I would like a black, empty margin surrounding my entire screen, effectively turning a 24" monitor into a 20" one instead.

My setup:

  • Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS
  • Intel Graphics
  • Xfce4 (I'd prefer a cross desktop enviroment solution)

Having tried xrandr with a combination of many different parameters, including: --scale, --panning, etc. I cannot shrink my monitor as desired.

If shrinking my monitor isn't possible with xrandr, fbset or some other tool, does an option to add in my /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-intel.conf file exist?

  • What happens when you run xrandr with the --scale option? Did you specify which output, did it display an error? – Kristopher Ives Sep 29 '18 at 1:41
  • Possible duplicate of Can I zoom out windows or scale the whole desktop? – Kristopher Ives Sep 29 '18 at 1:41
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    --scale 2x2 doubles the screen resolution, --scale 0.5x0.5 does nothing. – charlie Sep 29 '18 at 1:45
  • What about xrandr -s 100x100 or similar? – Kristopher Ives Sep 29 '18 at 1:47
  • I have seen that thread many times, but nothing there works. – charlie Sep 29 '18 at 1:47

...effectively turning a 24" monitor into a 20" one...

That is surprisingly easy to achieve (replace DVI-0 with your monitor, of course):

xrandr --output DVI-0 --set "underscan hborder" 128 --set "underscan vborder" 128

...and turn it on/off using:

xrandr --output DVI-0 --set underscan on
xrandr --output DVI-0 --set underscan off

On a 24" monitor, the image should shrink down to about 20.2".

The borders have to be values in the range 0-128, where 1 results in the smallest borders, 128 in the largest, and 0 is somewhere in between. I don't know what these values actually represent.

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    charlie:~$ xrandr --output HDMI1 --set "underscan hborder" 128 --set "underscan vborder" 128 X Error of failed request: BadName (named color or font does not exist) Major opcode of failed request: 140 (RANDR) Minor opcode of failed request: 11 (RRQueryOutputProperty) Serial number of failed request: 43 Current serial number in output stream: 43 – charlie Sep 29 '18 at 15:27
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    Please look at the output of xrandr --verbose, maybe your monitor doesn't support underscan, but I tested it with a really old monitor, so I doubt it. Try enabling underscan first, before setting the borders. It may be helpful to add the output of xrandr --verbose to your question. – danzel Sep 29 '18 at 15:32

I don't see why you would want to do this, it might even cause burn-in problems depending on your monitor, but instead of changing the display (xrandr) resolution/display/pixels, try this:

  • Make some new XFCE panels on the top, sides, and bottom, with a solid black colour (in the Appearance tab) and options like this in the Display tab (changing the Row Size to however thick you prefer):

    enter image description here

    Maximized windows will not cover the panels, and you could even use one side as an extra-large status / window panel (if your desktop is like that, similar to XFCE's defaults). I'm pretty sure every desktop has some sort of panels that should work similarly.

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  • This wouldn't trap the mouse within the desired area, nor alter full screen windows such as YouTube. – charlie Sep 29 '18 at 3:30
  • XFCE's Settings -> Workspaces -> Margins tab stops maximized windows (similar to the panels), but not full-screen browsers and probably not youtube either... strange that it doesn't – Xen2050 Sep 29 '18 at 3:52
  • Yeah, those margin settings are for normal computer usage (I'm happy with a full display for that), I just find full screen videos too big when I'm tired. – charlie Sep 29 '18 at 4:34

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