Changing system font size

Discussion in 'iMac' started by lexvo, Nov 13, 2011.

  1. lexvo macrumors 65816

    Nov 11, 2009
    The Netherlands
    My father is on the brink of buying an iMac. There's one thing however that looks like going to be a deal breaker: you cannot change the system font in OS-X (like in Windows which he uses now).

    My father is in his mid-70s and his eyes are not as good as some years ago. But even I find the fonts sometimes quite small on my 27" iMac.

    I am aware of the following options, but they are not complete solutions:
    - change the font in Finder: only Finder is affected, not the rest
    - change the screen resolution: makes all things bugger but is plain ugly as well
    - use of cmd + and -: not handy if you have to do that every time

    Is there any solution that I possibly missed?
    (I had hoped that OS-X Lion would have the option to change system font size, but alas).
  2. NMF macrumors 6502a


    Oct 27, 2011
    At first I turned off "font smoothing" for anything size 12 and under; this made the transition from Windows a little bit easier. As for everything else, I haven't found anything. I've upped the font size in Safari to a minimum of 14 which is great for surfing the web. With that and Finder you should be able to cover most of what your father will be doing...
  3. marlenez macrumors newbie

    Aug 25, 2008
  4. Spike88 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2010
    Tinkertool only changes the font sizes of text that can be changed. It cannot change the text used within application graphics - like within application menu / status bars.

    At this point in time, Mac OSx does NOT allow small/medium/large (aka: Global DPI ratio settings). Only Windows x allows this feature. For example, Windows 7 - Control Panel\Appearance and Personalization\Display panels. If wondering, I love using Windows 7 at 125%. Wish Mac OSx had this same feature as well. Perhaps within next Mac OS version...
  5. tom vilsack macrumors 68000

    tom vilsack

    Nov 20, 2010
    ladner cdn
  6. lexvo thread starter macrumors 65816

    Nov 11, 2009
    The Netherlands
    Thanks all for your replies.

    Tinkertool comes the most close I guess. But there isn't a overall solution for setting the font size systemwide (thus including menu's etc..).

    Best thing for my father is to overthink if he can live with some part solutions.
  7. interrobang macrumors 6502

    May 25, 2011
    Also consider a Mac mini with a third-party monitor with a lower PPI ratio. That will keep the displayed size larger even though the point size is the same.

    If you do get an iMac, consider the 21.5" model, which has a lower PPI than the 27" model.
  8. Spike88 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2010

    Within my shop, I pick the best tool for the job. Trying to fit an inappropriate tool for the job is both dangerous and frustrating. And, its a time waster as well. For example, using a sharp knife when a hammer & chisel should be used instead.

    With above in mind, what does your age 7x do with a computer? Simple email, simple word processing / print? Have a greater need for larger size fonts than other features?

    Perhaps the "lower cost" Windows system is better for him? Especially if he's been using Windows systems for many years. Ya. Being on a GM forum and telling a person to buy a Dodge is nerving. But with your father's needs and wants in mind (and perhaps limited dollars - being on fixed income), the Windows x system might fit him better.

    If wondering, my age 73 father would be happy with a Win xx tool. Especially for his simple email, file/print, U-tube surfing and google search tasks. Stuff that a Windows machine does quiet well (for a fraction of the cost).

    Something to think about...
  9. lexvo thread starter macrumors 65816

    Nov 11, 2009
    The Netherlands
    Thanks, I will look into this.
    And if an iMac, it would be a 21.5" anyway.


    You have got a very good point here.

    As a matter of fact, my father-in-law also considered an iMac. But he eventually choose for a Windows machine, costing 60% of the cheapest iMac. And he's very happy with it :)

    I told my father that a Windows machine might be an option for him. The thing is, some other family members all have Macs and they tell my father of course how great it is and stuff :)

    But I agree with you: it is an option to be seriously considered.
  10. Comeagain? macrumors 68020


    Feb 17, 2011
    Spokane, WA
    I third (?) the suggestion to just stay with the Windoze system.

    But, if you do still get the Mac, holding [Control] and scrolling will zoom the entire system.
  11. thekb macrumors 6502a

    May 8, 2010
    Change resolution

    I'll commit an act of heresy now, but I have the resolution set on my iMac lower than standard. If I set the resolution at the full 2560 x 1440, I would require a microscope to read text on websites and I am not that old (42), nor my eyesight all that bad.

    When you first change the resolution, it looks a bit off, I confess. But, I promise that if you use it that way for a few minutes, you kind of get used to it.

    It's great to have the higher resolution available when viewing pictures at full size and editing, but for everyday reading, the lower resolution ain't all that bad. Sorry, but it is true for me.

    If you put the display icon in the menu bar, it is child's play to adjust the resolution on the fly.
  12. tj2001 macrumors regular

    Dec 7, 2003
    Florida - USA
    The Hidden Gem Option?

    Awesome suggests and possible options but I can't believe NO ONE mentioned Universal Access in the System Preferences. It may not be the best of picture but using the Display Inversion (screenshot attached) it can really make reading on screen much easier on the eyes!

    As for the budget, I know Macs are pricey, but their OS X is undefeated in my opinion. Go with a Mac Mini set-up to keep your costs the lowest.

    Attached Files:

  13. Dal123 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 23, 2008
    I use column view in finder, however the text is so small. I have downloaded tinker tool. Is it possible to enlarge the font size in the finder as I'm missing documents because I cannot see them.
  14. bobright macrumors 601

    Jun 29, 2010
    I realize this thread is a bit old was just curious is TinkerTool still the best option for making the system font bigger?
  15. rutledjw macrumors member

    Aug 11, 2011
    Dang, I was wondering the same. Sorry for the "nothing" reply, but I'd like ot know if there is a solution as well. Loving my 15" retina MBP, but would love a smaller font!
  16. Steve Ballmer macrumors 6502

    Steve Ballmer

    Oct 2, 2009
    Redmond, WA
    I just tried it out on Mountain Lion and it has the same limitations as mentioned earlier: it can only alter the fonts within applications, not the system. So the menu bar font won't change, for example.

    The only way to replace the system-wide font is to make a backup of Lucida Grande and then overwrite it with another font of your choice.

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