How to increase overall font size to prevent eye strain?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Awsed127, Jul 26, 2011.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Jul 24, 2011
    I just bought a mac the other day and I am already having piercing headaches and eye strain after using it only a bit.

    Could someone please tell me how to increase the standard fonts of the mac without messing with the resolution. I am hoping changing the font size in general (not just with some applications like safari) will help?

    Does anyone have other preventative ideas regarding this?
    Are there any third party applications or products that might help?

    I already tried messing with brightness, desktop image, sitting at a distance, color, to little avail.

    (fyi age and eye health are not factors, I'm in my 20s and wear glasses)

  2. macrumors member

    Jun 3, 2004
    This might not be the solution you're looking for, but you can zoom in if you hold down the 'control' key and rotate the scroll wheel on the mouse. If it's not working, check the Universal Access settings in System Preferences.
  3. macrumors member

    Jun 3, 2004
    One other thing, did you try all the resolutions? On my iMac, 1344 x 840 looks pretty good.
  4. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 24, 2011
    Thanks, meli, I have been zooming in to read things better however I wanted to set a standard font for the whole machine as opposed to zooming in all the time, and while I can do that on the internet some applications that come up really small I cannot zoom into. Do you have a solution for setting a standard font size that everything will show up in?

    I changed the resolution to a resoluation similar to what you have but the fonts are still small while the screen and browser windows are large.

    Do you also know of something that will make the screen less glossy and reflective, I don't know if that is causing my headaches as well but any ideas would be much appreciated. :)
  5. Spike88, Jul 26, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2011

    macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2010

    Using command + "+" key and command + "-" key are keyboard short cuts for increase / decrease fonts.

    Using 3rd party TinkerTool ( ) will allow over riding of many default text fonts. However, it won't change menu sizes or other items of fix graphic contents. In other words, graphic / font distortion will happen when fonts in a fixed text box are made too large.

    Changing the screen resolution size ( like 1344 x 840) will create "proper" porportional larger text and graphics. However, going with less resolution may remove some of its screen sharpness. re: Create unnatural edges around the graphics.

    Approx 11 months ago (after I got my mid-2010 iMac), I too starting investigating how to obtain larger size text / larger size graphics without distortion. Simple feature - that Windows calls DPI or Small/Medium/Large size fonting. Simple change of OS setting to 100%, 125% or 150% in a "single location", and all apps and OS screens would increase that amount - without distortion. Thus, NOT needing to play with many individual font settings within each applicaiton or within Tinkertool application. At that time, I was told to stop comparing Mac OSX to Windows and told to "stick a sock in it". Note to self: Don't mention a Windows feature against a MacOS feature on this form. Some folks get hostile and attack the poster instead of admitting their iMac cannot perform this simple configuration change - like the Windows system can.

    These are the items and lessons learned I discovered back then. For my iMac system, I found a combintion of Tinkertool and "eye strain on the things that cannot be changed" works for me... Changing screen resoliton size removed the sharpness of the screen. Why have a hi-res monitor if one cannot use it?

    Hoping future releases of MacOS will include a single setting that improves readability in both text and graphics without reducing screen resolution or play with 3rd party font sizing apps. Was told previous versions of Mac OS had this "single setting" of increasing DPIs feature (like Windows has), but they took it away.... Perhaps next Mac OS version will have this feature again???

    Hope this helps in your research....

  6. macrumors member

    Jun 22, 2011
    I have the same issue with eye strain on this 27" screen. I use pinch to zoom on every website, and adjust as needed. Two finger double tap also works well, but sometimes zooms in too much for what I want to look at.
  7. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 24, 2011
    Do any of you also think that eye strain and headaches have anything to do with the screen glare? Any solutions regarding screen glare?

    Also, do the newer 2011 macs have more of a glare or other issues that would cause this as opposed to the 2010 macs?

  8. macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2010
    Me thinks the headaches are from eyestrain - which is from reading too small size of text - for too long. Remember that font 10 on a low res monitor is a pitch 10. But on the his res monitor, that same 10 setting has a real size of "8" (when compared side by side against a low res screen).

    As a general statement, stronger (often younger age) eyes can adjust to small size fonts - without too much strain. But weaker (often older age) eyes struggle to strain at small size text - especially for a long period of time. To me, making the default size 10 to say size 14 on a higher compressed DPI screen is the answer. re: The 14 now reads like a normal 10 (on a high res monitor).

    If wondering, I fixed many of my application fonts to size 16-18 and my headaches (from eye strain) immediately went away. And, with large size fonts, I can now read the screen much longer as well. For my older age eyes, larger font size = much better.

    As a suggestion, manually change font sizes using CMD+"+" (hitting it a few times when application window is open) and see if your headaches (from eye strain) go away. If they go away (or no longer appear), then a gloss glass surface isn't the problem... It's the too small of default text size - that's giving you too much eye strain...

    Hope this helps as well....

  9. macrumors 68040

    Jul 18, 2011
    I experienced a similar problem when I first got my Imac. Eyes got tired easily and even experienced periodic headaches when using it.

    But 1-2 weeks later, it went away. I assumed it was because my eyes had gotten used to it. Now, I can look at it all day without experiencing any problems.

    Same thing with the small font, part of the problem is switching from windows where the font was larger. Now, even the smaller address bars seem normal to me.

    So my advice would not be to do anything at all. Your eyes should get accustomed to it soon enough. I too am in my late 20s and wearing glasses.
  10. macrumors member

    For those wearing glasses, your optician can make a pair with computer prescription. Someone might have already said this, I just did not see it!!
  11. macrumors member

    Jan 30, 2007
    What worked for me was the Safari extension "AllPagesZoom." How it works is you set the font size on a page like this by using Cmd++ to the size that reads easily for you. Once done, your font size will remain the same on all pages without having to reset it. Give it a try and see how you like it.
  12. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 24, 2011
    Thank you for your replies,

    My eyes are still sore but I have started to get used to things after zooming in and out. I am also going to tinker with the settings as suggested.

    However, apparently there is no way to make one standard font which is disappointing.

  13. macrumors 65816

    May 14, 2011
    Try THIS for Safari, it works a treat settings are flexible and the fix is permanent.
  14. macrumors newbie


    Jun 6, 2009
    Flux helps reduce screen glare and eye strain

    This has been a GREAT help to me in reducing screen glare!


    Tip: If f.lux is enabled when you are viewing videos you might want to disable it for an hour at a time or disable for the particular application.

    It is available for way-old Macs, Linux, Windows, iPhone . . .

    Well researched with some fascinating info about computer use, eye strain and sleep patterns:

    The impact of f.lux is greatest at night. Don't be afraid to set it to very low levels and then just let yourself get used to it.


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