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xrandr is an official configuration utility to the RandR X Window System extension. It can be used to set the size, orientation or reflection of the outputs for a screen. For configuring multiple monitors see the Multihead page.


Install xorg-xrandr. A graphical front end such as arandr or lxrandr is also available.

Testing configuration

When run without any option, xrandr shows the names of different outputs available on the system (LVDS, VGA-0, etc.) and resolutions available on each:

Screen 0: minimum 320 x 200, current 1440 x 900, maximum 8192 x 8192
VGA disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
LVDS connected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
   1440x900       59.9*+
   1280x854       59.9  
   1280x800       59.8  

You can use xrandr to set different resolution (must be present in the above list) on some output:

$ xrandr --output LVDS --mode 1280x800

When multiple refresh rates are present in the list (not in the example above), it may be changed by the --rate option, either at the same time or independently. For example:

$ xrandr --output LVDS --mode 1280x800 --rate 75

The --auto option will turn the specified output on if it is off and set the preferred (maximum) resolution:

$ xrandr --output LVDS --auto

It is possible to specify multiple outputs in one command, e.g. to turn off LVDS and turn on HDMI-0 with preferred resolution:

$ xrandr --output LVDS --off --output HDMI-0 --auto
  • Changes you make using xrandr will only last through the current session.
  • xrandr has a lot more capabilities - see man xrandr for details.


xrandr is just a simple interface to the RandR extension and has no configuration file. However, there are multiple ways of achieving persistent configuration:

  1. The RandR extension can be configured via X configuration files, see Multihead#RandR for details. This method provides only static configuration.
  2. If you need dynamic configuration, you need to execute xrandr commands each time X server starts. See Autostarting#Graphical for details. This method has the disadvantage of occurring fairly late in the startup process, thus it will not alter the resolution of the display manager if you use one.
  3. Custom scripts calling xrandr can be bound to events (for example when external monitor is plugged in), see acpid for details. The #Scripts section provides you with some example scripts that might be useful for this purpose.
Tip: Both KDM and GDM have startup scripts that are executed when X is initiated. For GDM, these are in /etc/gdm/, while for KDM this is done at /usr/share/config/kdm/Xsetup and for SDDM at /usr/share/sddm/scripts/Xsetup. This method requires root access and mucking around in system config files, but will take effect earlier in the startup process than using xprofile.


Tango-inaccurate.pngThe factual accuracy of this article or section is disputed.Tango-inaccurate.png

Reason: The quality of these scripts goes from bad to worse as the section progresses. Remove them and instead give people the rope to write their own scripts (Discuss in Talk:Xrandr#)

Example 1

This script toggles between external monitor (specified by $EXT) and default monitor (specified by $IN), so that only one monitor is active at a time.

The default monitor (specified by $IN) should be connected when running the script, which is always true for a laptop.



if (xrandr | grep "$EXT disconnected"); then
    xrandr --output $EXT --off --output $IN --auto
    xrandr --output $IN --off --output $EXT --auto

Example 2

This script toggles only external monitor (specified by $EXT), leaves the default monitor (specified by $IN) on.

The default monitor (specified by $IN) should be connected when running the script, which is always true for a laptop.



if (xrandr | grep "$EXT disconnected"); then
    xrandr --output $IN --auto --output $EXT --off 
    xrandr --output $IN --auto --primary --output $EXT --auto --right-of $IN

Example 3

This script iterates through connected monitors, selects currently active monitor, turns next one on and the others off:

# get info from xrandr
connectedOutputs=$(xrandr | grep " connected" | sed -e "s/\([A-Z0-9]\+\) connected.*/\1/")
activeOutput=$(xrandr | grep -E " connected (primary )?[1-9]+" | sed -e "s/\([A-Z0-9]\+\) connected.*/\1/")

# initialize variables
execute="xrandr "
default="xrandr "

for display in $connectedOutputs
	# build default configuration
	if [ $i -eq 1 ]
		default=$default"--output $display --auto "
		default=$default"--output $display --off "

