Imac 27" headache

Discussion in 'iMac' started by MissNerdyTalker, Dec 29, 2010.

  1. MissNerdyTalker macrumors newbie


    Nov 8, 2010

    Sorry if this question has been asked a million times before but I'm new to Imac and I did a quick search and found nothing.

    I got an Imac less than 24hrs ago. With the Imac I find that I struggle to read things even with my glasses on. Is there ANY POSSIBLE way of changing the system font so I can make it larger? :confused: Trying to read things on the imac is actually giving me a headache because my eyes are straining so much.

    I'm using FireFox which is great because once you make the page larger (cmd & +) it remembers so when you go back there the page is still large and readable but things like the toolbar is unreadable. Some sites I've been on even with the page zoomed in some of the writing remains tiny and unreadable. I have the 27" imac and to have the toolbar font so small on such a big screen seems very silly to me because it's unreadable.
  2. SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus


    Sep 8, 2010
    Have you gone to System Preferences --> Universal Access? There are zoom options in there.
  3. Vantage Point macrumors 65816

    Mar 1, 2010
    New Jersey
    I know exactly what you are talking about I went through the same thing when I got my iMac. I found ways to make it better but never found the perfect solution and sold it in favor of a MBP and high end external monitor (see signature) for photo editing work.

    A few tips starting with the one that worked best for me...

    - change the monitor resolution to 1920 x 1080 and your eyes will thank you. It may seem ridiculous to many but lowering the native resolution works for people like us but also defeats the purpose of getting a high resolution monitor.
    - change the default minimum font size to 13 or 14 in Safari. The problem with this is that many web pages will not load the frames properly and hide some information
    -get a magic trackpad which unlike the magic mouse lets you use more finger gestures to increase font sizes. I now use the magic trackpad when I use my MBP in clamshell mode with my external monitor but thankfully my 26" monitor has a pixel density of 89 whereas the iMac is 110 so I start off with fonts that are about 20% larger and much easier on the eyes
    - the obvious - make sure there are no bright lights or windows behind where you work so avoid glare. My new external is non-glossy and I can look at it all day

    Here is a recent thread on the same topic that might help
  4. MissNerdyTalker thread starter macrumors newbie


    Nov 8, 2010
    :) Thank you Vantage Point I will try out your tips and see if that makes it any better. So far I've mainly been using my imac to watch shows and dvds because reading things just hurts my eyes and have been using my iphone 4 to surf the net.

    I love the Imac but was considering taking it back and getting a macbook pro because of the strain the imac is putting on my eyes. Hopefully with your tips I will be able to keep and enjoy my imac for more than just watching movies on it. :) I'll also check out the link you posted. Thanks for the advice
  5. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040


    Aug 8, 2007
    Takamatsu, Japan
    It's important to note that unless the reduced resolution is an even divisor of the native resolution of the display (2560x1440 native on the 27" iMac, so 1280x720), there is going to be associated fuzziness with one pixel being represented by one and a fraction physical elements. For some, this could defeat the purpose of a reduced resolution.
  6. Vantage Point macrumors 65816

    Mar 1, 2010
    New Jersey
    Yeah, it's wonderful for movies but for most people, at least for myself, that is not one of the common tasks I use my computer for. It is very easy to test out a different resolution - System Preferences - Displays... If that doesn't work for you then I strongly advise changing it while you still can since your eyes will not get used to it. If you do swap out for a MBP watch out for the 17" or high res 15" as that will give you the same problem. At least with the trackpad it is easy to increase font size. The regular 15" actually have the same resolution as the 27" iMac but since it is smaller it is closer so apparent size is not so small.
  7. BrunoMac macrumors regular


    Aug 6, 2008
    This could be me misreading this but can't you hit command + to make it easier to read?
    Before I bought my 27" iMac i was concerned that web pages didn't fill my screen now I just hit command + 3 times and I LOVE the way it looks!
  8. MissNerdyTalker thread starter macrumors newbie


    Nov 8, 2010
    Hey, like i said in the lower half of my top post I do use command and + to make the font bigger which is great BUT.. on things like the toolbar it's near impossible to read unless you're close to the screen. Also some pages even after hitting cmd and + the page gets larger but some of the font remains small.

    It's been a few days now of me having the Imac 27" and I'm starting to get used to it. I moved it further back which has somewhat helped to stop my eyes from straining and I've had no more headaches. It's still a nightmare trying to read the toolbar and the status bar but I think it's something I can deal with. I don't think I can go back to a smaller screen now :D I went on my 13" macbook for the first time since I've had the imac and my once loved macbook just seemed to small and the screen seemed too dull.
  9. George Knighton macrumors 65816

    George Knighton

    Oct 13, 2010
    The only real answer to this is going to be for Apple to break down and have a Windows-like "Large Fonts" option that will magnify all fonts system wide by 125% or 150%. Yes, just like Windows 7. It's just something that Microsoft did that works right.

    As the entire human population ages, this is becoming a huge, huge problem. We grew up on the computer age, and we know what we are doing and what we are asking for. need to help us with this.

    I disagree completely with the notion that we should pay a very nice chunk of money for a 27" iMac (or even a MacBook Pro with the optional screens) and then have to reduce the resolution to something fuzzy and less than handsome in order to be able to read something. Large Fonts option is the only answer.

    I know why they don't want to do it.

    There isn't a history of it, and at 150% some things aren't going to work right. The applications designers don't programme to scale their products to large fonts, because it isn't something that the operating system was designed for in the past. With some applications, if you are using large fonts, you'll find that the text is very obviously not aligned correctly or that it will flow outside the box where it obviously belongs.

    However, I believe that Apple will find that the people looking for Large Fonts option are perfectly willing to deal with this while the applications developers decide how to make things scale properly.

