What is DDC/CI and How to Use It

Most monitors today will support a neat feature called DDC/CI, but not many people have heard of it, let alone know what it’s for or how to use it. This is partly because most monitors manufacturers are not inclined to develop proprietary software for it.

Display Data Channel / Command Interface (DDC/CI)

What is DDC/CI?

Display Data Channel (DDC) / Command Interface (CI) is a type of communication between the computer and the monitor. It holds a collection of protocols used to facilitate the transmission of display-related information between the computer display and the display adapter.

DDC essentially allows the monitor to inform the computer about it’s supported display modes. But even more important, a display data channel allows the user to oversee and change monitor features such as the brightness, contrast and color palette directly from their computer.

On a very basic level, DDC/CI provides the Plug & Play functionality to the monitor.  A lot of monitor models will have less than intuitive user interfaces, so it’s understandable why some users are looking for ways to avoid using the clunky buttons that many monitors models have.

The command Command Interface (CI) is the channel that the two involved parties (the computer and the monitor) are using to send and receive commands to each other. Some DDC/CI monitors can even support the auto-pivot technology – a rotation sensor built inside the monitor allows it to keep the display straight even if the monitor is physically moving in horizontal and vertical positions.

How to use DDC/CI

In order to use DDC/CI, you first have to ensure that your monitor is capable of supporting it. But if you’ve purchased your monitors in the last 3-4 years or so, DDC/CI should be supported.

There are some monitor manufacturers that have developed their own proprietary software that works with DDC/CI (such as Samsung MagicTune), but that obviously won’t work with monitors outside Samsung’s sphere.

If you’re looking for a universal program that will allow you to use DDC/CI regardless of your monitor manufacturer, we’ve got you covered. This is ideal those cases where you’re using a multiple monitor setup (from different manufacturers) – DDC/CI will allow you to gain control over all your active displays.

ClickMonitorDDC is a portable freeware tool that will allow you to adjust the brightness and contrast of any DDC compatible monitor just by adjusting a series of sliders. You’ll have easy access to your monitor’s controls at any time just by clicking on the software’s notification icon (in the Taskbar Tray area).

Here’s a quick guide on how to enable, install and configure DDC/CI using ClickMonitorDDC:

  1. Press the physical Settings button on your monitor, look through the settings to see if DDC/CI is enabled. If it isn’t, make sure that you turn it On.  As you can imagine, the exact steps of doing so will be different from manufacturer to manufacturer.
    Enabling DDC/CI from your monitor’s settings

    Note: Most models will have DDC/CI enabled by default, but it’s good to ensure that the option is enabled before you move to the next steps below.

  2. Visit this link here and click on Download Setup Version to download the latest ClickMonitorDDC version.
    Downloading ClickMonitorDDC

    Note: You can also download the portable versions, but our testing showed that installing it through Windows Install is much more stable.

  3. Once the download is complete, double-click on the ClickMonitorDDC installation executable and click Yes at the UAC (User Account Control) prompt to grant it administrative privileges.
    Note: Since the installer isn’t signed with a verified publisher, you might need to click Show more details and click Yes at the UAC prompt.
  4. Follow the on-screen prompts to complete the installation. You don’t have to change anything, just leave the default settings and click Install to complete the installation.
  5. Once the installation is complete, launch ClickMonitorDDC.
Using ClickMonitorDDC to control two different displays

When you launch the application for the first time, it will automatically detect all the monitors connected to your computer. We tested it on a dual-monitor setup (Asus + Acer) and it worked flawlessly. You can see all your connected monitor at the top, and you can control each one individually.

On top of adjusting things like the brightness, contrast and the volume of the built-in speakers, you can also switch the Input sources or power them off without having to physically press the power button.

You can also dive into the settings of ClickMonitorDDC to assigns custom names to your monitors and facilitate easy access.

Note: Keep in mind that not all monitors will allow you to change the contrast. Based on our investigations, this is typically occurring with laptop displays.

If you’re not fond of the UI interface of ClickMonitorDDC, we also found a few other free alternatives for you:

But keep in mind that these programs are either exclusive to a certain manufacturer or will require a technical person to do the initial configuring part. So if you’re looking for something simple that will allow you to set it up in minutes, I’d stick with ClickMonitorDDC.

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What is DDC/CI and How to Use It

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