How to increase system font size?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by braindog, Dec 2, 2005.

  1. braindog macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2005
    #1
    Hi everyone, I am running a 30" cinema display, and the text, especially that of the menus, can get very small. In Aperture, I have to strain to see the names of file names and menu selections. Is there any way to increase the font size system-wide without lowering my resolution? I'm not talking about the Finder font sizes--I've already done that. I've tried Tinker tool and Quartz Debug, but those are imperfect solutions. Tinkertool does not seem to have any effect, and Quartz only works for certain applications. Many programs don't run properly, such as Photoshop, and Aperture won't even start. Coming from the PC world, it seems odd that Apple does not offer these display options, especially considering their reputation for graphic design, video editing, etc.

    I'm tempted to return the Quad and just hook up the cinema display to my PC. As sleek as OS X and the Quad might be, I'm not willing to go blind for it!

    Any suggestions?
     
  2. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #2
    Look into the Displays preferences pane. Among other things, it allows you to change the display resolution--instantaneously.
     
  3. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    Apr 3, 2004
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    Adelaide, Australia
    #3
    Graphic designers generally have very sharp eyesight so high resolutions (particularly on the top-of-the-line 30 inch display) are a good thing. It makes the screen more efficient in terms of how much it can show at any one time.

    Whilst reducing the resolution will make things appear larger for you, it'll also look like crap because LCDs don't run non-native (maximum) resolutions particularly well, irrespective of the operating system but I think you've already worked that out. Maybe look at the Universal Access pane in the System Preferences to enable zooming. This isn't an ideal solution but it'll make some apps appear larger for you. :)

    Tell us more about these faulty apps. What exactly happens? :)
     
  4. braindog thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 12, 2005
    #4
    Yeah, I definitely don't want to lower the resolution because it does look like crap in a non-native mode. I tried the zooming and it's a bit cumbersome to use. Are there any plans to include scalable fonts in the future? Maybe 10.5?
     
  5. stridey macrumors 65816

    stridey

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    Jan 21, 2005
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    #5
    I believe it's actually possible now, via TinkerTool. :D
     
  6. iMeowbot macrumors G3

    iMeowbot

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    Aug 30, 2003
    #6
    Apparently yes. There is (buggy and limited) support in Tiger for this. If you have the Xcode tools installed, you can change the display resolution with the Quart Debug futility. Right now programs generally have to be restarted to notice resolution changes, and lots of them have built-in 72 dpi assumptions that will get in the way.

    I wouldn't bet money on this feature appearing complete and working in 10.5. It would be nice if it happens, but Apple have made unfinished features go away before.
     
  7. braindog thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 12, 2005
    #7
    I've tried that, but it doesn't work for most programs.

    As for Quartz Debug, many programs won't even run--Aperture crashes, for example.

    So I guess I'm out of luck? In that case, the Quad G5 is going back! I guess I'll be switching back to PC until Apple offers what I need. :(
     
  8. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #8
    Well, that's a different matter and one which can probably be solved. Honestly, I'm surprised that you'd give up a quad for a PC.
     
  9. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    #9

    Yeah, I made a small attempt at getting some info out of braindog but haven't got anywhere. It seems a little odd for someone to put down the cash for a Quad and a 30 inch display, complain about the menu size, and return it...
     
  10. braindog thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 12, 2005
    #10
    Sorry, I missed your inquiry earlier. With Aperture and Quartz running, the program just refuses to start and crashes. As soon as I move it back to 1.00, Aperture works again. With Photoshop, increasing Quartz to 1.2 or 1.5 results in buggy menus, again--unusable. Since I bought the Quad and display primarily for Aperture, not having a workable solution for increasing font size kills it for me. I've scoured google for hours trying to find a solution, but it seems there are only halfway ones at this point.

    My 14 days are almost up, which is why I have to make a decision on returning it.

