ClickMonitorDDC: Easily Control Your Monitor Settings, Volume & More

ClickMonitorDDC: Easily Control Your Monitor Settings, Volume & More

ClickMonitorDDC is a small system tray program created by a fellow named Martin “mapini” with the purpose of making it fast and convenient to change monitor brightness and system volume levels, seemingly based on other brightness/contrast/volume changing utilities like ddcutil. As of June 8th, 2021, and likely since before November 7, 2020, ClickMonitorDDC’s website is no longer functional, although the program is still able for download on mirrors such as Softpedia or MajorGeeks for Windows 7, 8, and 10 64-bit devices. An archived page is linked above for more information.

What is ClickMonitorDDC?

ClickMonitorDDC’s system tray icons aside f.lux, ShareX, and Rainmeter.

ClickMonitorDDC’s main purpose is to provide a brightness control for your screen or monitor in the system tray, where it is easy to use, as opposed to going into the Windows settings app to use the slider there. Some devices, most prominently desktop PCs with external monitors, don’t have this slider in Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft has advised using the hardware brightness buttons on the physical monitor instead, although this can be more of a hassle and less favorable. In the screenshot above, the two pinkish-red numbers are the brightness values for my two monitors.

ClickMonitorDDC also has a volume control tray icon, denoted in blue in the screenshot above. This is a great alternative to using volume keys or shortcuts on a keyboard or going to the Windows sounds settings to change the system volume.

Using ClickMonitorDDC

The main CMDDC page, accessed by clicking on one of the system tray icons.

The main page shows a lot of information about a selected monitor and gives you control via slider over RGB values (if applicable), speaker volume (if applicable), saturation, brightness, contrast, and system volume. Here is a bit of a breakdown of each section:

Top: Monitor information and checkboxes

The top table will list every monitor connected to the operating system; in my case, this is two. The monitor’s name, brightness setting, contrast setting, and RGB values are shown in each column. Unticking the checkbox on the left will show a prompt of warning confirming you want to shut off the monitor.

Unticking the “colors, audio, input” checkbox will hide everything to the left of the brightness bar, rendering it impossible to change RGB values, saturation, and speaker volume from the menu, until the checkbox is ticked again.

The V-slider checkbox toggles the volume slider on the right, the V-Icon checkbox toggles the volume icon in the system tray, and the mute button will mute system volume.

Left: RGB, speakers, saturation, and inputs

RGB values, speakers volume, saturation, input, profiles, presets, and other controls.

Supported monitors also have sliders for RGB values, speakers volume, and display saturation. These RGB sliders will be disabled unless a User profile is selected (i.e. User1). Volume sliders are available only for monitors with speakers and a compatible connection; older monitors using a DVI or VGA cable will not be supported. HDMI, DisplayPort, and Mini-DisplayPort support audio and video signals; thus, the speaker volume slider is available if the monitor has speakers. The saturation slider changes the vibrancy of the display, with 0 being no color, and 100 being the most that ClickMonitorDDC offers, limited by the color range of the monitor. It is set to 50 by default.

The first dropdown box, the user profiles, are self-explanatory enough, allowing saving settings for use at different times. Under that is a list of inputs that are connected to your monitor, allowing you to switch between them without using the physical buttons on your monitor. The third box has a few presets: Standard, Mixed, Movie, and Games- presumably for those respective tasks if you find it hard to get to a satisfactory configuration. The last three buttons do exactly what they are labeled for: resetting the monitor configuration, powering it on and off, and rotating the display 90 degrees.

Right: Brightness, contrast, and volume controls

On the right-hand side is likely the side that will be used most. Here, you can drag the sliders to change the monitor brightness, contrast, and volume values from 1 through 100, or click one of the twenty-one buttons to choose a value in steps of five. Keep in mind that brightness and contrast cannot necessarily be compared between monitor brands or even between different models, so you will most likely end up with different values for each separate monitor if trying to attain an equal brightness.

Configuring ClickMonitorDDC

ClickMonitorDDC is very configurable. The settings menu can be brought up by right-clicking a system tray icon and clicking “Settings” or pressing the S key.

The general settings menu.

