I am a big fan of linux and [ most ] open source apps, but sometimes the efficiency of the drivers and applications is miles behind the efficiency of the same apps and drivers made for windows. I am not debating whether is some cases the reverse is true, meaning that with some apps on linux you can accomplish your tasks with greater ease and efficiency, I’m just saying that in the category of drivers and their related apps, linux is still miles behind. In most cases, however, there is a simple command-line option that will allow you to accomplish whatever you wanted to accomplish with the missing app, it just takes more time and it takes a little getting used to.

gnome terminal in linux mintIf you find yourself in a situation where your screen’s resolution is not what it should be , for instance, on a monitor on which you usually work at a resolution of 1152×864 or 1280×800, and on linux you find yourself at 1024×768 by default, you can use cvt and xrandr commands to set your monitor’s resolution to the desired one.

For example, your monitor is now at 1024×768, but you want to set it to 1152×864.

Fire up a terminal, such gnome-terminal – if you are in X, with almost any desktop environment, you probably have an icon for it – and type the command “cvt” followed by the desired resolution, such as this :

cvt 1152 864

and press enter. The output of the command should give you the “modeline” that you will have to use to tell xrandr – the next command you will use to set the desired resolution – with what parameters will your desired resolution work. Sample output of the cvt command above:

# 1152×864 59.96 Hz (CVT 1.00M3) hsync: 53.78 kHz; pclk: 81.75 MHz
Modeline “1152x864_60.00” 81.75 1152 1216 1336 1520 864 867 871 897 -hsync +vsync

From this output, you are interested by the second line only, and only with the part starting AFTER the word MODELINE.

So go ahead and copy the line until its end, and write the following command to add a new mode to the list of resolutions:

xrandr –newmode “1152x864_60.00” 81.75 1152 1216 1336 1520 864 867 871 897 -hsync +vsync

(two hyphens, “- -” without space, as it usually is in the case of linux command arguments and parameters). It’s clear that after the “xrand –newmode” you just have to insert the line copied earlier.

Press enter. The mode 1152×864 is now added to the list of resolutions.

You may check if the new resolution you addes was added to the list by simply typing xrandr followed by enter. The output should display on the last line the new resolution you just added. The output of the xrandr command will also give you the NAME with which your system “named” your monitor, in the following sample output is VGA1.

Screen 0: minimum 320 x 200, current 1280 x 800, maximum 4096 x 4096
VGA1 connected 1280×800+0+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 260mm x 195mm
1024×768 60.0
800×600 84.4 85.1 75.0
640×480 85.0 75.0 60.0 59.9
720×405 84.0 70.0
720×400 70.1
1152x864_60.00 59.4
1280x800_60.00 59.5*

Now, to be able to use it even via the monitor resolution applet, use the following command:

xrandr –addmode VGA1 1152x864_60.00

At this moment, the monitor resolution applet should have in its list of available resolutions the one you just inserted.

PS:Thanks to “hatrack” member at the Linux Mint Forums for pointing the typos out.