Simulating a larger screen

2013-10-31

One of the disappointing aspects of Ubuntu's 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope was that some applications were clearly not designed with a netbook's screen in mind. This occasionally led to some guessing as to where to click. The solution: tell Linux to pretend the screen is much bigger.

Today I still find this trick useful if I'm designing, say, a large poster, and don't want to hotkey sidebars on and off.

Step 1: Determine the Maximum Resolution of your Video Card

Type:

xrandr


For me this gives:

Screen 0: minimum 320 x 200, current 1366 x 768, maximum 32767 x 32767
LVDS1 connected 1366x768+0+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 256mm x 144mm
1366x768       60.0*+
1360x768       59.8     60.0
1024x768       60.0
800x600        60.3     56.2
640x480        59.9
VGA1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
HDMI1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
DP1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
VIRTUAL1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)


The important lines, as mentioned below, are these:

Screen 0: minimum 320 x 200, current 1366 x 768, maximum 32767 x 32767
LVDS1 connected 1366x768+0+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 256mm x 144mm


Be sure to note your current resolution (1366x768).

Step 2: Make the Screen Bigger

xrandr --output LVDS1 --panning 2000×2000


The specified size (2000x2000) must fall within the maximum resolution (32767x32767) found above. The output (LVDS1) is also found above. Note that if you make the screen truly ginormous, your video card and OS are likely going to have to do some heavy thinking. The --panning option means that positioning the mouse near the edge of the screen will result in it panning over.

xrandr --size 1280×800