7
    Click on "SwitchResX" once to open it
    .
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  8. 8
    Using the menu on the left, we have the option to either learn "About SwitchResX", view and modify "General Settings", "Display Sets", "Applications", "Menus", "Desktop", and "Color LCD"
    .
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  9. 9
    On the main part of the window on the right side, we can also check for updates, "Install helper tools", "Uninstall helper tools", and "Launch Daemon"
    .
    Launching the Daemon will enable the options on the left side that are currently grayed out and disabled.
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  10. 10
    At the top, we can also "Register with Kagi" and purchase the application, and "Enter serial number"
    .
    However, we strongly discourage using the built-in interface to "Register with Kagi", as it does not work well. Instead, we have a separate tutorial on purchasing "SwitchResX", which can be found here on VisiHow. For now, we'll go over the other functions, and later we'll demonstrate how to enter a serial number after we've purchased.
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  11. 11
    To "Check online for update", click on "Check now" on the right, and it will automatically check for updates
    .
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  12. 12
    We are currently running the latest version though
    .
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  13. 13
    If we'd like to install the helper tools, we can click on "Install helper tools..." on the right
    .
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  14. 14
    A small window appears, informing us of "SwitchResX helper modules"
    .
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  15. 15
    We have "SwitchResX Contextual Menu", which works in "Finder"
    .
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  16. 16
    We also have "SwitchResX Extensions", which enhance "SwitchResX features"
    .
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  17. 17
    Let's check both of these and click on "OK"
    .
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  18. 18
    Then we'll need to enter an administrative password
    .
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  19. 19
    Once we've entered our administrative password, the helper tools will automatically be installed
    .
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  20. 20
    To uninstall them, we can click on "Uninstall all helper tools"
    .
    However, we don't need to do that.
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  21. 21
    Now, in order to enable the remainder of menu options, we're going to click on "Launch Daemon"
    .
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  22. 22
    Clicking on "Launch Daemon" will open a small window, depending on our security settings, and ask whether or not we are going to allow the application to run
    .
    We have the option to "Cancel", "Show Web Page", or the source page where the application is from, or "Open".
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  23. 23
    In this case, we can click "Open"
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  24. 24
    Now, we can see all menu options on the left side are available
    .
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  25. 25
    We'll also see a pop-up window at the bottom left of the screen
    .
    This indicates, "This copy of SwitchResX is not registered. You can try it and use it for 10 days. After that, if you find it useful, please consider registering." It also gives us the option to enter a serial number by clicking on a link if we have a serial number.
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  26. 26
    We're going to click on the white circle with a black "x" at the top left-hand corner of that small window to close it
    .
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  27. 27
    From here, you will be able to follow the rest of our tutorials on what to do for each of the menu options
    .
    This concludes this tutorial on the basic options for the "SwitchResX Preferences". Please make sure to check out the rest of our tutorials, and ask us any questions, or leave any comments you may have in the section below.
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Video: Use SwitchResX to Change Mac Display to HD SwitchResX Preferences

General Settings

You're watching VisiHow. In this tutorial, we are continuing our instructional series on using the SwitchResX application on your Mac, running OS X Yosemite, to switch to true HD or other screen resolutions. In this tutorial, we are going to go over the "General Settings", which is the second option on the left-hand side menu. To learn how to open or access the "SwitchResX Preferences" panel, please view the first part of this series of tutorials, which will show you how to use and open it.

