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I've connected 27" Dell U2715H to MacBook pro 2012 and have a default resolution 2560x1440. It looks nice but the font size is waaaay too small, so I had to lose some of this niceness by scaling down to 2048x1152.

I wonder is this a usual thing people do? I know this kind of displays (27" 1440p) are popular as an external MacBook monitors. As far as I know, it's not possible to change the global font size. I can't imagine how people go along with this tiny text by default with 1440p.

UPDATE:

A good question came up in comments about what do I consider a tiny font size, it's a good point, here's how it looks (full screen snapshots):

  1. Default 2560x1440:
  2. Scaled down 2048x1152:

My eyesight isn't perfect so I asked my colleague who wears glasses to take a look at it, he confirmed that it does look tiny.

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  • Have you contacted Apple ragarding this? The more people let Apple know about this, the better the chance they finally realise that this is really a big issue for many people, especially those comming to Mac from other, more advanced platforms (yes, Windows, Linux). Dec 11, 2021 at 8:07

3 Answers 3

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In my experience if you connect your monitor via HDMI it won't give the the font scaling options in System Preferences > Displays.

If however you connect via DisplayPort i.e. Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort it should give you the options similar to these:

enter image description here

There used to be some hacks to trick the monitor into switching into HiDPI mode but I couldn't personally get these to work on macOS High Sierra, but using a DisplayPort cable rather than either HDMI or Mini DisplayPort to HDMI did resolve the issue.

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  • A 27" Dell U2715H isn't a HiDPI monitor, though, it's standard resolution... & really they're crisp enough to read from the other side of the room at normal settings; so the question to be asked might be "What does the OP consider normal/tiny for a font?"
    – Tetsujin
    Aug 15, 2018 at 11:00
  • That's exactly how I scaled my resolution i.imgur.com/yZVWAZc.png, I guess that's the same thing as on your screenshot. I connect my display via a DisplayPort.
    – chingis
    Aug 15, 2018 at 11:03
  • @Tetsujin it's a good point, I've updated my post with snapshots for comparison. I feel how my eye strain with the default 1440p font size
    – chingis
    Aug 15, 2018 at 11:15
  • I wasn't saying that it is but the HiDPI feature lets you scale the UI and font. Aug 15, 2018 at 11:18
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There is a tool called BetterDisplay which makes the scaling option available for 1440p monitors: https://github.com/waydabber/BetterDisplay

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  • It looks like this is paid software, unfortunately, so not a permanent solution for someone looking for a free approach.
    – Tiago
    Oct 5, 2022 at 22:44
  • Well yes but actually no. You don't need the pro features in order to use scaling.
    – Jarzka
    Oct 7, 2022 at 5:17
  • Had to recheck a few things and the story becomes interesting. So, originally this app was completely free, and what it offered was a solution to the scaling problem using virtual dummies (virtual screens). AFAIK this feature still works and is available for free. Later, they added a new "easy scaling slider" feature, which made the scaling so much simpler, but the feature was also paid. So technically you don't need the pro license, but I would highly recommend getting it. At least for me, the "easy scaling slider" has been well worth it. Also, I'm not aware of any other app as good as this.
    – Jarzka
    Oct 7, 2022 at 5:46
  • 1
    WOW!, Thank you @Jarzka, This has at least set a smile on my face, i was disappointed as hell, luckily i found your answer. I am currently using Dell U2719DC QHD, and when connected it was defaulting to 1440p which is quite annoying and the maximum HiDPI provided by Mac OS (ventura) was up to '1280x720 HiDPI', which was quite annoying, The thing which better display helped me was giving me the option to use '2048x1152 HiDPI' (which perfectly scales the font pleasing my eyes). Wish Mac OS could have provided '2048x1152 HiDPI'
    – Sunil N
    May 6, 2023 at 18:46
  • Good to hear I was able to help.
    – Jarzka
    May 8, 2023 at 6:19
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My Dell U2719DC does the same.

The best solution for me was using my Mac set to 2048X1152 res since the higher resolution gives me the eye strain. The fonts are tiny too. Though I wish could use the higher res, it's way sharper overall.

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  • 1
    This is a common trade off. If the apps you need don’t allow you to bump up the text size in a reasonable manner, sacrificing overall pixel count is often the best we can do
    – bmike
    Jun 29, 2021 at 11:12

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