    Going back to the PC is not a big deal, especially considering that OSX86 is now running at near full-functionality, and people have even gotten programs like Final Cut and Logic to run on a PC.
     
  11. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    Adelaide, Australia
    #11

    Yeah, it was only a small attempt so no need to apologise. :p

    That's fair enough. What app do you use on the PC instead of Aperture?



    Erm, you won't have any more luck on OSX for X86, not to mention it'll be illegal, less functional and unsupported. Plus, it won't give you larger menu sizes. :(


    Aperture is a very new app and Apple are still ironing out a few bugs with it. Hopefully they'll get a fix for the Quartz problem soon though.
     
  12. braindog thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 12, 2005
    #12
    Umm.. there is no PC equivalent right now :(
    Aperture is incredible--I love it so far, but I can't see a damn thing!
    Reverting to PC would mean going back to Capture One Pro (which is pretty decent).

    I hope so. I already emailed Apple about it. Quartz works great for Firefox. I wish it would work with Adobe and Apple apps!
     
  13. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    Apr 3, 2004
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    Adelaide, Australia
    #13

    Yeah it sucks but I don't see reverting to a PC as an option, well, certainly not reverting to some X86 OSX hack.

    Apart from recommending glasses ( :p ), I guess you could look around the Aperture preferences to see if there's an option to make the palettes more readable. I doubt there will be and Google has been surprisingly useless (I don't have Aperture to check for it personally). Another option may be to increase the display's contrast settings( Universal Access again), however this would seriously impinge on how you see the images in the first place. It's not really an option, but I thought I'd mention it anyway.
     
  14. killmoms macrumors 68040

    killmoms

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #14
    Honestly, I think the OP just needs some glasses. All of Apple's Cinema Displays have approximately the same resolution—right around 100 pixels per inch. The OS widgets are pretty much the same physical size on each display at its native (highest) resolution. The Pro apps are designed to have smaller, palette like controls so they get out of your way and let you work on the content, which is the important stuff. Either get some glasses, sit a little closer, or tough it out. Most people actually criticize Apple for their widgets being too LARGE, believe it or not. Certainly the default font sizes for menus and title bars and such is much larger than on Windows. Unless we're talking about palette menus, in which case it might be a little bit smaller.

    As for why Quartz 2D Extreme scaling doesn't work right yet, that's because it's not a supported feature in Tiger. The technology is there, it's being worked on, perhaps Apple thought they could get it working within a few updates, but at this point it's pretty clear that it's not going to debut until Leopard. As for why apps crash or don't work right when you turn it on—that's because it's a non-supported feature. Developers aren't coding their apps to be compliant with its guidelines.

    Seriously, I think you just need some glasses. I have never heard a single person complain about the default size of widgets on Apple's 100ppi displays. I mean, honestly. Returning a Quad and a 30 because the widgets are a bit small? Why not just do some useful work with the machine to make some money until Leopard comes out? Then you can scale things to your heart's desire.
     
  15. iMeowbot macrumors G3

    iMeowbot

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    Aug 30, 2003
    #15
    It's really quite a legitimate complaint. All the interface elements are designed to be comfortable to use at 72 dpi, not 100 or more. Apple software has simply failed to keep up with current hardware realities.
     
  16. DXoverDY macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    #16
    SVG and Resolution Independence in 10.5 will solve this problem. however, it's at the very least a year away.

    i went to the Sommersett Mall (michigan) apple store and used a 30" Cinema Display and had zero problems seeing anything. it was smaller, but the dang thing is so big it more than makes up for it.

    i'd second the need for glasses. (i wear glasses :p ) so maybe that really is the issue. nothing like a good monitor to show you that you may need them.
     
  17. decksnap macrumors 68040

    decksnap

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2003
    #17
    Why not just return the LCD and buy a CRT or two? Then you can change the resolution for whatever situation you need it. And get better color accuracy!
     