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Steps

  1. 1
    For now, let's go over to "General Settings" on the left side of the "SwitchResX Preferences" window and click one time
    .
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  2. 2
    This option allows us to set shortcut keys to use for quitting the "SwitchResX Daemon"
    .
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  3. 3
    We also have the option "For opening SwitchResX Control" panel, again by using our own special shortcut keys
    .
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  4. 4
    To set a key, click in the box next to that option
    .
    In this case, we'll click on the box next to the option, "For quitting the SwitchResX Daemon".
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  5. 5
    Then we can press any key, for example, "Q"
    .
    Now, Q is the key that will be used to quit the "SwitchResX Daemon".
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  6. 6
    We can do the same thing by clicking on the box next to "For opening SwitchResX Control"
    .
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  7. 7
    However, if we change our mind and decide not to change the shortcut key, we can just click on the small window to cancel
    .
    Note that clicking outside of that small window will not work, and we must click inside the small window that reads, "Press the key shortcut for this action..."
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  8. 8
    The "Startup settings" option allows the Daemon to be launched automatically after logging in
    .
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  9. 9
    In addition, we can choose which resolutions are applied when the Daemon starts
    .
    We will discuss these custom resolutions in a later tutorial. Those will appear in this section.
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  10. 10
    There are some other "General Settings" options as well
    .
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  11. 11
    We can "Remember administrator password in Key chain"
    .
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  12. 12
    We can only allow SwitchResX to enable a screen that has been disabled or a screen size
    .
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  13. 13
    We can "Quit the Dock when reenabling a screen"
    .
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  14. 14
    We can "Try to keep mouse cursor on active screens"
    .
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  15. 15
    Finally, we can put monitors to sleep after disabling them
    .
    The last four options all deal with a secondary monitor. We will not be discussing how to use a secondary monitor in this tutorial; however, later we will demonstrate how to do that. Simply look into our tutorials on display sets, desktops and color LCDs.
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  16. 16
    This concludes this tutorial on setting up the "General Settings" for the SwitchResX preferences on a Mac running OS X Yosemite, so that you can change or enable screens and screen sizes and resolutions to get true HD
    .
    Thank you for choosing VisiHow. If you have questions or comments, please let us know in the section below.
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Video: Use SwitchResX to Change Mac Display to HD General Settings

Display Sets

You're watching VisiHow. In this tutorial, we are showing part of our series on how to use and manage the SwitchResX Preferences.

Steps

  1. 1
    In this tutorial, we are going to be discussing "Display Sets", which appear third on the list of options on the "SwitchResX Preferences" menu
    .
    Click "Display Sets" one time.
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  2. 2
    This will open the "Display Sets" area on the right
    .
    This option allows us to add, remove or edit different Display Sets or us to switch and move between. This is particularly helpful when using a laptop and connecting it between different offices or different areas where we may have a number of external displays that are not the standard 16:10, which most Macs are. Instead, they may run on the more common 16:9.
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  3. 3
    The first thing we want to use the "Display Sets" option is to click on the plus sign at the bottom of the window
    .
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  4. 4
    This will open a window where we can create a "New Display Set"
    .
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  5. 5
    We can title it, so let's call it "Display One"
    .
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  6. 6
    Then we can set a "Keyboard shortcut"
    .
    In this case, we're going to set it as "opt + 1".
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  7. 7
    We also have scripts that we can execute if we would like
    .
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  8. 8
    We are not going to use a script, but this is the screen where we could set that up if desired
    .
    Clicking on the blank line next to "Execute script" will bring up a series of scripts that may have been saved, which should be run or used.
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  9. 9
    For now, we will just click on "Cancel" at the bottom, since we're not setting up a script at this time
    .
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  10. 10
    Next, we have the option to "Show this Display set in the SwitchResX menus"
    .
    There is currently no SwitchResX menu set up at the top of the screen, nor under the "Menus" option on the SwitchResX Preferences menu. We get into "Menus" in more detail in another tutorial.
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  11. 11
    Next is the option, "Use this Display Set to remember desktop settings"
    .
    This will allow the system to remember our files, folders and other things that may be set up on the desktop.
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  12. 12
    We can choose what kind of display it is
    .
    This one is an LCD display, specifically "1280 x 720". It could also be an HDI display, which is larger and might not fall under the "Color LCD" option.
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  13. 13
    Also, depending on the "Resolution" chosen, we may have different display options, options set up for scanning, changing the orientation, and changing the color profile
    .
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  14. 14
    The "color profile" we have listed that we could select is the standard one for Mac
    .
    Personally, I prefer my own color profile that I have set up.
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  15. 15
    Once we're finished setting up the Display Set, click on "OK" at the bottom
    .
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  16. 16
    Now, we have "Display One" set up
    .
    This is a new Display Set, and our hotkey will automatically switch us to it.
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  17. 17
    We can duplicate the display by clicking on the duplicate button next to the plus sign at the bottom of the window
    .
    This is an icon of two rectangles. This will create "Display One - copy".
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  18. 18
    To remove one, we can simply click on the minus sign
    .
    This will remove the display. There is no confirmation for removing a display, so be careful when doing this.
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  19. 19
    Finally, we can click back on "Display One", and click the pencil icon
    .
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  20. 20
    This will allow us to edit the display
    .
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  21. 21
    If we change our mind on the editing, we can click "Cancel"
    .
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  22. 22
    To delete the Display Set entirely, we'll just click on the minus sign at the bottom
    .
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  23. 23
    This concludes our tutorial on creating, managing and editing Display Sets for the SwitchResX option, which allows us to change our Mac default screen from 16:10 to 16:9 or a number of other resolutions
    .
    If you have questions or comments, let us know in the section below.
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Video: Use SwitchRexX to Change Mac Display to HD Display Sets