	# build "switching" configuration
	if [ $switch -eq 1 ]
		execute=$execute"--output $display --auto "
		execute=$execute"--output $display --off "

	# check whether the next output should be switched on
	if [ $display = $activeOutput ]

	i=$(( $i + 1 ))

# check if the default setup needs to be executed then run it
echo "Resulting Configuration:"
if [ -z "$(echo $execute | grep "auto")" ]
	echo "Command: $default"
	echo "Command: $execute"
echo -e "\n$(xrandr)"

Example 3a

This script iterates over all xrandr outputs. If anything is connected it tries to figure out the best possible resolution places that right-of the previous display.

The following uses it with srandrdAUR and i3-wm:

srandrd ~/.i3/detect_displays.sh

declare -A VOUTS
eval VOUTS=$(${XRANDR}|awk 'BEGIN {printf("(")} /^\S.*connected/{printf("[%s]=%s ", $1, $2)} END{printf(")")}')
declare -A POS

POS=([X]=0 [Y]=0)

find_mode() {
  echo $(${XRANDR} |grep ${1} -A1|awk '{FS="[ x]"} /^\s/{printf("WIDTH=%s\nHEIGHT=%s", $4,$5)}')

xrandr_params_for() {
  if [ "${2}" == 'connected' ]
    eval $(find_mode ${1})  #sets ${WIDTH} and ${HEIGHT}
    CMD="${CMD} --output ${1} --mode ${MODE} --pos ${POS[X]}x${POS[Y]}"
    return 0
    CMD="${CMD} --output ${1} --off"
    return 1

for VOUT in ${!VOUTS[*]}
  xrandr_params_for ${VOUT} ${VOUTS[${VOUT}]}
set -x
set +x

Example 4 - avoiding X crash with xrasengan

Use this workaround to turn on connected outputs that may be in suspend mode and hence shown as disconnected, as is often the case of DisplayPort monitors:

local times=2
local seconds=1

while [ $times -gt 0 ]; do
    xrandr 1> /dev/null
    sleep $seconds
    let times-=1

xrasengan is an xrandr wrapper with this workaround built in.

$ xrasengan --force -on DisplayPort-0 -off HDMI-0

With the --force option, xrasengan will update status of all outputs before HDMI-0 is turned off, avoiding an X crash if they were the only connected/active outputs.

To force reload current settings, xrasengan provides a --try-reload-active-layout option, which uses --force and unxrandr from the arandr package to assemble the command line:

$ xrasengan --try-reload-active-layout

This can be used in systemd unit or in a keyboard binding to avoid blank screen when resuming DisplayPort monitors from suspend.


Adding undetected resolutions

Due to buggy hardware or drivers, your monitor's correct resolutions may not always be detected by xrandr. For example, the EDID data block queried from the monitor may be incorrect. However, we can add the desired resolutions to xrandr.

First we run gtf or cvt to get the Modeline for the resolution we want:

For some LCD screens (samsung 2343NW), the command "cvt -r" (= with reduced blanking) is to be used.

$ cvt 1280 1024
# 1280x1024 59.89 Hz (CVT 1.31M4) hsync: 63.67 kHz; pclk: 109.00 MHz
Modeline "1280x1024_60.00"  109.00  1280 1368 1496 1712  1024 1027 1034 1063 -hsync +vsync
Note: If the Intel video driver xf86-video-intel is used, it may report the desired resolution along with its properties in /var/log/Xorg.0.log — use that first if it is different from the output of gtf or cvt. For instance, the log and its use with xrandr:
[    45.063] (II) intel(0): clock: 241.5 MHz   Image Size:  597 x 336 mm
[    45.063] (II) intel(0): h_active: 2560  h_sync: 2600  h_sync_end 2632 h_blank_end 2720 h_border: 0
[    45.063] (II) intel(0): v_active: 1440  v_sync: 1443  v_sync_end 1448 v_blanking: 1481 v_border: 0
xrandr --newmode "2560x1440" 241.50 2560 2600 2632 2720 1440 1443 1448 1481 -hsync +vsync

Then we create a new xrandr mode. Note that the Modeline keyword needs to be ommited.