General Settings

The general settings menu is likely where most of the settings you configure will be. Most “main” settings relating to how the program runs and looks on your computer will reside in this panel, such as:

  • Autorun on login: Check if you want the program to start up with your PC on login. The path to the shortcut is labeled on the right.
  • Save settings in: Check if you want to save your settings in an XML file in the Program Files (x86)\ClickMonitorDDC directory; the path is on the right. The box right under that is identical except with the directory set under the user’s AppData folder instead.
  • Log File: Check to save logs. Pressing the button will bring up a dialog to allow you to change the location to save the file.
  • Monitor under cursor as default for commands: Command line users- check this to select this monitor as default if no monitor is specified when running a command.
  • Same laptop-brightness for battery/plugged: Ignore the changes in screen brightness caused by Windows’s battery optimization settings. This applies only to laptops, as desktops do not have this feature in Windows.
  • AutoClose: Close ClickMonitorDDC if the mouse is clicked with the cursor outside the window.
  • Show notifications: Show notifications when a hotkey is used.
  • Icon tooltips: Shows information about a select monitor when an icon is hovered over in the system tray. Name, brightness, RGBSV values, and profile are included.
  • The ones that have to do with values are pretty self-explanatory, knowing that the configuration represents the values in question.

The color of the icons and sliders can be customized based on the five values that can be displayed as icons in the system tray (brightness, contrast, volume, speaker volume, and saturation). The Windows color choice popup will be shown, giving you a choice between 64 preset colors and an RGB color picker.

The ClickMonitorDDC icons with either the anti-aliasing or non anti-aliasing settings selected.
The same icons with the “cleartype” setting selected.

Under the “smoothing icons” category, there are three options, “cleartype”, “antialiasing”, and “non antialiasing”. However, using the antialiasing and non antialiasing settings seem to do the same thing, which is not anti-alias the icons. This could be due to the version I have installed (7.2, the latest) or my screen resolution, or something else, but there doesn’t seem to be a way to have smooth, anti-aliased icons. The cleartype setting will add a black shadow around one and two-digit numbers. I think it looks a little bit horrendous, but that may be, again, due to my screen resolution.

System tray icon settings for each monitor.

The bottom box houses the controls for each monitor’s icon(s) in the system tray. Each monitor is listed, with the choice to change the font and select which values are shown in the system tray, with these being supported:

  • Brightness
  • Contrast
  • Brightness and contrast, combined into one icon
  • Speaker volume
  • Saturation

It seems that up to five monitors can be configured at once, although it’s unknown what will happen if more than five are connected.

Manage Mouse

The “manage mouse” settings menu.

The second settings menu is the “manage mouse” menu, which does exactly what it describes itself as. Mouse-related settings will mostly reside here:

  • Setting values to jump between when an icon is clicked on with the scroll wheel- for example, if the Brightness-icon setting is set to 0 and 50, hovering over the icon and middle-clicking will bring the value to 0; clicking again would bring it to 50.
  • Scrolling over an icon changes the value by a certain amount- for example, if the Contrast-icon setting is set to 5 and the contrast value is set at 50, scrolling up would change it to 55, 60, 65, etc., and scrolling down would change it to 45, 40, 35, etc.
  • Setting hotkeys to run a command-line script with modifier keys and the scroll wheel. Any combination of the Control, Alt, Shift, and Windows keys are able for use, as well as “forward”, “backward”, and “nothing” for the mouse wheel. Up to 8 configurations are supported. See below for a list of arguments for command-line usage.

I find the mouse wheel click shortcut useful, but the scroll one slightly less so, as I use Volume2, which allows scrolling from anywhere in the taskbar to change the volume (which is really the only value I need to change often) instead of a small icon in the system tray.

Manage Hotkeys

The “manage hot keys” panel.

Hotkeys, for any application, can be a big time-saver if they’re supported. ClickMonitorDDC allows hotkeys with any key combination to run a command-line script, much like the one in the “manage mouse” panel, just without the mouse part. Up to 15 hotkeys can be set. There also exists a repeat delay, an interval at which the command-line script will execute if the key combination is held down. See below for a list of arguments for command-line usage.

Manage Menu Entries

Managing menu entries.

Menu entries will pop up when notification icons are clicked or when the ClickMonitorDDC window is right-clicked. Above is the manage menu entries settings page showing the right-click menu with no added entries. This is useful for people who want to run stuff on the command line from within ClickMonitorDDC without a hotkey as opposed to from a file or directly from a command line or terminal. Clicking the “dump values” button will input the currently selected monitor’s settings in the next empty box.

Having a menu entry set to change my monitor to default settings.

Timer, Transfer, Limits

The “Timer, Transfer, Limits” panel in the settings menu.

The “Timer, Transfer, Limits” section focuses on time-based command-line executions, brightness and contrast limits per monitor, and inter-monitor settings changing.