Applications

You're watching VisiHow. In this tutorial, we are continuing our series on how to use the SwitchResX application to change, monitor, manage or otherwise modify the standard screen resolutions, allowing us to get 1280 x 720 p, or 1920 x 1080 p, or any other variation that's different than the 16:10 which comes standard on most Macs.

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Steps

  1. 1
    What we need in this tutorial is the "Applications" option on the "SwitchResX Preferences" menu
    .
    To get help finding "SwitchResX Preferences", please view the first part of this tutorial, where we demonstrate how to access it.
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  2. 2
    For now, we're going to click on "Applications", which is the fourth option on the left-hand side menu
    .
    It has the image of a letter "A" icon on two sheets of paper.
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  3. 3
    Clicking on "Applications" will open a largely empty area on the main part of the window
    .
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  4. 4
    We can check or uncheck the option to "Monitor Applications" at the top
    .
    This allows us to select a particular application that will launch in a different resolution or in a different setting. This is particularly useful if we have an application that is launched by default, which we plan on creating a YouTube video for. In this case, it should be 720 p. However, it shouldn't be the standard 1152 x 720 p, which Mac uses. This will cause black lines to appear on the sides of the screen. Therefore, in order to create a true 720 p, which is 1280 x 720, we need to set the application up.
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  5. 5
    In this example, we have "All applications" selected, which is the default
    .
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  6. 6
    We can select a "Display Set" by editing it, which is done by clicking on the black pen icon at the bottom
    .
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  7. 7
    This allows us to choose a "Display Set" when we have one set up from the previous area on "Display Sets"
    .
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  8. 8
    We can also create a new "Display Set" by clicking on "Create new Display Set"
    .
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  9. 9
    On the right side of the "All applications" window, we can adjust "Sound Level"
    .
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  10. 10
    Further down toward the middle of the window, under "Application settings" we can have our display settings automatically reset when the application is done
    .
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  11. 11
    We can also have thing set up to hide, including "the Dock" or "other applications"
    .
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  12. 12
    Also, "When this application requires a resolution change", we can choose to "Change the resolution", "Change the resolution but don't save desktop", "Don't let it change the resolution", or "Change only color settings" by selecting one of these options from the drop-down menu
    .
    This is important. For example, we may have a game setup that runs on one application, with one resolution, and we may have something else, such as a Microsoft Powerpoint presentation, that's set in another resolution. We may want to set them all up to automatically function.
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  13. 13
    Let's go ahead and click "Cancel" on this window, since we haven't made any real changes
    .
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  14. 14
    To add a new "Application", click the plus sign option at the bottom
    .
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  15. 15
    This will open the "Applications" folder
    .
    It may open another folder as well.
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  16. 16
    In our demonstration, we're going to scroll down and click on "Firefox", to set it to open a particular way
    .
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  17. 17
    Click on "Open" in the bottom right corner
    .
    This will open the "Firefox" window.The browser itself is not launched. We simply have the management window open. This will allow us to change the resolution to suit a particular setting when we open Firefox.
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  18. 18
    Click the box next to "Reset display settings when application ends"
    .
    Then the display will default back to where it was before when we exit Firefox.
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  19. 19
    When we're done, we can simply click "OK" at the bottom right
    .
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  20. 20
    Now, we have "Firefox" set up in our list
    .
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  21. 21
    To remove it, we can click on the minus sign at the bottom
    .
    Now, Firefox has been removed.
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  22. 22
    If we want to turn of things without removing it, we can uncheck the box next to "Monitor Applications"
    .
    When we uncheck this option, SwitchResX no longer looks for these applications running.
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  23. 23
    This concludes our tutorial on setting SwitchResX to automatically change screen resolution based on which applications you are opening or using
    .
    If you have questions or comments about this tutorial or any other part of it, please let us know in the section below. Otherwise, thanks for choosing VisiHow.
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Video: Use SwitchResX to Change Mac Display to HD Applications

