Making all text in all apps bigger

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Doctor Q, Jun 24, 2004.

  1. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Sep 19, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Suppose I want to use a large Apple LCD monitor at its native resolution to get the best clarity, but I want all text to be larger. In other words, I get lots of screen real estate for icons and graphics, but I want the text sized more like a monitor run at a lower resolution.

    Do I have to change font preferences for each application I use, one application at a time, or can this be done globally? If an application doesn't have a preference setting for the font it uses, am I out of luck or is there likely to be a plist file I can edit?

    I am asking on behalf of friends with small-text-reading difficulty. Is there some reason why it is silly to do what I'm suggesting?

    Thanks in advance for advice about this.
  2. Crikey macrumors 6502

    Jan 14, 2004
    Spencer's Butte, Oregon
    I think this is a really good question. I don't know the answer to it, but when I get home I'll take a look.

    I've wondered about this for a while. I personally like the tiny text on my 1600x1200 LCD at home, but at work when I put 19" LCDs on people's desks and show them what various resolutions look like, explaining that 1280x1024 is the only one that will really look good, most of my co-workers opt for 800x600!

    Ever since Apple ditched CRTs across most of the line, I've wondered about the consequences for all the middle-aged or otherwise bespectacled Apple users out there. It would behoove Apple to make their GUI resolution-independent, or scalable, if the native display resolutions all become high.

    Have you noticed at the last few Expo/WWDC demos, that when Steve sits down in front of that giant gleaming LCD to show off the software, he puts on reading glasses?


  3. FightTheFuture macrumors 6502a


    Oct 19, 2003
    that town east of ann arbor
    tinkertool has a preference to globally change your system, applications, title bars, and message font to whatever font or size you want. i've never used it and doubt it'll work without flaw, my res is only at 1280x854, but its important to keep the resolution for an lcd at its highest to keep from blurring your text and giving yourself eye-muscle complications.
  4. Sayer macrumors 6502a


    Jan 4, 2002
    Austin, TX
    There are some nifty options in Mac OS X 10.3 (at least) in the "Universal Access" control panel that let you zoom the interface up globally. This is due to the fact that the Mac OS X interface is largely "resolution independent" as it is based on the vectorized PDF internally and is merely rasterized (turned into pixels) on the screen device.

    You can have the interface zoomed in via certain key combination, and the zooming effect can follow the mouse around the screen. A beefy video card would no doubt be helpful.

    You can also change the contrast of the entire screen image, invert everything "white on black", as well as make everything grayscale (which is surprisingly hard to use with Apple choice of blues for icons, the desktop and more).

    My newfound favorite is the "flash" the entire screen when there is a system alert sound. I often have my computer speakers turned off or have a lot of noise going on around me, and sometimes my wife mutes my speakers when she uses my computer.

    So now when I get an email the screen flashes (its really not abrubt or anything, its more of a white overlay that quickly fades in and out) and I know I have email or something "beeped" at me.
  5. Doctor Q thread starter Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Sep 19, 2002
    Los Angeles
    FYI: I see that JGowan mentioned a few tips about it here.

    However, what I'm looking for is/are way(s) to set default text point sizes, not ways to zoom or enlarge particular text on the fly.
  6. Sparky's macrumors 6502a


    Feb 11, 2004
    From my knowledge, most applications are system independent, and need their font prefs set accordingly. What I would suggest is first finding a screen resolution that is comfortable to view (using the Finder as a benchmark) then finding or writing a script that would set each application to match what was set up. It may be impossible to change the viewing and menu fonts in some apps however since they are written to coincide with the monitor settings used by the system.
    I feel your solution may be hit and miss at best.
  7. Doctor Q thread starter Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Sep 19, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Since it looks like apps have to be set one at a time, I've collected some of the Prefs I've found so far for text font or point size, along with the default values I see in Mac OS X 10.3.4 Panther. Maybe this reference list will be useful to others. I invite others to post what they find for other applications.

    --- Finder ---
    Show View Options -> Text size: 12 pt

    --- Address Book ---
    Address Book -> Preferences... -> General -> Font Size: Regular

    --- AppleWorks 6 ---
    AppleWorks -> Preferences -> Text:
    Default Font: Helvetica
    Default Size: 12 Point

    --- Console ---

    --- iCal ---

    --- iChat ---
    iChat -> Preferences -> Messages:
    My font, Set Font...: Helvetica Regular 12
    Incoming messages, Set Font...: Helvetica Regular 12

    --- Internet Explorer ---
    Explorer -> Preferences -> Web Browser -> Languages/Fonts:
    Size: 16
    Proportional (default): Times New Roman
    Sans-serif: Arial
    Serif: Times New Roman
    Monospace: Courier New
    Cursive: Brush Script MT
    Fantasy: Comic Sans MS

    --- iTunes ---
    iTunes -> Preferences -> General:
    Source Text: Large
    Song Text: Large

    --- Mail ---
    Mail -> Preferences -> Fonts & Colors:
    Message list font: Lucida Grande 12
    Message font: Helvetica 12
    Plain text font: Monaco 10

    --- OmniGraffle ---

    --- OmniOutliner ---
    OmniOutliner -> Preferences -> General -> New document settings -> Text font: Helvetica Regular 12.0

    --- Preview ---

    --- Safari ---
    Safari -> Preferences -> Appearance:
    Standard font: Times 16
    Fixed-width font: Courier 13

    --- Sherlock ---

    --- Stickies ---

    --- Terminal ---
    Terminal -> Window Settings -> Display -> Text -> Set Font...: Monaco Regular 10.0 pt

    --- TextEdit ---
    TextEdit -> Preferences -> Default Fonts:
    Rich text font: Helvetica 12
    Plain text font: Monaco 10

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