Larger Text With DPI Scaling

     This article is for amateur radio operators with impaired vision who want larger size text on their computer monitor. To make text and on-screen items larger, the Windows operating system gives you the option of changing the dots per inch, or DPI, scaling. The tradeoff is that less information will fit on your screen.

     A larger DPI setting enlarges objects and text on the desktop and in many application programs. It does not affect pages displayed in a browser window (such as Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox), which you can enlarge with the Zoom command.

Changing DPI

     To change the DPI scaling in Windows Vista and Windows 7, right-click on an empty area of the Desktop and select Personalize. Click on Adjust Font Size (DPI) in the left pane. Enter your password at the prompt, and the DPI Scaling Window will open, giving you a choice between Default Scale (96 DPI) and Larger Scale (120 DPI)—a 25% increase. (The procedure for Windows XP is similar:  Right-click on the Desktop→Properties→Appearance Tab→Font Size menu.)

     At a higher DPI setting, less of the original Desktop is visible, so the icons will probably be rearranged. None are lost, but some may be temporarily hidden behind others until you drag the top icon to another location.

     With Windows Vista and Windows 7 you can increase the scaling even higher than 120 DPI. This option was added to improve the image on high resolution screens that have a higher pixel density than commonly used monitors. The Custom button in the Scaling Window opens the Custom DPI Setting Window. A drop-down menu shows four preset options (100%, 125%, 150%, 200%) as well as a ruler image you can drag to increase the setting by up to 500%.

     The Larger Scale 120 DPI setting is a good choice that avoids the problem of losing access to objects at the outer edges of the desktop:

     At DPI settings above 120 the DPI Setting Window will enlarge to the point where the OK control button disappears below the bottom edge of the screen and out of reach with a mouse. In that case, after selecting a new setting in the top part of the window, press the Tab key twice. This moves the cursor to the hidden button, and you can press Enter to apply the new setting.

     While most on-screen items are larger at higher DPI settings, some objects, such as the image of the transceiver and controls in the CQ100 application, remain the same size. In the EchoLink window the text size increases with DPI, so long call signs may over-write the station location information. Although the column width is adjustable, it reverts to the original width when the application is restarted.

For More Information

     There is a link to the Windows Help page in the DPI Scaling Window.


     Thanks to NJ3H for suggesting DPI scaling with EchoLink.

Author Information

     Peter DeNeef, AE7PD, is an Extra Class amateur radio operator in the U.S. This web site has no ads or conflicts of interest.
Email: hamradioandvision "at" gmail "dot" com.

rev. 11/5/2011

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