Setting up Menus

You're watching VisiHow. In this tutorial, we are going to show you how to set up and manage the menus and menu items used in SwitchResX to change the screen resolution on your Mac running OS X Yosemite.

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Steps

  1. 1
    To get started, we need to have the "SwitchResX Preferences" open
    .
    To learn how to open this window, be sure to review our earlier tutorials on how to do that.
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  2. 2
    Then we need to click on the "Menus" option on the left-hand side one time
    .
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  3. 3
    Now, we are going to create a "Menu Extra" up on the upper right-hand side of the screen, near the icons for the battery and WiFi connection
    .
    This will allow us to have access to our menu up there.
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  4. 4
    This will be our contextual menu
    .
    It will pop down when we click it, as the icon shows on the right-hand side under "Contextual Menu".
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  5. 5
    Also on the right side, we have several different options we can set up
    .
    These include "Detect displays", "Desktop saving", "Resolutions", "Colors", "Color profiles", and a number of other options as well.
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  6. 6
    We are going to simply click on the check box on the left side next to "is active and contains"
    .
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  7. 7
    Once we do that, we'll note that a monitor icon automatically appears up on the upper right-hand side of our screen
    .
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  8. 8
    When we click on that icon, we will get a complete drop-down menu
    .
    This will will allow us to simply click on something and change the display automatically to the display that we would like. We have 16:10 displays listed, 16:9, and 4:3.
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  9. 9
    Near the bottom of the menu, we can use the "Rotation" option to rotate the screen
    .
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  10. 10
    We can also adjust the "Color Profile"
    .
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  11. 11
    Finally, we can easily access the "SwitchResX Preferences" menu from there as well
    .
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  12. 12
    Click back on the "SwitchResX Preferences" window
    .
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  13. 13
    Click on "About SwitchResX" on the top of the left side menu
    .
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  14. 14
    Now if we click on the "Quit Daemon" button at the bottom right, the Daemon will quit
    .
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  15. 15
    A message will pop up stating, "The Display configuration has been modified
    .
    SwitchResX has detected that the display configuration has changed. All unsaved preferences are this invalid and have been discarded." This is because we have not saved anything.
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  16. 16
    Click on "OK"
    .
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  17. 17
    Now, several menu options on the left have grayed out
    .
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  18. 18
    More importantly, on the upper right-hand side of the screen, our actual menu is gray
    .
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  19. 19
    To quickly correct this, we can "Launch SwitchResX"
    .
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  20. 20
    We can also open "SwitchResX Preferences" from that top menu
    .
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  21. 21
    From that window, we can once again click on the button at the bottom right to "Launch Daemon"
    .
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  22. 22
    If we are not registered, we might get a pop-up window, so just click on the "x" at the top left corner of that window to close it
    .
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  23. 23
    Now, our menu on the left side of the "SwitchResX Preferences window as well as the menu under the monitor icon at the top right side of the screen are both back and undisturbed
    .
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  24. 24
    Click on "Menus" in the "SwitchResX Preferences" window, and we'll see that our menus are all still functional
    .
    These can be changed or adjusted as much as we desire. Turning on and off certain options will enable or disable others. For example, plugging in another monitor will give us the option to choose "Main display" or "Video mirroring".
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  25. 25
    This concludes our tutorial on setting up menus for quick access and management of the SwitchResX Preferences and options with the additional toolbar menu
    .
    If you have questions or comments, please let us know in the section below, and we'll be happy to make sure they are answered for you.
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Video: Use SwitchResX to Change Mac Display to HD Setting up Menus

