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Screen Resolution

by Alejandro Tombolini


Since version 1.8.4, PixInsight support high-dpi screen resolutions wich include a much wider variety of screen with different pixel densities. PixInsight is able to work at native resolutions up to at least 10240×5760. This includes Retina monitors, 4K (3840×2160), 5K (5120×2880) and 8K (7680×4320) monitors.


Default Settings

Default settings have been defined with compromise values that fits properly monitors bigger than 1920x1200. A 1920x1080 monitor is too small to accommodate all explorer tabs at the left side as they are by default. The first recommendation is to maintain the default setting even in monitors that are equal or smaller than 1920x1080 and only close or relocate some explorer tabs to the right. In general it will be enough to correctly visualize the workspace and have a good perception of the work environment.

The application is able to detect the current monitor density automatically in most cases on Windows, OS X and X11 (feature disabled for resolutions below 1920x1200). In the cases where automatic monitor density detection does not work (or does not give the wanted results), the Preferences tool provides suitable options to define interface scaling factors and font resolutions manually in a flexible way.

  • EDIT > Global Preferences
  • Preferences > Core UI Resources

PixInsight no longer works with physical pixels, but with logical screen units. Moreover, PixInsight's core UI is now completely scalable, and scaling factors, which are computed automatically by default based on hardware properties, are also fully user-definable. The default font size and font resolution are very appropriate for reasonably large low-dpi and high-dpi monitors. However you may want to adjust it for small resolutions such as 1920x1080.

The following video shows how the variation of the dpi value change the appearance in a monitor of 1920x1080. Setting the value in 94 dpi is enough for the explorer tabs fit at the left having yet an adequate visualization. You may also want to slightly increase the value for higher resolution monitors.

In the cases where automatic monitor density detection does not work (or does not give the wanted results) you are able to configure screen resolution manually:

  • EDIT > Global Preferences
  • Preferences > Core UI Resources
  • Disable the Automatic UI scaling option.
  • Click the Apply Global button or press F6

Once automatic UI scaling option is disabled, you can specify manual scaling factors in the range 1 to 4. After setting the new factor you have to exit the application and launch it again.

Note: Specifying a wrong scaling factor may yield an unusable core application. Do not change this paramenter if you are not sure of what you are doing.


Deep Customization

PixInsight allows also a customization of the core style sheet, which can be also helpful for some resolutions, to fine tune the graphical interface according to your preferences. This way you have full control over the look and feel of the whole platform.

The standard core style file (core-standard.qss) is located in /PixInsight/rsc/qss/. This is the procedure to change the defalut font size on that file:


1. Enter the following command from the Process Console window:

open "$PXI_RSCDIR/qss/core-standard.qss"

2. On the Script Editor, you'll see the initial lines of the core style sheet. Change 10 by 9 for example where it is highligthed in the following image.

3. FILE > Save as. Select a folder under your user account and save the file as "core-custom.qss" (for example).

4. From PixInsight's main menu,

  • EDIT > Global Preferences
  • Preferences > Core UI Resources
  • Click the Select file button under "Core Style Sheet File"
  • Select your core-custom.qss
  • Click the Apply Global button or press F6

5. Restart PixInsight.

See how the different font sizes change the appearance of the menus in a 1920x1080 monitor. Value variation: 8, 9, 10 (defalut), and 12.

Resolution-intependent projects

Starting with version 1.8.4, projects also support high-dpi screen resolutions. This is achieved by storing all coordinates and dimensions in a resolution-independent coordinate system. This means that you can save a project working with a 4K monitor, for example, and open it later on a standard monitor without major problems.


Last Update: 09/08/2015 16:10 UT

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