$ xrandr --newmode "1280x1024_60.00"  109.00  1280 1368 1496 1712  1024 1027 1034 1063 -hsync +vsync

After creating it we need an extra step to add this new mode to our current output (VGA1). We use just the name of the mode, since the parameters have been set previously.

$ xrandr --addmode VGA1 1280x1024_60.00

Now we change the resolution of the screen to the one we just added:

$ xrandr --output VGA1 --mode 1280x1024_60.00

Note that these settings only take effect during this session.

If you are not sure about the resolution you will test, you may add a sleep 5 and a safe resolution command line following, like this:

$ xrandr --output VGA1 --mode 1280x1024_60.00 && sleep 5 && xrandr --newmode "1024x768-safe" 65.00 1024 1048 1184 1344 768 771 777 806 -HSync -VSync && xrandr --addmode VGA1 1024x768-safe && xrandr --output VGA1 --mode 1024x768-safe

Also, change VGA1 to correct output name.

EDID checksum is invalid

If the previous method results in an *ERROR* EDID checksum is invalid error during boot, see KMS#Forcing modes and EDID and [1].

Or xrandr --addmode might give you the error X Error of failed request: BadMatch. NVIDIA users should read NVIDIA/Troubleshooting#xrandr BadMatch. BadMatch could indicate an invalid EDID checksum. To verify that this is the case, run X in verbose mode (e.g. startx -- -logverbose 6) and check your Xorg log for messages about a bad EDID.

Screen resolution reverts back after a blink

If you use GNOME and your monitor doesn't have an EDID, above #Adding undetected resolutions might not work, with your screen just blinking once, after xrandr --output.

Poke around with ~/.config/monitors.xml, or delete the file completely, and then reboot.

It is better explained in this article.

Permanently adding undetected resolutions

Once a suitable resolution is found using xrandr, the mode can be permanently added by creating an entry in /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/:

Section "Monitor"
    Identifier "VGA1"
    Modeline "1280x1024_60.00"  109.00  1280 1368 1496 1712  1024 1027 1034 1063 -hsync +vsync
    Option "PreferredMode" "1280x1024_60.00"

Section "Screen"
    Identifier "Screen0"
    Monitor "VGA1"
    DefaultDepth 24
    SubSection "Display"
        Modes "1280x1024_60.00"

Section "Device"
    Identifier "Device0"
    Driver "intel"

Replace intel with the right driver, e.g. nvidia.

Resolution lower than expected

Tip: Try #Adding undetected resolutions first, if it doesn't work, you may try this method.

If you video card is recognized but the resolution is lower than you expect, you may try this.

Background: ATI X1550 based video card and two LCD monitors DELL 2408(up to 1920x1200) and Samsung 206BW(up to 1680x1050). Upon first login after installation, the resolution default to 1152x864. xrandr does not list any resolution higher than 1152x864. You may want to try editing /etc/X11/xorg.conf, add a section about virtual screen, logout, login and see if this helps. If not then read on.

Change xorg.conf

Section "Screen"
        SubSection "Display"
                Virtual 3600 1200

About the numbers: DELL on the left and Samsung on the right. So the virtual width is of sum of both LCD width 3600=1920+1680; Height then is figured as the max of them, which is max(1200,1050)=1200. If you put one LCD above the other, use this calculation instead: (max(width1, width2), height1+height2).

Full RGB in HDMI

It may occur that the Intel driver will not configure correctly the output of the HDMI monitor. It will set a limited color range (16-235) using the Broadcast RGB property, and the black will not look black, it will be grey.

To see if it is your case:

$ xrandr --output HDMI1 --set "Broadcast RGB" "Full"

See also