  18. DXoverDY macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    #18
    indeed. i've heard good things about the dell 24" monitor. might not be 30" but it's plenty big. i'm probably going to skip the 30" and do the 24" dell... much much cheaper and i hear it's also a better display. i honestly don't care if it says dell on it.
     
  19. Bedawyn macrumors regular

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    Jul 17, 2003
    Location:
    Asheville, NC
    #19
    Thank you, thank you! I'm so tired of hearing that those of us who like to see what we're doing are crazy, stupid or imagining things. Folks, I already have glasses and my vision with them is better than average -- and that doesn't change the fact that the OS X system fonts are too small for me to read comfortably. In Windows, you can change the default fonts to whatever you want. On pre-X Macs, you can change the default fonts to whatever you want. In OS X, you can't. It's not a question of changing your resolution but of a GUI usability issue that Apple has chosen to ignore.
     
  20. DXoverDY macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    #20
    again. it'll be fixed in 10.5 with Resolution Independent UI. you'll essentially be able to zoom the entire UI.

    EDIT: guess i shouldn't say "will be fixed" but the rumor has it that resolution independent display will be implemented in 10.5, it's partially there in 10.4 so i'd imagine that it'll be in 10.5. There's no way they could increase resolution any more than they have with the 30" without going this route, so if they plan to increase display size, they'll need to get it in before then.
     
  21. jeremy.king macrumors 603

    jeremy.king

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    #21
    Just move the monitor closer to your face.

    I read a 20" Dell (1680x1050) from a good 3.5-4' away and I don't have to strain my eyes to read menus and my vision, like yours, is better than average. For Finder, I adjusted the font size and I have done the same for Safari as have been suggested...
     
  22. Bedawyn macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2003
    Location:
    Asheville, NC
    #22
    Sorry, the work and play I do on the computer happen to involve moving around, looking at things off the monitor, looking at the other computer, etc. Staying chained 6 inches from one monitor really isn't feasible.

    Changing the finder fonts and the fonts in what applications will allow it (too few do) makes the problem dealable (thank goodness, or I'd still be using 9), but it doesn't solve it. I still have to bump the font sizes two or three times every single time I open a document in Preview or Help Viewer or whatnot, instead of being able to change the default, and we can't do anything about the size of system messages or the font that appears in the Preferences window -- which wouldn't be a huge problem, except that there are approximately five million third-party apps that use that same font for more important things.

    As for 10.5, it's not here now, so it's irrelevant. I've given up expecting anything out of Apple anyway. I've just gone up to Tiger in the last month, and it's two big draws, Dashboard and Spotlight, I find ho-hum and annoying, respectively. I'm coming to believe that the more hype a new OS has, the less I'm going to like it. If in 10.5 they finally do fix what wasn't broken in 9 :rolleyes:, I'll be thrilled, but until it gets here...
     
  23. dubbz macrumors 68020

    dubbz

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2003
    Location:
    Alta, Norway
    #23
    braindog's not the only one having issues with Aperture and the font size...

    Link: Article p.2 (MR Thread)
     
  24. jayscheuerle macrumors 68020

    jayscheuerle

    #24
    Haha... Our eyesight is no better than any other professions and in fact, all the hours we spend in front of monitors can cause vision problems to surface earlier in life than those that don't spend all day staring at a light emitting screen, focusing 18" away.

    I had 20/15 vision when I was younger and had to get glasses at 34 or 35 as one eye had dropped to 20/40. The glasses, even though they effect just one eye, make all the difference, especially when it comes to vision fatigue. It wouldn't hurt for the poster to get his/her eyes checked.
     
  25. Alan London macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2009
    #25
    As a new Mac user I'm looking to solve exactly the same problem over 3 years later. As an older user with eye problems I bought a shiny iMac with a 24 inch screen thinking I could compensate for having to look at larger fonts (as I did in Windows by simply setting the defaults. I was appalled to find that system fonts cannot be reset on Mac.

    Anybody know if Snow Leopard will bring a solution?
     

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