How to change monitor resolution with hotkeys in Windows [Tip]

To change the monitor resolution, you would usually right-click the desktop and open the Display Settings window. However, you can change the resolution settings with keyboard shortcuts (aka hotkeys). As Windows doesn’t include any options that add keyboard shortcuts to monitor resolutions, you should install HotKey Resolution Changer to do this.

Hotkey Resolution Changer, otherwise HRC, is software available for the Windows XP/Vista/7 platforms. You can add it to Windows from this website. Clicking the Download option at the bottom of the page saves the software as a Zip file. As such, right-click the HRC Zip file; and select Extract All to extract the folder. Open the extracted folder, and then click the HRC.exe to add the software’s icon to the system tray as below.

HRC

Click on the HRC system tray icon (circled red above) to open the software’s window in the shot below. Now select a resolution from one of the drop-down lists. Click the Change option, press a shortcut key such as Ctrl + B and then select Set. Now press the shortcut key, and the monitor resolution changes to the one you selected for the key.

HRC2

Overall, you can add up to nine shortcut keys for alternative resolutions. To add more keyboard shortcuts, click the Number of Hotkeys drop-down list and select 9. That should expand the software’s window so that it includes up to nine alternative resolutions.

Right-click the HRC system tray icon, and select Exit to close the software. Note that the software must remain open in the system tray for the keyboard key to the change the resolution. As such, you should minimize the software to the system tray by selecting the Minimize to tray option at the top right of the HRC window.

To add the software to the Startup folder, input %appdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup in Windows Explorer’s location bar. Then click File > New > Shortcut and then input HRC’s location in the Create Shortcut window below.

HRC3

The Hotkey Resolution Changer software gives you direct keyboard shortcuts with which to switch to an alternative monitor resolution. Now you can switch to your most frequently selected resolutions without opening the Display Settings window.

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  • Marc B.

    Because I photoshop and watch movies in 4K and game in 1080.

  • MAVE

    [@Bruce Fraser] I use 2 monitors on my pc one is on native resolution and 1 is a a smart tv and i’m from 5 m from tv and i use this software to lower the resolution :) , ( sry for poor language ) :D

  • Bruce Fraser

    Elijah,
    Thank-you for enlightening me.

  • Elijah Kim

    [@Bruce Fraser]

    I find this extremely useful and worthwhile for two reasons.

    1) I frequently remote control my desktop pc through my android phone over RealVNC. widescreen 1920×1200 is nice when actually on a desktop, on a phone in portrait mode its a pain having to scroll side to side every time a dialog prompt comes up. Now I can seamlessly switch between desktop orientation+resolution and remote phone orientation+resolution.

    2) I prefer playing many games in windowed fullscreen mode as it provides instantaneous alt+tab switching, however in many games this means that the game runs at your actual desktop resolution and you cannot specify a lower one. with this tool I can switch painlessly before I run my game, and play my game in windowed fullscreen mode @ 1680×1050 instead of being forced to play @ retina display resolution of 2880×1800.

  • Bruce Fraser

    This falls in the category of “Just because it’s possible, doesn’t mean it’s worthwhile.”
    Most monitors nowadays are the flat-screen LCD or LED kind. Unlike the old CRT monitors, they work best at their native resolution. Other resolutions are possible, but result in a poorer image.
    So why would anyone want to switch resolutions back and forth?