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Computer Monitors

In looking for a new monitor, I visited Curry's and PC World for advice (ha Ha!).

All their monitors were widescreen and I was told this was the only kind available these days. Aimed at the home market. Dell only seem to have widescreen monitors.

But to my mind, a widescreen reduces the vertical visible area and most business applications are oriented this way. i.e. a Word document scrolls up and down more than side to side. So you need a high monitor rather than a wide one.

Therefore you need to buy a much bigger monitor to get the same vertical viewing size.

My first reaction is that the world is wrong and I am right. But have I missed something? Should I be buying a widescreen or what are the options?


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14th Dec 2009 12:34

4:3 format

What you need is a 4:3 format 19" 1280x1024 resolution monitor like the Flatron L1953S I am looking at now.

Try e-Buyer for some alternatives:

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14th Dec 2009 13:01

Laptops too

Laptops also appear to being going "letterbox" - suitable for watching DVDs, but not for documents - unless they are big enough to let you work with two A4 pages side-by-side ...

What can we do to stamp out this madness - or is it inevitable as the mfrs try to cut costs by using 'standard' displays.

"Stop Shrinking My Laptop Screen" -,2817,2328931,00.asp

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By Anonymous
14th Dec 2009 13:59

Widescreen is actually better

If you get a good enough quality widescreen, or mount it on a desk bracket, you can turn the screen ange through 90 degrees, so it's just the same as viewing an entire page of A4.  Works a treat!! 

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By Anonymous
14th Dec 2009 14:52

90 degrees?

Dont' you get a stiff neck?

How do you turn Windows round 90 degrees?

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14th Dec 2009 16:25

portrait monitors


I have 2 monitors - both "portrait" layout - AOC LM929 with pivot software

They work well for letters, accounts, tax returns, etc which are all A4 portrait shaped documents


Any questions please feel free to ask.

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14th Dec 2009 16:27

Go 24"

Since you can pick up a 24" wide screen for around £200 why mess about with a 19"? 

PC World - LG24" £198  / Hannspree 25" £198

Sooner or later you will upgrade to Windows 7 (Vista was rubbish but windows 7 is great), and with a wide screen you will soon find yourself a fan of the "snap" facility allowing you to have 2 documents open side by side.   




Going to PC World/Currys for advice was about like asking Fred at the pub to do your accounts.

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By pawncob
14th Dec 2009 17:03

open wide

The only problem with widescreen 22+ screens is the amount of mouse movement required to travel across the screen.

LG225WS (and others) enables you to position a normal screen within the widescreen.

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By neileg
15th Dec 2009 09:05

Mouse movement

If you find the mouse movement excessive, you can speed up the movement in Control Panel.

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17th Dec 2009 11:01

Seriously a case where wider=better

A big widescreen gives you enough space to have two documents/applications open at once for reading and writing.

Widescreen can often swivel sideways to give you "letter viewing" on one screen. (Not that you need that with the big ones but for the right application such as letter writing it is fantastic with the smaller ones) In answer to facetious questions above such screens come with Windows drivers that swivel the Windows output too.

Such are the productivity improvements that I now have 2 widescreens attached to my PC. The cost of doing this is virtually insignificant.

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17th Dec 2009 12:04

Better for Excel (IMHO)

I can't believe a bunch of accountants haven't made the (to me at least) obvious point - widescreen = more columns visible on screen in Excel at any one time, or am I the only one that ends up with wide spreadsheets? I must admit that pivot tables are largely a mystery and I'm not an accountant, but I couldn't live without my widescreen monitor now!

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17th Dec 2009 12:13

Don't chuck your old screen away.

For a few quid extra, if you don't have one already (one with a funny white outlet as well as the usual!), you can get a video card that will enable you to have two monitors side by side; the concept has been discussed at length on Aweb.  Then you can extend your desktop across both and have mail, for instance, runiing all the time on one, or you can have different documents open side by side and cut and paste or whatever as if on one screen.

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By appacc
17th Dec 2009 12:16


My original question was about viewing Word documents. I think most accountants had worked out the value of wide spreadsheets. They also know how to spread them over multiple monitors.

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By IanF
17th Dec 2009 13:13


I have got 24" at home and it is great having two docs side by side (made easier in Windows 7).  This is useful when one is taking values from one to the other.  However I make sure the ratio is 16:10 not 16:9 which looks much narrower (vertically narrow).  I will probably go for 22" at work only because 24" may look excessive to others.

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17th Dec 2009 13:14

Widescreen monitors

I have a widescreen (16:10 aspect ratio) monitor at home, as does my wife. At work I have dual 'standard width' (4:3 aspect ratio) monitors. I love the widescreen! I do notice that at times on my widescreen, webpages don't look as they're intended because they've been formatted to 800x600 resolution, but the resolution (1920x1200) of my widescreen is so much higher than the standard screen I replaced, I can see more of typical business type applications on the wide screen. Due to the higher resolution, I can actually READ the screen if I have a full-page view of a Word document. A tremendous advantage, however, comes when dealing with Excel spreadsheets; while Word documents are usually higher than wide, many Excel spreadsheets are wider (some are MUCH wider) than a standard-width screen can display at a readable resolution. On a widscreen monitor, you can see many more of the columns at one time rather than having to scroll from side to side. I have a scroll mouse, and while some software is setup to allow me to scroll horizontally (this webpage is not), it's much easier to scroll vertically, so the widescreen shows more of what I need to see. Despite what some salespeople try to tell you, there still are standard-width monitors readily available. Mine at work are new and come from HP. I would recommend that you go somwhere that you can 'test drive' a widescreen to see if it will fill your needs. You can read all the recommendations and specifications in the world, but it still comes down to what YOU want.

Hope this helps.


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By Anonymous
17th Dec 2009 15:22


One thing to beware of is that, because the dimension is measured diagonally, a 19" 16:9/10 widescreen monitor is shorter than a 19" 4:3.

I agree with "the bigger the better" especially as the eyesight gets worse as you get older.

My preference would always be to use two monitors. Unless the old one is faulty, just add a second one instead of replacing it. You can get a new video card for as little as £7.00 these days so it's worthwhile doing.

I tend to leave Outlook open on one screen, which is offset to the side of my working area with the main application open in front of me and, if it's not already on the main screen, I always position the item I'm working on onto the main screen.

For those who use a laptop, adding a screen and extending the desktop onto it is a great way of creating that extra space you need for all your work. 
Most laptops let you do that these days. Even my 7 year old Dell Latitude!

Please bear in mind Health and Safety regulations when positioning your workstation.

Why not go for a 24" TV with PC input instead? They're much more flexible than a standard monitor.

Whatever you do decide on, have a great Chirstmas using it :-)

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17th Dec 2009 17:26

21 or 24"

Great post.  I find 21" is a better size.  Turn the monitors use Pivot Pro sofware to turn the screen output.  Go one futher and acquire a three monitor card - I believe Matrix do one.  Keep that old flat screen and put Outlook on that.  Use the new ones for working as suggested by other posters

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