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X11: Using large print when in high resolutionOn modern desktops the easiest way to do this is usually to set the software's DPI (dots per inch) value to something higher than the actual DPI. For example, if your real DPI is 96 and you say it is 160, you get a basic 167% zoom and can then make further adjustments to individual applications. (If the system-wide zoom is too big then the desktop manager might not fit on the screen, so it can be better not to set the DPI too high but to increase font sizes in applications. However, some increase of DPI can be useful.)
Your desktop's setup options should have either a DPI option or a scale-factor option. The details depend on your desktop environment:
Recent Gnome 3 (e.g. 3.32)Settings > Devices > Displays can scale up to 400%; Settings > Universal Access can change mouse cursor size; gnome-tweaks can set dark themes.
- Some programs set a "minimum window size" which will also be enlarged by the scale factor, and this can result in windows that are too large for the screen with some controls unreachable. If the application cannot be changed (for example because it is a proprietary program like Zoom) then you might be able to use Gnome's Alt-F7 + arrow keys (or if your keyboard has a "Super" key---sometimes called a "Windows" key---you can hold that while clicking and dragging with the mouse) to move the affected window partially off-screen at the top when you need to bring its bottom part on-screen.
Earlier Gnome 3.xSet the scaling factor from the command line as follows:
dconf write /org/gnome/
Gnome 3 also has software magnification available under Universal Access / Zoom (or via keyboard shortcuts: hold down the Super "Windows" key and Alt, and 8 to toggle or +/-) but this can be unresponsive on some machines and can also make Gnome 3's top-left "Activities hotspot" more disorienting.
Gnome 2.xUse System Preferences > Appearance > Fonts > Details > Resolution (DPI).
Cinnamon 3try Menu > System Settings > Fonts > Text scaling factor (set it to 1.7 or whatever); takes effect on most parts of the desktop immediately, and the taskbar after a restart
LXDESet the DPI from the command line as follows (you can put this in a shell script and set it to run on startup):
echo "Xft.dpi: 160" | xrdb + - &&
if killall -w -u $(whoami) lxpanel pcmanfm; then
pcmanfm --desktop --profile LXDE &
openbox --replace &
You may wish to run obconf and set Openbox to put the Maximize button on the left, so it is more easily reachable when a window sizes itself larger than the screen and you want to bring it back to screen size.
For a larger mouse cursor in LXDE, try the
crystalcursors package (you might need to select it in the "Appearance" or "Customise Look and Feel" settings). Also try
qt4-qtconfig for setting the font size of Qt applications.
KDE 5K menu > System settings > Display & Monitor > Scale Display.
Editor (for all the above)FSF Emacs 23+ can use TrueType fonts with the DPI setting; my emacs configuration files might help. Alternatively try
leafpadfor very lightweight situations.
All material © Silas S. Brown unless otherwise stated.
TrueType is a trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the United States and other countries.
Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corp.
Zoom is a trademark of Zoom Video Communications, Inc.
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