2 Replies Latest reply: Oct 25, 2009 12:52 AM by BSteely
lyen Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Hello all,

I have a query, does anyone know of a keyboard shortcut to change the display (of the internal or external screen) resolution?

In clamshell mode, my MBP keeps feeding a resolution that my HDTV cant handle, and so my HDTV chooses to ignore it and turns off , telling me that the resolution is not optimum. If i open my lappie, both screens come on normally, it's only in clamshell that my lappie seems to be stuck on one resolution. So, without an external screen that is displaying the image, and with my lappie in clamshell, there's no way i can change the resolution! Is there anyway to reset/ change the display resolution via the keyboard?

THanks loads.


Macbook Pro 13 inch, Mac OS X (10.5.8)
  • iVmichael Level 6 Level 6 (13,725 points)
    Have you run System Preferences/Displays and set the External screen's preference window to the resolution you require ?

  • BSteely Level 5 Level 5 (7,635 points)
    There isn't exactly a keyboard shortcut for changing display resolutions, but there is a way to sort of fake it. You can dry run the procedure with your MacBook Pro not connected to the TV to see how it works and then once you confirm the procedure, you can do the same with the TV attached and without benefit of being able to see the screen. Basically, the procedure goes something like this:

    1) Start the Mac
    2) Wait several minutes so that you are sure it has finished booting
    3) Hit Command-Q followed by Command-Tab several times to make sure only the Finder is running
    4) Hit Shift-Command-A. This will open a new Finder window into the Applications folder
    5) Type "sys". This should cause System Preferences to be highlighted in the Applications folder
    6) Hit Command-O. This should cause System Preferences to open
    7) Hit Command-L. This assures System Preferences is at the Show All view
    8) Type "displays" and hit Return. This should cause Displays Preferences to open
    9) Type Shift-Tab at least three times. This should reset the element in focus to the starting point
    10) Hit Tab twice. This should move the focus to the current active resolution
    11) Hit the up (or down) arrow key. This should cause the resolution to change

    As I said, try doing a dry run of this procedure with the Mac not connected to the external display and while watching the screen on the MBP. Once you are satisfied you have the procedure debugged and working, try it in clam shell mode with the external display attached.

    By the way, it's much easier to try and fix this type of problem if you have a second Mac at your disposal that you can do screen sharing with. That's certainly a preferred method to the above. You can also do screen sharing with a PC using a VNC client if you don't own another Mac. But if you don't have another computer at your disposal, the above should work.