• Global community
    • Language:
      • Deutsch
      • English
      • Español
      • Français
      • Português
  • 日本語コミュニティ
    Dedicated community for Japanese speakers
  • 한국 커뮤니티
    Dedicated community for Korean speakers
Exit
2

MBP M3 + external display voodoo curse. Is it incompatible resolutions? Or scaling? (or me?!)

Explorer ,
Mar 03, 2024 Mar 03, 2024

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Hi there,

I'm running InDesign 19.2 on a newish MacBook Pro (Sonoma 14.3.1 OS) that's connected to an external display (a 217" HP QHD), and I sometimes run into horrible issues of my ID screen flashing, or going black, or parts of it going black as I move my cursor over the page, or seeming to break up into shards. It makes it impossible to work, so I have to shut down and start up again. Sometimes I'm lucky and it behaves for a while. *(possibly pertinent note—I have similar issues when I use another display (an LG) when I'm at another address).

My MBP's built-in display has a huge list of possible resolutions. For the sake of being able to see what's on my screen (any higher resolution and everything's too small), I've chosen 2056 x 1329.

A lot of resolution choices for my HP display too, but I've chosen the top one: 2560 x 1440. Why? Because that's the closest I can come to my MBP's display. Also, everything looks too big if I try anything below this top resolution choice.

The other thing that is maybe worth mentioning is that most of my ID windows (my main project window, along with my Typography windows, Pages window and my Control window (I think it's called the Control window), shift position every time my MBP screen goes to sleep—they shift over, either partially or completely, from my external display to my MBP screen. Each and every time I start working again I have to drag them back into the 'proper' position on my external display.

Have I naievely stumbled into the middle of some kind of Apple vs. HP (and LG) resolution war?

Is there a way for me to fix this? And then there's the question of scaling—which I don't see any way that I can control. There's a note just below the resolution choices in my Apple Settings, saying—

"Using a scaled resolution may affect performance"

 

I would say my performance is not good. Can I fix it by changing my resolutions, or somehow getting under the hood of my MBP and adjusting the scaling?

Thanks for any advice. 

My book is 300 pages and very graphics heavy. Could that be part of the problem?

Regards,

Malcolm

TOPICS
Performance

Views

204

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Explorer ,
Mar 03, 2024 Mar 03, 2024

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

sorry, in the first sentence it should say 27" HP display (not 217")!!

Votes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Community Expert ,
Mar 04, 2024 Mar 04, 2024

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

I use a similar setup, an M1 Pro MacBook Pro that is connected to external displays through a dock when at the desk, but at times I will disconnect the laptop when I need to work away from the desk. And, I recently finished an annual update of a book that’s over 400 pages long, with at least one graphic on most pages.

 

I do not think the problems are specific to a certain brand of display. Because I have seen some of the same problems, and I use displays of two completely different brands than yours (one of mine is an Apple display).

quote

I sometimes run into horrible issues of my ID screen flashing, or going black, or parts of it going black as I move my cursor over the page, or seeming to break up into shards. It makes it impossible to work, so I have to shut down and start up again.

By @Malcolm574

 

I do not see that often, but I have seen that kind of thing happen. I think I’ve been able to reset the InDesign display by going in and out of Preview mode (the single-key shortcut is W). That’s not a cure, that’s just the fastest way I’ve been able to force a refresh that gets it back to normal.

quote

most of my ID windows (my main project window, along with my Typography windows, Pages window and my Control window (I think it's called the Control window), shift position every time my MBP screen goes to sleep—they shift over, either partially or completely, from my external display to my MBP screen. Each and every time I start working again I have to drag them back into the 'proper' position on my external display.

By @Malcolm574

 

I think this has been reported by others here. I see it happen frequently. In fact, I see it just by going in and out of Preview mode: InDesign is no longer maximized because the window somehow got smaller, so I have to make it fill the screen again. Similar issues happen when I connect and disconnect external displays with my MacBook Pro; it almost seems like the oldest Adobe apps dating from the 1980s/1990s (such as Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign) have old windowing systems that just don’t adapt as well as newer apps when the display size changes. For example, Photoshop finally started supporting native macOS Full Screen mode just this year — yet InDesign, Illustrator, Bridge, and others still do not.

quote

And then there's the question of scaling—which I don't see any way that I can control. There's a note just below the resolution choices in my Apple Settings, saying—

"Using a scaled resolution may affect performance"

By @Malcolm574

 

