There is often a need to display logged information textually for real-time event-based supervisory tasks. Textual display design can follow several directions that reflect a tradeoff between a visual load and an operational load. The study reported here was designed in order to examine this tradeoff and its implications for such display design. An event-based monitoring and handling task was used with different event types having either a high or a low handling priority. The events were presented in four different display configurations varying in their degree of visual and operational load. The specific performance indices were event dwelling times, event handling proportion, and handling errors. In general it was found that the high priority events were handled faster and more accurately than the low priority events. In addition, performance with the various display configurations was dependent upon event type. These findings are discussed in terms of visual vs. operational load tradeoff and its context-sensitivity. Some implications for display design and further research on event presentation approaches are discussed.