Desktop Management

You're watching VisiHow. In this tutorial, we are going to show you how to set up the Desktop options for SwitchResX, so you can quickly and easily control desktop settings and make sure you keep menus, icons, and other things you may have set up and personalized on your system more or less the same way between different screens. This tutorial is for Mac OS X Yosemite, but it also works on on a number of other Mac versions.

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Steps

  1. 1
    First, we need to open the "SwitchResX Preferences" window
    .
    This can be done a number of different ways, which we've discussed in our earlier tutorials. In our last tutorial we learned how to set up menus.
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  2. 2
    Therefore, if we have that contextual menu set up at the top of the screen, we can simply click on the monitor icon and scroll down to the bottom of the pop-up menu to click on "SwitchResX Preferences"
    .
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  3. 3
    Since we already have it open, we'll now go down to the sixth option on the left, which is "Desktop"
    .
    Once click on "Desktop" will bring up those options in the main part of the window.
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  4. 4
    At the top we can have "Resolutions" that are "saved per monitor"
    .
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  5. 5
    Alternatively, we can create "Display Sets", which will give us a layout of displays
    .
    We may have a display on the left and a new display on the right, which is considered a set of two displays and how they are laid out. We also may have more than two displays, depending upon the setup.
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  6. 6
    In the next section, we can create "Icons on the Finder desktop"
    .
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  7. 7
    We can also have "Windows" set up that will save the options and details
    .
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  8. 8
    If we have "assistive devices", it is important to note the message near the middle of the screen on the right side
    .
    They need to set up and "enabled in the System Preferences", or they will not work. The reason we mention this is that there are a number of people who use SwitchResX for Assistive Device Technology, particularly those who have visual impairments..
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  9. 9
    We can save all of our desktop options by simply clicking on the "Save desktop items now" button
    .
    This will automatically save them into the SwitchResX setting.
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  10. 10
    We can "Snap icons to a grid"
    .
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  11. 11
    That grid can be changed depending on our personal preferences
    .
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  12. 12
    We can "Keep icons positioned relatively to their parent Display (anchor)"
    .
    This is the original spot where our icons may have appeared.
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  13. 13
    For example, consider the "Great Thoughts" folder at the top right corner of the screen used in this demonstration
    .
    If that folder was actually in the center of the screen, then it would maintain more or less a central position.
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  14. 14
    Back to the Desktop options, we can "Restore previous items settings when SwitchResX Demon starts"
    .
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  15. 15
    We can set this up by first checking the box
    .
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  16. 16
    Then we can choose the amount of time, whether that's 5 seconds, 6 seconds, 4 seconds or whatever
    .
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  17. 17
    We will click again to uncheck this option for now
    .
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  18. 18
    We can "Restore saved settings" by clicking on that option
    .
    This sends us back to the way we were before.
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  19. 19
    This concludes our tutorial on managing and controlling the "Desktop" options for the SwitchResX application on the Mac running OS X Yosemite
    .
    If you need additional help with SwitchResX, be sure to check out the rest of our great tutorials on this application. Otherwise, thanks for using VisiHow. Let us know your comments and suggestions in the area below.
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Video: Use SwitchResX to Change Mac Display to HD Desktop Management

Color LCD

You're watching VisiHow. In this tutorial, we're continuing our series on using the SwitchResX application to control or manage the display settings on your Mac, running OS X Yosemite. In this part, we're going to focus on the color LCD panels, which is the main part of the application. This is the most important set of functions.

