f.lux – Adjust Your Monitor Throughout the Day

How many times have you been sitting at your computer late at night and thought ‘just thirty more minutes’? The next thing you know it is 4:00am and you need to be up early for work. It could be that it is your monitor that is keeping you awake due to being too bright, and it could also be the source of eye strain, headaches and much more.

Had enough of feeling this way? f.lux is a great free tool that can be used to adapt the color of your monitor to suit the time of day.


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Most monitor manufacturers will proudly boast about how bright their displays are. In certain lighting conditions this is great – you want your screen to be as bright and clear as possible. But if you have a late night session at the keyboard, sitting in front of a glaring display can be counter-productive.

In a dim room, the monitor that seemed perfectly configured for daylight will probably now be far too bright. This can lead to eyestrain and there are few people who want to take the time and effort to manually adjust monitor settings throughout the day as ambient light levels change.

f.lux is available free of charge and could help make your computer far more pleasant to use at night.

f.lux is available free of charge and could help make your computer far more pleasant to use at night.

f.lux is a great free utility that can be used to automatically adjust monitor settings throughout the day. When time starts to creep on and the world is a slightly darker place, your screen can be set to dim, while in the glare on the midday sun it make sense for things to be a good deal bright.

Grab yourself a free copy of the program by paying a visit to the website and clicking the ‘Download f.lux’ button. Save the file to your hard drive, run through the installation in the usual way and you’re ready to get started.

f.lux calculates where you are to determine sunrise times and current lighting levels.

f.lux calculates where you are to determine sunrise times and current lighting levels.

This app is also available for mobile devices, and the likes of the iPhone and Android phones have light sensors built in that can be used to ascertain lighting conditions. This is not something that is possible with a regular monitor so the program works with your location instead.

It may be the case that f.lux is able to correctly determine where you are but it’s a good idea to check to make sure. Click the ‘Your location’ link at the bottom of the program window and you’ll be presented with a dialog asking for your longitude and latitude.

The program will attempt to determine your location, but you may need to help it out.

The program will attempt to determine your location, but you may need to help it out.

It’s unlikely that this is something you will know off the top of your head, so click the Locate button and then perform an online search using the Google map on the f.lux website.  Enter your postcode, zip code, nearest city, or a place you are planning on visiting and you’ll be given co-ordinate to copy and paste into the main program window.

The f.lux website can be used to calculate your longitude and latitude if you don’t know it.

The f.lux website can be used to calculate your longitude and latitude if you don’t know it.

You can check to see exactly what f.lux will do throughout the day by running through the 24 hour preview. Just click somewhere on the sunrise/sunset chart and the sun icon will cycle through the day and your screen settings will change accordingly.

You’ll notice that when the simulator reaches sunset, your screen turns warmer and dimmer, adopting settings that are much gentler on the eyes. But you do need to ensure that the program is not only adjusting settings according to daylight conditions, but also the electric lighting you are working with.

Click the Change Settings link to the upper right of the program window, or right click the system tray icon and select the Change Lighting option.

For the best results, f.lux needs to know what sort of lights you are using.

For the best results, f.lux needs to know what sort of lights you are using.

There are now two sliders for you to adjust, one for the type of lighting you will be using during the day, and one for what you’ll be using after dark. Configuring this setting is a simple matter of moving the upper slider to the left or right to indicate whether you’ll be working with natural light or electric bulbs during the day, and then repeat the process for night time.

Let f.lux know what lighting you use at day and night so it can tailor settings appropriately.

Let f.lux know what lighting you use at day and night so it can tailor settings appropriately.

As you move the sliders, you will be able to see a preview of the settings f.lux will put in place so you can choose the level you want even if it does not necessary correspond to the type of lighting you’re working with.

The only other setting you need to concern yourself with is how fast or slow the transition between color settings should be – use the radio buttons to choose between a 20 or a 60 minute transition time.

When you’re happy with the settings, click Done and you can let f.lux take care of your monitor settings for you.

One potential problem with adjusting screen color temperature is that is does mean that colors are not reproduced entirely faithful. If you are working on a graphics project this could be an issue and rather than closing down f.lux completely, you can simply right click the system tray icon and select ‘Disable for an hour’.

Need proper color reproduction for a while? Disable f.lux for an hour with a couple of clicks.

Need proper color reproduction for a while? Disable f.lux for an hour with a couple of clicks.

It’s amazing how much of a help f.lux can be – it is much, much faster than constantly adjusting monitor settings by hand and the gentle transitions means that the app blends into the background and becomes unnoticed. Your eyes will love you for it!