  • Under “auto-run command-lines”, you can set up to eight commands that will run at a desired time. These can be toggled on and off to your need.
  • The “set limits for brightness and contrast” allows you to set maximum brightness and contrast values per monitor (maximum 8).
  • The last box lets you calibrate brightness between monitors, allowing you to set a fixed offset along with a multiplier for four different intervals, making it almost always pretty accurate.

I personally don’t use anything from here, although I may try and calibrate my monitors are remove the discrepancy that currently exists between them at some point in the future.

Auto-Run Commands

The “Auto-Run Commands” panel in the settings menu.

Finally, the Auto-Run Commands section is for setting commands to run as a result of another application starting, essentially identical to the time-based executions except using an application as a trigger. This can be useful for making the monitor brighter while playing a game, changing the contrast value while watching a movie, or turning off one monitor while taking a test. You can select a program with either the running programs list or selecting the executable from Windows File Explorer. At some point, I may tinker with this, but I don’t seem to have a use for it now; I find that a time-based trigger is much more useful to me than an application-based one.

ClickMonitorDDC and the Command Line

ClickMonitorDDC can also be used in the command line (this may be the Windows Command Prompt, PowerShell, bash, etc.), with a large array of possible settings that can be changed. Here is the mini-documentation from the “Help” button in the settings menu (also available on the ClickMonitorDDC site in case of formatting issues):

	optional                               Argument    optional    Value        Description
	If you are using multiple monitors,          b     + or -    0 up to 100    sets brightness (e.g. b 50)
	you can start command-line with              c     + or -    0 up to 100    sets contrast (e.g. c 47)
	selecting a special monitor,
	the following arguments will be              r     + or -    0 up to 255    sets red-luminance
	applied to this selected monitor.            g     + or -    0 up to 255    sets green-luminance
	If you do not select a monitor,              l     + or -    0 up to 255    sets blue-luminance (bl or l or i)
	the monitor under cursor can be
	auto-selected (option in Settings).          p               6500K          select color-temperature, User for changing colors
	You can select a monitor by monitorname,
	modelname, serialnumber, monitornumber       j               Standard       select monitor-specific presets
	or a self-defined monitorname.
	If you pause the mouse pointer over          s               HDMI1          select monitor-input (HDMI,DisplayPort,DVI,VGA)
	the listed monitor there will appear
	a tooltip-window with modelname,             k     + or -    0 up to 100    sets color-saturation/vibrance in graphics driver
	serialnumber and so on, but not all
	monitors deliver these informations.         o     + or -    0 up to 100    sets volume for monitor-speaker/Audio-out
	Monitornumber means position of the
	listed monitor, but using monitornumber      v     + or -    0 up to 100    sets default-volume
	is not recommended, because sometimes        m                              mutes default-volume
	windows changes positions.                   u                              unmutes default-volume
	If specifying monitorname, modelname
	or serialnumber, omit spaces,                n               0 or 1         disables or enables dimming
	for instance HP w2207
	must be written as HPw2207                   y               0 or 1         disables or enables using brightness for target
	or use "HP w2207"
	at least use two chars,                      ?                              notification for current brightness/contrast/volume
	so HP would do
	                                             w                              rotates display orientation clockwise by 90 degrees

	                                             x                              all monitors off (or specify monitorname x)

	                                             f                              restore default Monitor-factory-settings

	                                             t                              for instance  t b 0 c 0  t  b 90 c 80
	                                                                            toggles between b 0 c 0 and b 90 c 80

	                                             ;                              pauses 100 ms (can be used multiple times)
	                                             ,                              pauses 1000 ms (can be used multiple times)
	                                             #                              following commands are ignored
	                                             q                              terminates ClickMonitorDDC
	                                             z                              restarts ClickMonitorDDC
	                                             !                              starts any program e.g. ! notepad.exe
	                                             d                              returns current Monitor-brightness as errorlevel
	                                             e                              returns current Monitor-contrast as errorlevel

	                                                                            getVCP get_VCP setVCP read end of informations

	You can use multiple arguments in one commandline (max. 259 chars), e.g.  PL2779Q b + 10 c - 5 HPw2207 b 23 c 49 

Final Verdict

ClickMonitorDDC is seriously useful for me and one of the tools that I interact with every day to make my life easier- whether that’s to reduce the brightness on my monitor at night to reduce eye strain or change the volume quickly with my mouse. It can be seen as a Windows upgrade to the Linux-based ddcutil for those who may be familiar with it. I have yet to find any utility that offers the amount of customizability, ease of use, and power for what some may see as a simple task as ClickMonitorDDC. Thank you to Martin for creating this little tool that has helped a great many people with their monitor settings changing needs, and I hope that you enjoyed reading this review!