There are two common problems with displaying our software.
1. The program’s graphics appears small on your high resolution monitor, with a big black area around it.
2. The program graphics appear stretched w-i-d-e or “fat” on the screen.
These common display problems are due to various types and ages of equipment, differences in how your program WANTS to run, and differences in the way different versions of Windows and your graphic card software will try to handle the program’s display needs.
RESIZING is something that’s easy to do and you will need to know HOW to do when using different programs.
The following solutions are somewhat dependent on the VERSION OF WINDOWS you have, the program itself, and the Graphic Card Options your computer comes with. Windows 7 and 8 computers are a little smarter, and some programs react differently than others to different screen proportions.
Why the issue? Most of today’s computers and monitors are designed for web-browsing and wordprocessing, not for kid’s software. And some kid’s software is designed to fill whatever screen size you offer, or only display at it’s own fixed (or ‘native’) resolution. You just have to be on your toes and know how to adjust your Display for maximum viewing pleasure!
Now here are the problem descriptions and their solutions…
Your Software doesn’t fill the screen.
You get a thick black box around your software’s open window.
The software appears too small on your screen.
Pictured above, a scene from Esther Story found in Awesome Bible Stories CD
Vista and Windows 7/8 have an option to “show an older program in a 640×480 window” –which comes in handy when trying to run some older but still good software like Life of Paul which have a fixed display of 640 x 480. By selecting this option for those older programs, you can get them to fill more of the screen on a newer computer.
If you have one of these oldie-goldies that is ‘fixed’ to a 640 x 480 screen size…. Right click the program’s startup icon and look in the Properties/Compatibility option for that nice option. This will make the older programs fill more of the screen, but it still may not look as crisp.
Your software graphics appear stretched across the screen, or “fat”.
Change your “Aspect Ratio” graphic setting on your graphic card to correct the “fat” appearance of some software on a wide aspect monitor (such as a laptop). See my example below.
Software designed for a 4:3 proportioned screen will sometimes S-T–R–E—T—C—-H too wide across a wide aspect screen —and this makes the game graphics look “fat.” Some graphic cards are smart about this and compensate. Many don’t. For example… look at “Robin” from our Joseph CD on my 5:3 wide aspect laptop, and then after I opened up my graphic display panel and selected the “panel fit” option to “center desktop”:
Seen here: “Robin” the young archaeologist in Sunday Software’s “Joseph’s Story CD”
(Click here to read more about Joseph’s Story CD seen in this graphic.)
STRETCHING is a common problem on some laptops that have wide screens
designed more for playing DVD movies and wordprocessing.
To adjust your graphic display settings and “Aspect Ratio” in Vista, Windows 7 and XP….
In the example below below you can see the “resolution” option for my Intel graphics chip on my laptop. For most of our software, set your resolution as close to 800×600 or a notch above that.
Also in the example screenshot below, you can see the Aspect Ratio option, which I recommend setting to “center desktop” (if you have that or a similar option) to keep software from stretching too wide across a wide aspect screen.
In XP and earlier versions of Windows, you may need to open your “Display Properties” in your Windows Control Panel to make such adjustments. (And on some older computers with cheaper videochips, they may not have these aspect options at all).
Your graphic control panel may look different than mine depending on the chip brand and version. But you can get the general idea by looking at my example here….
CHANGING YOUR SCREEN’S ASPECT RATIO to “FIXED” for some software
This is the setting I have set to keep my 3d games from stretching “fat”. I could change the ‘Screen Resolution’ lower, if this were my church lab’s computer, but because this is my home computer, I’m sticking with my laptop’s native resolution.
Changing the aspect ratio does NOT affect the appearance of any other software I have, such as IE or Word.
Depending on your operating system, and depending on the BRAND and QUALITY and AGE of your graphic card/chip/driver, your options MAY VARY. But most graphic chips/drivers are headed in the right direction: getting smarter and giving us more choices.
Older computers, older operating systems, and those with old drivers and ‘inexpensive’ graphic components may have FEWER options.
Reminder: Some graphic drivers/chip may not give you the option to change the aspect ratio.
Go to our Support Page.