Brightness and Contrast Controls

Have you ever wondered what those little buttons on the front of your monitor are for? You may have played around with them and found that they are mainly used for the brightness and contrast controls for your computer screen. Adjusting these controls allows you to make your screen look the way you want it to look, whether that be with a darker or a lighter color tone.

There may be a bit of confusion within these two controls. The brightness control actually affects the contrast, which leaves the contrast control affecting only the brightness. You need to understand the difference to be able to set your monitor up for preferable resolution.

The brightness icon looks something like a sun. It is also known as the black level and this should be adjusted so that any black picture content is displayed as a true black color on your monitor. Many times this control is misused, which results in poor picture quality on your computer screen.

The contrast icon is just a circle: half white, half black. It is commonly referred to as the picture control. This tool adds to the red, green and blue signals that are already imbedded into the screen color. Basically, once the brightness is set, you can set the contrast to a comfortable viewing level for yourself.

You want to make sure that you set your brightness to an accurate black level. If your brightness is set too low, you could lose your picture quality altogether, and if it’s set too high, you’ll end up with a grayish color, which makes all of your applications, games, pictures, etc. appear washed out or faded.

To adjust your monitor properly, follow these steps:

1.) Turn the contrast control to the minimum. There should be four different buttons on the front of your monitor. Some may have the contrast icon shown and some may just have the plus (+) or minus (-) signs. Use the minus sign to take the contrast to its lowest.

2.) Display a complete black picture.

3.) Adjust the brightness control to create a balance you prefer. It should be adjusted so a full range of color tones from black to white are displayed.

4.) Adjust the contrast to compliment the brightness. This is the step where you can choose your viewing preference. If you like your monitor just a little brighter, go for that. If you don’t like things so bright, go a little lower. It’s completely up to you.

Just to give you an idea, my monitor here in the office is set to a 100 percent contrast level and a 56 percent brightness. Now, Kim’s monitor is set at a 98 percent contrast and a 50 percent brightness and Shawn’s is set at a 100 contrast and 80 brightness. So, as you can see, everyone has different viewing tastes. Keep in mind that all monitors are different, so what you like and what we like are probably going to be different. Just make sure you set it at a comfortable level for your eyes.

While you’re in the menu for your monitor settings, you can also adjust other things like picture, geometry and color. You can also work with the degauss button, as well as, change the language used on your PC. You can choose from English, French, Spanish, Italian or Dutch if you wish to do that. These are all choices that are on my monitor in the office, so just keep in mind that yours may be a little bit different. Most monitors have these choices universally though.

Now, if you have a laptop, you have an LCD. These are a little different to adjust, but you follow the same main rules. You also do not need to worry about the degauss button if you have an LCD type display screen.

Happy Viewing!