Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Enlarge your text and icons for easier reading

A How To for Windows 7, Vista, and XP

For those of you who find themselves squinting at your screen, or having to lean in real close, just to be able to read that darn small text, there are a couple of quick settings adjustments you can make that will make the items on your screen bigger, without pushing everything off of the edges.

Microsoft calls these adjustments “Accessibility” settings.. which makes a certain amount of sense, if you think of reading your screen as “accessing” the information.

Tip of the day: Enlarge your fonts and icons for easier reading. The first and easiest way is to change the screen settings to a larger dpi (dots per inch), which is not the same thing as changing your screen’s resolution. Your screen resolution is determined (usually) by your monitor’s size, and should be set to the highest setting your monitor allows. This is the number of ‘lines’ drawn to create your screen image, and the more lines you have the crisper (sharper) your image will be, reducing the blocky effect called “pixilation.
However, increasing you resolution has the consequence of making the items on your screen smaller. But, that is what you want to do anyway; the higher the resolution the better.

To offset the shrinking effects of high resolution, (or simply to aid those with less than terrific vision) you may want to increase the dpi number.

Step 1: Right-click on any blank (non-icon) area of your Desktop. Then, click on the bottom menu choice — “Personalize” in Vista/Win7, and “Properties” in older versions.

I will demonstrate Windows 7 first. For older versions, scroll down:

Windows 7
On the bottom left, click on “Ease of Access Center“. Then click on “Make the computer easier to see“.
EoA

Then click “Change the size of text and icons“.
Win7opts

And, finally, you can use one of three presets, or set a ‘custom’ dpi size.
Win7_1

Click Apply, and you’re done.

Vista
dpi.jpg

Click on the menu link (on the left) “Adjust font size (DPI)”, and then click on the lower radio button and change the number from 96 to 120.
scale.jpg

Click Apply, and you’re done.

Windows XP
In XP (and older), there are a few more steps to get to the right menu. From the Display Properties window, click on the Settings tab. In the lower right is an “Advanced” button, click on it. This opens a new Properties window.
scrnprop.jpg
Here you will use the drop-down arrow under “DPI setting:” which allows you to choose 120, or “Custom”. The Custom offers a sliding scale to set the dpi, and you can fine tune your setting here.. perhaps you prefer 112 dots-per-inch. Make sure the “Apply the new settings without restarting” radio button is selected to avoid a un-needed reboot.

These steps will change the over-all appearance of items on your screen, and everything will be larger and easier to read. And things will not get pushed off the edges, which a magnification, or “zoom” tool can sometimes do. If you try this, and do not like the effect, or look, of 120 dpi, simply repeat these steps and set it back to 96.

For more vision-related settings adjustments, read this article as well.

[update: a reader comment has prompted me to make it clear that these Options have been a part of Windows all the way back to Windows 95]

[addenda: If you have tried these options, you may want to consider the purchase of a 22 (or larger) inch LCD monitor. Sure they’re more expensive, but It really does make a tremendous difference. I recently did this for my mother, and she can’t stop commenting on the “wonderful” improvement.]

Today’s free link: Authors, researchers, and teachers know the wonderful depository of information that is the Library of Congress. It is THE place for reference materials, digitized films, and everything ever published in the US. Much of it (if not all) is available online. Check it out, and be amazed.

Orig post: 10/22/07

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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October 9, 2010 - Posted by | advice, computers, how to, Microsoft, PC, tech, tweaks, Vista, Windows, Windows 7, XP | , , , , , , , , , ,

4 Comments »

  1. if you use Google Chrom, you can also type + for increasing, – for decreasing and 0 for normalising the textsize.
    but that, of course, only works in your browser.

    Like

    Comment by niels henrik hojbjerg | October 10, 2010 | Reply

    • niels henrik hojbjerg,
      Good to see you here again.

      I don’t use Chrome, so I will take your word for the tip. With the other web browsers, you need to hold down the Ctrl key as well.
      Ctrl + “+” = zoom in
      Ctrl + “” = zoom out
      Ctrl + “0” = restore to default

      (I’m beginning to think you are a fan of keyboard shortcuts.)

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | October 10, 2010 | Reply

  2. Thanks for the Information re dpi. However when I chose 120 dpi (from the other), all is fine except the desk Icons increased consderibly and some icons disappeared. I utilized the menu (view) and this doesn’t correct it to be smaller. Any help you can suggest, I would appreciate it. (My windows vista had been working fine but when I used the fix it (in general), my overall screen size diminished to 96 dpi–don’t know how this happend (96 is too small for me). Thanks for your help.

    Like

    Comment by shaw | December 16, 2013 | Reply

    • shaw,
      If I understand you correctly, what you want is the icons to stay the same size, but (only) the letters to be bigger. Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to separate that I can think of for Vista. You might try using the “Custom DPI” button, and try a size somewhere between 96 – 120. Or you might try lowering your screen resolution. And perhaps some combination of the two will find a workable solution.

      If you just need larger font in an application (such as Word, or your Web browser), you can hold down the Ctrl key and the + key to ‘zoom’ the text larger..

      .. you might also find a Microsoft Theme which uses larger text. I don’t know. I haven’t looked at Themes in 10 years. (Search “custom microsoft Vista themes”)

      .. and perhaps the Accessibility tool “Magnifier” would help you (but most people hate it).

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | December 16, 2013 | Reply


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