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Changing Font Sizes in XP

A reader asked:

Q: I would like to know how to make the lettering on my computer larger. I know how to make the e-mail larger but I would like to be able to see the letters better on everything else.

Here was my answer:

A: Here are some ways:
1. Quickest and easiest is to change the display properties in Control Panel. Open Display Properties and click the Settings tab. Then change the Screen Resolution to 800 x 600. When you click OK, read the resulting box, click OK & the screen will go black for a few seconds and return in the larger mode with a box that says "Your desktop has been reconfigured. Do you want to keep this setting?" You must click Yes or it will revert back.
2. In the same Display Properties dialog box, click the Apperance tab. In the Font Size drop list box, you have 3 choices: Normal, Large & Extra Large. Try Large & apply. If not big enough, try Extra large & apply.
3. There are controls in the Advanced area for individual items, but they get a little complex.
4. If all you want is to enlarge the Internet pages, Internet Explorer has a separate control that affects web pages only. Open IE. Click the View menu and select Text size. There are 5 sizes available.

I decided to include this in a web page since XP has made some minor changes and I can include some pictures. I recently installed some themes and they made some changes to font sizes which got me wondering how it was controlled.

I'll take #5 above and cover it first. Internet Explorer allows changing the font size on the fly. Open IE. Click View, then select Font Size. There are 5 settings. The next 3 figures display the differences at smallest, medium and largest.

Largest

Medium

Smallest

Note that these changes affect web pages displayed in IE only. It does not affect other programs.

There is another setting that affects how web pages display, including Fonts. Click the Tools menu and select Internet Options. On the General tab, click the Accessibility button:

Click the Accessibility tab

Web pages define colors and fonts. Checking these boxes allow you to remove the web page control so the selections you make control what you see.

If you decide to remove control of web pages from the the author, you can select different fonts by clicking the Font tab:

Click the Fonts button

You can set the web page font to your choice.

You can change the colors on a web page also:

Click the Colors button

To use your own colors,
uncheck the "Use Windows Colors" box and
set the colors you desire.

Where I use this is visiting pages with blue text on a black background. I cannot read the text because the contrast is poor.

Now back to our original discussion. Lets look at how we change Font size in all Windows programs. The first way we look at is by changing the display properties. To change display properties, open the Control Panel and select Display. (An alternate method is to right click the desktop and choose Properties.) There are 2 places to change fonts here. The first is in the Appearance tab. There are 3 basic sizes in the Font Size drop list.

Open the Display Properties in Control Panel or righ click the desktop & select Properties

Select the Appearance Tab. Change font sizes as shown.

That was the easy setting. Now we get to the next setting. Click the Settings tab and make changes as noted:

In the settings tab,
check Screen Resolution.
This is set at 1024 x 768

Move the slider to 800x600 and click Apply. The screen will go black. See next figure.

When the screen returns, it will display this message. Click Yes to keep the setting.

If you are changing from larger numbers to smaller numbers as in the above example, the display gets larger. If you go the other way (from 800x600 to 1024x768), the display gets smaller. Larger numbers (1280x1024, 1600x1200) make the display correspondingly smaller.

Making changes here changes the size of everything, not just fonts. Now there is one other setting that affects font sizes. In Display Properties, click the Appearance tab again and select Advanced.

In Advanced Appearance, Click the "Item" drop list and choose Active Title Bar.
The font information is displayed for this Item. You can change style or size

You can change each of the "Items" in the list individually. These are some of the things that get changed when you change themes.

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