How to make the PC Screen Bigger, Easier to Read

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader 'Ray' writes:

" Dear Dennis,

Do you make or have any recommendations on ... products that would be helpful to people like myself who are getting on in age and who are becoming visually impaired? I've been using computers in some form since 1970, yet, I know that goes back a ways but I'm not really familiar with everything that is currently available. I'm 63 and have macular degeneration and want to keep using ... [my computer] as long as I can. Thank You. "

My Response:

I have a few suggestions that can help with making your screen easier to read. Off the top of my head:

1. Lower your screen resolution to 800x600 or 1024x768, or slightly larger, if it isn't already.

The entire screen will become larger and easier to read, though, it comes at a price. The downside is that available space on your desktop (and inside programs) will effectively 'shrink', and the clarity of the entire screen may downgrade as the screen won't be in its native resolution. These aren't huge trade-offs, considering you'll be able to read the screen a heck of a lot easier.

How to Change your Screen Resolution in Windows 7

How to Change your Screen Resolution in Windows XP

2. Get a bigger monitor in addition to #1 above.

I own an LG 55" LED TV for my main computer monitor. I sit 4 feet away from the computer with a slide out desk. Most folks that see my setup for the first time are shocked and think it's overkill. Then again, most folks don't sit in front of the computer 12-16 hours a day publishing / programming, and answering an onslaught of never-ending emails.

Computer monitors in the 30"+ range are very expensive. If you decide to get a HDTV instead of a computer monitor, I suggest you use 1280x720 resolution (this is 720p / standard DVD viewing). I would suggest a HDTV that has a minimum 32"-37" viewing size.

Should you decide to purchase a HDTV locally, I also suggest you bring a laptop to the store and test out its legibility in multiple resolutions before purchasing (I.E: 1024x768, 1280x720 specifically). Also, go for a high-end LED HDTV unit if you can afford it. Lower-end LCD / Plasmas units typically won't look as sharp.

The particular HDTV model I'm using is the LG 55LH90. It's an amazing LED HDTV at 240Hz and a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio. The native resolution on this beast is 1920 x 1080 (standard Blu-Ray resolution), however, I use it at 1280x720 for writing, programming, surfing the web, and have plenty of desktop space. If you're wondering, a font size of 12 point (standard) on this 55" LED TV measures about 1/2 an inch large in 1280x720 resolution. Fantastic!

This particular HDTV isn't manufactured anymore, but there are newer 240Hz LED units available through

Click here for a List of Recommended 240Hz LED HDTVs

3. Use big fonts in Windows.

You can use big fonts in Windows without reducing your screen resolution, leaving your "native resolution" in tact. Note however, that the large fonts won't be visible on some portions of the screen (hence why I recommend changing your resolution entirely).

How to make the text on your screen larger or smaller (using Large Fonts)

4. Use a software magnifier to make portions of the screen larger (using your mouse).

- Dennis

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