    That is what one dumb old man thinks, anyway. :)

    The original poster might want to search for a product called TinkerTool. This little product will allow the user to make a number of system font changes that will make the reading of email and a lot of other things a little easier. You might find it necessary to have your mail default to plain text so that you can be sure that the larger fonts you are looking at on your screen are not transmitted to your correspondents as well, which would make you look like a 110-year old newbie.

    We're lucky that the multi-touch functionality of OS X allows us to rapidly and easily zoom many windows with the Magic Trackpad, and I find myself using that to full effect whenever I am posting on message boards.

    Another thing the original poster might want to think about is approaching his optometrist/ophthalmologist about a different prescription, a pair of eyeglasses that are prescribed specifically for computer use. If you have a moderately high diopter correction like -4.25, then your eyecare professional might want to give you a prescription for computers that is something like -3.25 or even -3.00. That would make your iMac 27" experience a lot more convenient and pleasant.
  10. MissNerdyTalker thread starter macrumors newbie


    Nov 8, 2010
    George Knighton I think I might look into changing glasses prescription. The weirdest thing happened yesterday. I spent hours looks at the imac at an angle then when i looked at my iphone everything on it looked slanted.

    Thank you for all the advice.. taken it all on board and like I said i no longer (touch wood) get headaches from looking at the screen.
  11. harpster macrumors regular

    Jan 26, 2010
    I almost got a 21.5" for that same reason but I'm REALLY glad I opted for the i7 27". My eyes are not great but I'm sitting about 2 feet from the screen and have no problems reading the menu bars or desktop icons. You can make the font larger in most apps and I will do that sometime in Safari if the text is really small but other that that I don't do much in text sizing and just LOVE the big screen and speed of this machine.

    Now here are somethings I do recommend as a headache reducer.

    1.Reduce the brightness - I keep mine at about half and it's plenty bright enough for me.

    2. Try not to locate the computer where you will pick up extra glare & reflections.

    3. Here's a big one... lose that very purple desktop. This is what really gave me headaches and I would get up after a long session and see purple everwhere. When I changed my desktop picture it made a huge difference for me. Here's the one I use (same as the iPAD) looks great and much much easier on your eyes.

    Just drag the image (iPadAVG.png) to your desktop. Then open Preferences and click Desktop & Screensaver. Finally drag the image to the desktop image in the upper left and it will replace it (you can get it back again if you want but I don't think you will). It's great!
  12. Fishrrman macrumors Pentium


    Feb 20, 2009
    I, too, have problems reading small fonts onscreen (I'm 61).

    Younger folks simply cannot understand the complaints older folks have about small fonts and high-resolution displays. My answer to them is, "wait 30 years, and by then you'll know what I'm talking about!"

    I've found that "reading" glasses (I use the non-prescription, drugstore kind) are often TOO STRONG to read computer screens without eyestrain.

    The solution is to use a _weaker_ magnification for the computer screen than the one you use for reading or normal "close in" eyesight.

    Yes, this will mean keeping a separate pair of glasses handy for the computer vis-a-vis the ones you might use for reading books or papers. But it works.

    Another problem is that the new "high-res" displays are using pixel pitches which are smaller and smaller at the "native resolutions" of those displays. Again, this makes text smaller even if you've already compensated for that with a separate set of "computer glasses".

    I think my next standalone monitor will buck that trend. I'll be looking for a larger display, but one with larger pixels as well. They DO exist. For example, there are some 27" panels out there that have the same resolution as was standard with the 24" displays. What you see is a 24" resolution "blown up" slightly to fill a 27" screen. This makes text much more readable for older folks, but permits them to use the display at native resolution, which is almost always the sharpest resolution that a display can run at.

    One other complaint. OS X uses "font smoothing" and pretty much eschews the old "bit-mapped" style fonts for the newfangled smoothed fonts. Again, this may be fine for the young-un's but it makes older folks with aging vision hurt to try to "see between the smoothing". I find it's best to TURN FONT SMOOTHING OFF as much as possible. Bitmapped fonts work better for the oldsters.
  13. scottdot macrumors member


    Dec 29, 2008
    New Mexico
    Hey, I'm not waiting to save my eyes! I'm only 28 and I already find myself using larger fonts so I don't have to squint from 18-24 inches away from my screen! So don't feel bad...:)
  14. Iamthinking Suspended

    Jul 31, 2010
    Opposite Problem

    I had the same problem when I first got my 27" iMac (not long ago). Eye fatigue, headaches, etc. Then over the Christmas break I used it more often than when I'm at work.

    ...and guess what? Now I have a problem with my work computer- it seems blurry/fuzzy and the colors are washed out. It's giving me eye strain too and it's never bothered me in the past (I have a 22" LG and a 24" samsung on my work desktop). I guess it's just what your eyes get used to. I just hope my eyes can "re-downgrade" to my work computer! :)
  15. iMacN00b macrumors member

    Sep 9, 2010
    I'm new to Apple, but can't you just increase the font size to 150%, same as on Win7? That keeps your nice native resolution, but makes it easier to read text. I'm not sure where this setting is on MacOsx, but no doubt one of the experts here can help!
  16. yankintx macrumors 6502

    Feb 2, 2010
    I changed the resolution to 1920 x 1080. That solved the problem. Using the command and + button increased page text size but left everything else outside text field small.

    I realize that I lose some desktop space by decreasing resolution, but who cares,,, The native resolution is just too darn small.

    I am talking about the 27" Imac, not the 21.
  17. ZilogZ80 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 5, 2010
    The inability to enlarge system/menu fonts in OSX is a major usability failing in my opinion. I was all set to buy a 17" MBP but noticed the menus were tiny compared to a (standard res) 15" so I bought one of those instead!

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