In MATLAB, how do I obtain information about my screen resolution and screen size?

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Using MATLAB, I want to obtain information about my screen resolution and screen size.

Accepted Answer

MathWorks Support Team
MathWorks Support Team on 27 Jun 2009
MATLAB uses certain APIs in order to get information about the size and resolution that the system is using. The information returned is made available to the user through the Root properties 'ScreenSize' and 'Units'. The following example demonstrates how to use these properties:
%Sets the units of your root object (screen) to pixels
%Obtains this pixel information
Pix_SS = get(0,'screensize')
%Sets the units of your root object (screen) to inches
%Obtains this inch information
Inch_SS = get(0,'screensize')
%Calculates the resolution (pixels per inch)
Res = Pix_SS./Inch_SS
On the test machine used for this example, this was the result:
Res =
Inf Inf 96.0000 96.0000
This means that my screen has a resolution of 96 pixels per inch in both the x and y directions.
You can confirm these numbers on a Windows 2000 machine by right-clicking on the desktop and selecting Properties -> Settings -> Screen Area. This will display the number of pixels per inch which should match the number obtained by the command:
Pix_SS = get(0,'screensize')
NOTE: Sometimes inaccuracies creep into the results you may get. This is due to the fact that the system may return incorrect information. If you begin to notice this, you can compensate by updating the video drivers or switching the resolution of the monitor. However, this is rare.
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 29 Apr 2016
You will need to use Java methods for that. The root properties are not refreshed dynamically.

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More Answers (3)

Alec Jacobson
Alec Jacobson on 22 Oct 2016
On my macbook air, if I issue
On my macbook air, if I issue
I get
1 1 1440 900
I get
0 0 20 12.5
using this I would compute that I have a 72 pixels per inch resolution screen. However, this screen is actually 128 ppi (obviously the macbook air is not 20inches wide).
How can I get the true physical size (and true resolution) of my screen?
  1 Comment
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 22 Oct 2016
Edited: MathWorks Support Team on 1 Feb 2021
If you are sufficiently new MATLAB, then as part of trying to make high resolution work smoothly, they locked the apparent resolution.
  • On Windows® systems, the value is 96 DPI.
  • On Macintosh systems, the value is 72 DPI.
  • On Linux® system, the value is determined by your system resolution.
Note: Starting in R2015b on Windows systems, if the Units property is set to 'pixels', then the width and height values might differ from the screen size reported by the operating system. The values MATLAB reports are based on a pixel size of 1/96th of an inch. On Macintosh and Linux systems, the values match the size reported by the operating system.

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Dominik Mattioli
Dominik Mattioli on 18 Dec 2018
Res = get(0,'ScreenPixelsPerInch')
This functionality might have been added since MathWorks originally posted their own answer above.

broken_arrow on 10 Oct 2021
Edited: broken_arrow on 10 Oct 2021
Concerning size measures in plotting, the fixed "virtual" DPI value on Windows or Linux systems returned by
means that setting e. g.
figure('Units','pixels','Position',[0 0 1920 1080])
equals a figure size of 1920x1080 screen pixels if the "true" monitor DPI is less than or equal to that "virtual" value (meaning that on a 1920x1080 monitor, the figure will cover the entire screen). For monitors with a true DPI greater than the virtual one, the number of screen pixels per "unit pixel" increases accordingly (props to Walter): (thus on a 4K monitor of same size, the aforementioned figure would still cover the whole screen).
The true monitor DPI can be easily calculated manually (Pythagorean theorem) or with an online tool (google "calculate monitor dpi")


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