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Steps

  1. 1
    Make sure the SwitchResX Preference window is open
    .
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  2. 2
    Click on the bottom (7th) option, "Color LCD"
    .
    When we click on this, we will see that there are a number of settings and options here. Some of these may be confusing, and that's okay.
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  3. 3
    The first thing that we need to understand is that the top option, "Display Information", tells us what's happening now
    .
    It gives us any custom settings for our vertical and horizontal frequency ranges, should we choose to check or enable them. It allows us to set up pixel blocking. As a general rule, unless you're an expert in this, we do not recommend changing this. It also shows us our current default resolution. Ours is 1280x720.
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  4. 4
    To change the resolution manually, we need to check the box next to "Default Resolution"
    .
    Again, unless you're an expert, we do not recommend doing this. Part of the reason we don't recommend doing this is that if we set up a resolution or frequency range that is not supported by the product (which is the current Apple color LCD, "Vendor: App-610", "Product: A020", in this case. Your product number might be different on a different Mac), we'll get a black screen, and we'll need to go into the system settings holding down the option key, and it's not easy to fix it. If you're just trying to set this up to play a game or make a YouTube video, we're going to recommend that you don't modify these settings.
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  5. 5
    Other options include setting the brightness to minimum when the display is deactivated, fading the display, and using custom display names system-wide
    .
    We recommend skipping these unless you need to use them.
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  6. 6
    The next button is "Current Resolutions"
    .
    This shows the list of resolutions that we can set up to choose on a desktop. Note that we have "Desktop" checked for 1280x800 and we can also check any of the desktop boxes for any other resolutions.
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  7. 7
    We can click the eye at the bottom to bring up more options
    .
    It allows us to quickly change things. Our currently active display is 2560x1600. This is the Mac retina display. It has all of our different options listed here, and at the bottom we can see that we've scaled it to 1280x720.
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  8. 8
    Click on "OK" to accept any changes
    .
    Again, don't make changes there unless you know what you're doing or you could cause your system to come up with a black screen and not function.
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  9. 9
    Finally, we have "Custom Resolutions"
    .
    This is the list of resolutions that are scaled. Note: We do have the option to go to 3360x2100 if you want to have the smallest possible Mac screen and have really good eyes. Or, we can go all the way down to 640x480 if we have issues with vision and want to be able to see a really big screen.
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  10. 10
    We can also click on "Restore factory settings" if we ever need to restore the settings
    .
    We can also export the EDID. We don't recommend exporting unless you've purchased it. Refer to our tutorial on how to purchase SwitchResX on VisiHow if you're interested in that.
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  11. 11
    Note that these color LCD options will appear in the upper area as well by clicking on the display icon
    .
    These are the display options that will be set up through the color LCD panel should we choose to change them.
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  12. 12
    This concludes the tutorial on how to use the color LCD options and set them up
    .
    If you have any questions or comments about this or other parts of the tutorial, let us know in the section below and we'll be happy to help you. Thank you for choosing VisiHow. Have a great day.
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Video: Use SwitchResX to Change Mac Display to HD Color LCD

Questions and Answers

Status custom res in switchResX not activated?

How to activate the custom resolution (2560x1440 HDPI). I have tried: Installed and activated a higher custom resolution without problem and is activated. This one isn't.. I think it was caused by: Don't know.

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VisiHow QnA. This section is not written yet. Want to join in? Click EDIT to write this answer.

Just trying to up the resolution on a Mac PRO 2012?

I know it's capable of more than 1024 x 768. But it's not connected directly to a monitor. I don't know, I haven't finished it yet. Still watching when the pop-up came on screen.

VisiHow QnA. This section is not written yet. Want to join in? Click EDIT to write this answer.

If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.

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Article Info

Categories : Macintosh

Recent edits by: Doug Collins, Crystal, Eng

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