I have a 17" widescreen mac book pro (1920 x 1080) and find it hard to read the small fonts in the finder menu and in the Finder let hand panel even though my vision is good. Even the font's in most applications appear small. I know certain applications will allow you to configure font size but I'm really looking for a system-wide/global solution.

I have tried several solutions such as:

 1.> defaults write NSGlobalDomain AppleDisplayScaleFactor 1.5
 2.> User Interface Resolution with Quartz Debug application

and both these mothods/features seem incomplete in that the GUI elements are not scaled smoothly.

I also tried lowering my monitor resolution but that wasn't ideal cause the display gets a bit blurry.

  • I think I don't get what exactly you want! because you can use zoom tool (right-down corner) to increase font of files and folder. do you want something else?
    – Am1rr3zA
    Aug 25 '10 at 4:14
  • Basically I want to increase the display scale factor to have a bigger (in size) menu bar that'll allow: 1> increased font size for Menu Bar and the left panel of the Finder Window 2> larger 'close', 'minimize' button on the menu bar Using zoom-in and out constantly does get tiresome and decreases work efficiency. I am a graphic designer and use Adobe tools such as Flash, Photoshop, Dreamweaver extensively. I can't use my macbook pro much because of tiny font and GUI elements. Feels like I bought an expensive piece of paperweight.
    – Switesh
    Aug 25 '10 at 5:17
  • You're asking for resolution independence, which Mac OS hasn't fully achieved yet. The best you'll get is probably AppleDisplayScaleFactor.
    – zneak
    Aug 25 '10 at 6:34
  • 1
    'mac resolution independence' forums have been around 2007 and some claim that apple confirmed it would be available with Leopard but nothing has happened. Anyways, Thanks for you help guys.
    – Switesh
    Aug 25 '10 at 7:00
  • 1
    Any updates on this with the latest Maverick?
    – yurkennis
    Oct 23 '13 at 14:48

You can use TinkerTool to change the default system fonts and increase their size.



Sorry I forgot to mention earlier, I've also tried tinker tool. While it does increase the font size for most mac apps it doesn't allow customizing other apps (such as the adobe suite that I tend to use day in day out). Also another aspect the problem for which I require a solution is UI resolution (I know mac doesn't fully support it yet). The toolbars and other panels in the adobe suite is are so tiny that it's almost a nightmare to use it. I do get around it sometimes by changing to a lower resolution like 1200x800 but it isn't effective cause it display get blurry (due to non-native resolution).

  • The Mac OS X system is quite limited in what you can do in this regard. As the TinkerTool example states, "Only native Mac OS X applications will respect your personal font preferences", and Adobe products are definitely not in this category. Adobe products are known for their tiny user interface fonts and graphic elements. Adobe has never provided any relief for this to Mac users.
    – user9290
    Aug 31 '11 at 21:07

Try holding down the <Ctrl> key and scrolling the mouse wheel up. This zooms in to the part of the screen where the mouse cursor is located.

<Ctrl>-scroll mouse wheel down to zoom back out to normal level.

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