Increase System Font Size - How?


macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 9, 2007
Is there a way to increase the system font size and change font type on my Macbook?


macrumors 68000
Mar 28, 2007
Quartz Debug -> Tools -> Show User Interface Resolution

It's only partially implemented.

You can shrink the Dock and desktop icons after if you wish.


macrumors newbie
Oct 26, 2009
And all this for the 'World's Most Advanced Operating System'?

I stumbled upon this thread out of my desperate search for changing the font sizes (no, not the resolution) and I now know that this is one of those 'quirks' I have to live with after having made a 'successful' switch


macrumors newbie
Apr 1, 2008
Finder > View > Show View Options
Changing the font in the Finder application will only change the font size for that application. Please verify solutions before posting them.

As far as system-wide fonts go, I don't believe it's possible to increase fonts / interfaces in OS X like you can in windows. Bummer considering all those ultra high resolution 30" screens being sold.


macrumors newbie
Nov 7, 2009
You can't change system wide fonts in os snow leopard

Hi, I actually called apple support and they told me that you cannot change the system wide font size. They suggested changing the resolution-which made things slightly blurred and the screen more difficult to work with and also the universal access, which I didn't care for either. That is the problem with these ultra resolution screens!


macrumors newbie
Jan 31, 2010
I am in exactly the same situation. Can't find any option to change menubar fonts and Tabs font in Safari.

Tinkertool can, at least in leopard. Never tested it though.
I tested. Tinkertool does not change fonts in the spots mentione above (in MAC OS X 10.6.2 on Apple MacBook Pro)

Terminal command
"defaults write NSGlobalDomain AppleDisplayScaleFactor 1.5"
icreases system fonts however. But it corrupts some applications & web pages functionality (buttons e.t.c.). So does not seem to be the solution...


macrumors newbie
Feb 5, 2010
menu bar font size

I have the same problem. I've had to reduce the resolution on my beautiful new 27" screen so that I can see the menu bar without eyestrain. What's the point? Doesn't Mr Jobs wear glasses?


macrumors member
Jun 18, 2009
Well, this sucks.

I made the switch from windows with my first mac this weekend and as someone with poor eyesight, this issue is a killer for me. On the 27" imac I bought the OS fonts are TINY! It's almost unusable. It's a shame because I really like everything so far. If I can't find a solution I may have to just install windows 7 on this thing. I'm going to keep it either way though because I like the format and the big screen is super sweet.


macrumors member
Jun 18, 2009
Guess I'll just have to stick with the windows 7 install on bootcamp until apple decides that people without 20/10 eyesight are worthy customers.

Last edited by a moderator:


macrumors newbie
May 4, 2010
I have the same problem. I've had to reduce the resolution on my beautiful new 27" screen so that I can see the menu bar without eyestrain. What's the point? Doesn't Mr Jobs wear glasses?
Thanks everyone for posting.

I had the same prob. Cured by going to:

System Preferences -> Hardware -> Mouse

Select the 'Screen Zoom' checkbox

Select 'Screen Zoom' -> Options

'Zoom while holding' ^ Control

Then to enlarge the screen image by

1. With trackpad - Control + Two Finger scroll
2. With mouse - Control + mousewheel in or out

Once enlarged, moving the cursor to the edges of the display will move the display to the desired portion.

As always, completely un-intuitive, but effective once you've decoded the twisted minds that wrote the op system code.


macrumors 6502
Mar 6, 2009
Here's hoping OS X 10.7 will include Resolution Independence.
Lol :rolleyes:
I doubt it will ever come to be. If it wasn't being implemented in Tiger, Leopard or Snow Leopard (apart from a little 'side show' gimmick), it probably won't be in 10.7 or thereafter.


macrumors member
Nov 8, 2009
Im hoping I dont need to worry about this with my new Hi Res screen I ordered :(
hate to tell you, but i'm having this issue w/a new macbook pro 15". i ordered the anti-glare, which is only available w/high res screen. i'm not happy with the size of fonts on my desktop, we're talking about a seven point font, and no way to change it!

while i can adjust for surfing the net, it's annoying to have to do it on every page, and certain programs (e.g., ical) don't have an option to adjust the font size. what were they thinking?!


macrumors newbie
May 9, 2010
Just received 17" Macbook Pro. One reason I upgraded was for the the beautiful crisp and clear 1900 x 1200 high resolution antiglare screen... and now I need to squint to see the user interface system fonts and icons. The only remedy I have found so far is to run Windows where this is an easy adjustment, reduce screen resolution to a fuzzy focus, or zoom in and out. Very frustrating.

Warning... DO NOT buy a beautiful high resolution screen if you need to see the user interface.

Apple has come a long way but they have clearly dropped the ball here.


macrumors newbie
May 10, 2010
Absolutely amazed...

Made the big leap this past weekend....Macbook Pro...iPad, etc.
Out of all the migration issues I thoroughly (?) examined...I would have never thought to look for such a thing.
Still amazed....
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