Although that is technically true, it may not be noticeable, which is why Apple uses the word “may”. The reason for the note is that Macs are shipped with the default Retina display UI resolution set to an even multiple of the number of hardware pixels. This makes it easy and fast for the graphics hardware to calculate scaling. For example, the display on my 14" MacBook Pro has a hardware resolution of 3024 x 1964 px with a default UI resolution (in Displays settings) of 1512 x 982 px, or exactly one half of the hardware resolution. This results in a Retina pixel density of exactly 2x, or twice as much detail per inch as a non-Retina 1512 x 982 px display. However, for more working area (for all those InDesign panels) I choose the More Space setting of 1800 x 1169 px, resulting in a fractional Retina pixel density (1.68x). That non-even scaling should theoretically take longer to calculate and therefore slow screen display slightly, but again, because I don’t notice I haven’t been concerned about it. Maybe it makes more of a difference on a Mac with weaker graphics hardware. But someone who feels that screen refresh is a little slow may want to stick to the default UI resolution.

 

In the end, I think the flashing and weird window resizing issues are probably InDesign-specific, and not anything wrong with how you are setting up external displays in macOS. Because most macOS apps do not have these problems.

Votes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Explorer ,
Mar 04, 2024 Mar 04, 2024

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Conrad. First of all, thank you so much for your input. It certainly makes things much clearer. And I can now hope that at least some of my problems will be resolved when Adobe finally updates InDesign to support native MacOS! 

But while I wait for that (who knows when that might happen), given what you say about Apple's UI resolution and hardware pixels, wouldn't my MBP display possibly work more smoothly with another Apple display (a Studio Display)?

One more question. You mention going in and out of Preview mode. When I press the W key, I suddenly see all the boundary box lines—blue, purple, pink and red. Is this what you mean by preview mode? I like the idea of just needed to hit a key to fix some of the crazy things that sometimes happen to a page. I've been having to quit and re-launch InDesign to fix the problem.

By the way, as much as I'm focussing on issues I'm having with InDesign, I really love the app. I wouldn't have been able to do any of my writing projects without it.

Thanks again for your help,

Malcolm

 

Votes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Community Expert ,
Mar 04, 2024 Mar 04, 2024

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

quote

…given what you say about Apple's UI resolution and hardware pixels, wouldn't my MBP display possibly work more smoothly with another Apple display (a Studio Display)?

By @Malcolm574

 

In a way, but for a different but similar reason.

 

The large Apple desktop displays today are built around 5K panels, which are much less common than 4K panels. Apple has optimized their desktop screen quality and performance for 5K panels. Again, this is because of even multiples. An Apple 27" 5K display is 5120 x 2880 px, which is exactly double the pixel dimensions of the traditional and still very common 27" display at 2560 x 1440 px (I have one connected to my MacBook Pro right now). So everyone used to the screen working area of a non-Retina 27" is immediately comfortable with a 27" Apple Retina display because it’s the same working area that they had on their old non-Retina 27" display, but at 2x pixel density for sharper type and lines. (By the way, Retina on macOS and HiDPI in Windows are basically the same thing.)

 

The problem with the very commonly available 27" 4K displays, from the Apple point of view anyway, is that they tend to be 3840 x 2160 px. That is not a problem in and of itself, but it is not an even multiple of the old common 2560 x 1440 px at 27". Apple hasn’t optimized for that, so it is widely thought that macOS text and UI don’t seem quite as sharp on a 27" 4K display as they are on a 27" 5K display. But others say it’s not a big deal, and they use 4K displays with current Macs, although they might adjust the resolution.

 

So Apple has (possibly intentionally) set up a situation where people can be inclined to think that buying a pricey 5K Apple Studio display might be worth it for optimal performance and display sharpness, instead of saving money on a non-Apple 4K display. Unfortunately I don’t have an accurate opinion on this because the non-Apple 27" display connected to my Mac uses the old, non-Retina 2560 x 1440 pixel dimensions. I do think macOS text/UI quality is not as good as it could be at 2560 x 1440 px (some say it was better in older versions of macOS), so I have added BetterDisplay software (paid) that offers a different scaling algorithm that I think makes 2560 x 1440 look better on macOS.

Votes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Explorer ,
Mar 04, 2024 Mar 04, 2024

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

LATEST

Conrad, thank you for taking the time to explain this. Complicated stuff, for me anyway—but I understand it much better now than I did a little while ago!

Regards, Malcolm

Votes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines