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Using 4K (HiDPI) Monitors on Linux

Updated: 18-Nov-2018

High Resolution Monitors

Linux support for high-resolution computer displays (HiDPI, UHD, or 4K displays) is still being perfected. However, with the 18.04 release, the Ubuntu MATE team has included a utility that automatically detects your 4K display and sets the appropriate screen scaling for you. Without scaling, you may find that 4K displays, like screens on such modern laptops as the Dell XPS 13, or external 4K monitors have tiny icons and fonts that make them difficult to see and to use. With HiDPI support, Ubuntu MATE lets you take advantage of the full resolution of your beautiful high-resolution display and still have everything readable.

Of course, Ubuntu MATE allows you to make the decision as to whether to use HiDPI scaling or not. Here is how to make changes to the HiDPI settings.

HiDPI Settings

Before we begin modifying your screen settings, ensure that your display is set to the highest resolution available. If supported, this will be the high-resolution for your HiDPI monitor. For my Dell XPS 13, this setting is 3200 x 1800 pixels as shown below.

HiDPI Display

  1. Open the MATE Tweak application by selecting MenuControl CenterMATE Tweak.
  2. Choose the Windows icon in the pane on the left side of the MATE Tweak window.
  3. In the HiDPI section, adjust the setting labeled "Select a window scaling factor". Choose Auto-detect to have Ubuntu MATE automatically detect and set HiDPI window scaling when it detects a high-resolution monitor. Choose Regular if you never want scaling applied. Choose HiDPI if you always want scaling applied.
    Enable HiDPI

  4. Your new HiDPI settings will take effect immediately. No need to log out!
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