Tech – for Everyone

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

Reader Asks How To Make Icons Bigger

A reader wrote in with a good question..

Q: Paul I hope you can provide a solution I have been unable to find elsewhere. I purchased a new Windows 7 computer from Dell. I find the notification area and the date/time display too small. I already have “Use Small Icons” unchecked, and I do not want to reduce my screen resolution, but would like the icons to be larger. Any suggestions? Thanks!

A: I am going to read between the lines a bit here, and assume from what you have written that you have already explored changing the various Display settings, and further, that you are referring specifically to the icons.

(But, if you haven’t, you can try scaling the DPI.
Right-click on your Desktop, choose Personalize (or, go to Start button > Control Panel > Display, and in left column select Custom DPI setting.) In the left column, click Adjust Font size – (DPI). Click on Large scale (120 DPI), and click Apply. Or, Click ‘Set custom text size (DPI)’ in the left pane to customize the text size with the slider.)

Other than that, to make the Date/Time text bigger, you might try a 3rd-party ‘tweak’ tool (I’m fairly sure there’s some out there..) but to make the icons themselves bigger, well, I am afraid my answer is you are (most likely going to be) out of luck.

(Most of) The Notification Area icons are created and installed during the installation of your various programs (usually “3rd-party”), and it has been long a standard that these “activity” icons be quite small. To the best of my current knowledge, that isn’t a Windows “setting”. And I know of no way to change them.

If this is really a problem for you, you might try placing a “stick on” (plastic sheet/”film”) magnifying “lens” down in that corner.. sorry I don’t have a better answer. Perhaps someone out there can provide a different (happier) answer?

Here is what Microsoft has on this subject: Change how icons appear in the notification area.

Today’s quote:Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves.” ~ Ronald Reagan

Copyright 2007-2012 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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February 23, 2012 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, Microsoft, tweaks, Windows 7 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

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“.
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.

[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.


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July 20, 2011 Posted by | advice, computers, how to | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments