Tech – for Everyone

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

Methods For Making Text Larger

A How To for Windows 7, Vista, and XP

Sometimes I find the size of the print on certain websites a bit too small for comfortable reading. When that happens, I simply hold down the Ctrl key, and use the mouse scroll wheel to increase (or decrease) the text size. This “zoom” (or shrink) only affects the current window.

[The “keyboard shortcut” Ctrl + “+” (bigger font size) and Ctrl + “-” (smaller) works the same way.]

If this is a constant problem for you, there are a couple of quick settings adjustments you can make that will make the items on your computer 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, strange as it sounds, 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“.

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

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

Click Apply, and you’re done.


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.

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.
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.

[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(s):
• 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.

Five tips for becoming a superstar blogger (humor)

Want to increase traffic to your blog by five thousand percent? These simple tips are guaranteed to work!

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<

July 20, 2011 - Posted by | advice, computers, how to | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Paul, I’ve been messing around with these settings off and on for a couple of weeks now, and the DPI adjustment was what worked best for me too. Unfortunately, it works on everything BUT individual web pages. I’ve gone into my Firefox (v5.01) Options, Content, Advanced settings, and then unchecked the “Allow pages to choose their own font, instead of my selections above” checkbox – only to discover that I hated the results that gave me. So I “played” with the settings a little (there are so many ways to go), which only made things worse. I ended up checking that checkbox again.

    So now I have two problems. First, I don’t remember the original fonts and sizes and there is no longer a “Reset To Defaults” button. Second, I have no idea of which combination of fonts and font sizes would ultimately work best for me.

    Any thoughts?


    Comment by IzaakMak | July 20, 2011 | Reply

    • IzaakMak,
      I am assuming you are asking how to restore Firefox.. and not the monitors’ “Display settings”
      You can reset user preferences to the default values by manually removing the preferences file from the profile folder..

      1. Exit Firefox completely
      2. Open the Firefox profile folder. [Caution: There is also a folder named “profile” in the Firefox installation directory that contains program defaults, which some users mistake for the Firefox profile folder that stores user data. Windows users should read this to find the profile folder that contains your user data and preference settings.]
      3. Delete (or move to backup) the prefs.js file. (If you find multiple numbered prefs.js files or a read-only “prefs.js.moztmp” file, delete those files as well and see this article).
      4. Delete the user.js file, if found, or move it to a backup location (this file does not exist by default).

      When you next reopen Firefox, it will rebuild the prefs.js file from program defaults. This will restore the default values of preferences displayed in about:config and restores the default theme.


      Comment by techpaul | July 20, 2011 | Reply

      • Thanks Paul. These steps won’t cause me to lose my bookmarks, passwords, and add-ons will they?


        Comment by IzaakMak | July 20, 2011 | Reply

        • They shouldn’t ‘be lost’, no. But I am always careful to either “rename” the file (by putting “old” in front of it, so it would be “old_pref.js”, for example) or moving the originals to a different (backup) place. (Better than “deleting”.) So I can simply go back to the way things were, if I need to. (by re-renaming w/o the “old”)

          I copy > pasted (to save typing) that from this article, which gives several methods, and is a good read.
          You may prefer going into about:config and making case – by -case “resets”.


          Comment by techpaul | July 20, 2011 | Reply

Post your Comment/Question

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: