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I have a 24" iMac at home which at the max resolution (1920 x 1200) is very comfortable for me to see my desktop and read text.

Now at work I have a 27" iMac with a max resolution of 2560 x 1440 which with my poor eyesight makes text extremely tiny and hard to read.

If I decrease my resolution to 1920 x 1080 it's back to being very easy to read, though it makes text in some instances (most notably in terminal) quite blurry and hard to read.

So, how can I increase font sizes for all applications without decreasing my resolution?

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  • Guys, any updates on this with the latest Maverick? – yurkennis Oct 23 '13 at 14:47
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Apple doesn't have an option for you to do that. However, you can try TinkerTool. You can download it at no cost.

Screenshot taken from TinkerTool website.

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  • The latest version does not support changing system fonts – ManuelSchneid3r Mar 3 '14 at 14:48
  • Works for me, thanks a lot. I've been searching for this a long time. – Duc Tran Sep 10 '20 at 18:28
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Unfortunately, there is no system-wide way to make the content fonts larger across all applications without changing the resolution.

It is possible to change the fonts used by the system, as the other answer points out so well. You may find Tinker Tool to be enough of a solution for your problem.

This question attempts to step through how to make individual programs increase their font size, but it focuses on Lion, not Snow Leopard. Still, you may find some helpful tips there.

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I believe that this can be done with either Tinker Tool System or Mac Pilot, but not with Mountain Lion Cache Cleaner or Cocktail.

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The best way to make text easier to read on your Mac is to adjust it within each app you're using.

For example, to make email text larger and easier to read in Mail, go to Mail > Preferences, choose Fonts & Colors, choose Select next to Message font, and then select a font size.

In Messages, go to Messages > Preferences > General, and then move the Text size slider to the right.

You can also change the font size for desktop icons by right-clicking the desktop and choosing Show View Options. Move the Icon size slider to the right, and choose Text size to pick a different text size. To increase the size of items in the Finder and Mail sidebars, go to the Apple menu and choose System Preferences > General, select Sidebar icon size, and then choose Large.

There's also a zoom tool built-in to macOS

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From the age of this post, your 27" iMac is a pre-Retina model, with a pixel density of only 109 ppi (compared to a Retina display at twice that - 218 ppi).

Using a display resolution of 1920 x 1080 is using a scaling factor of 1.3 pixels, in order to map to the full size of the display. This, combined with the low pixel density means that text and images will be blurry.

Your best option is to set the display to full size, 2560 x 1440, and then display each window at a larger zoom factor or size where possible.

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