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make text easier to read windowsMost of us spend hours reading on the computer every day, but our computers probably aren’t optimized for reading. The text on our monitors may not be sharp enough or may be too small, especially if we have high-resolution monitors. Websites usually aren’t optimized for reading long-form articles either – they’re cluttered with too many navigation elements, flashing advertisements, and often use text that’s too small.

These tips will help you read text more comfortably everywhere on your Windows computer, from the text in all your programs to articles in your web browser.

Tweak ClearType Settings

Windows 7 includes a built-in utility for configuring ClearType 15 Best Windows 7 Tips and Hacks 15 Best Windows 7 Tips and Hacks Read More , which makes text easier to read on LCD monitors. ClearType is enabled by default, but the default settings may not be ideal for your monitor. To access the utility, click the Start button, type ClearType into the search box in the Start menu, and click the Adjust ClearType text application that appears.

Use the ClearType wizard to adjust the appearance of text on your monitor. These settings will affect the appearance of text in most Windows applications, including your web browser.

make text easier to read windows

Make Text & Other Items Larger

If you have a high-resolution monitor and text and other interface elements just seems too small, you don’t have to reduce your screen resolution 5 Things You Should Know When Shopping For A Monitor 5 Things You Should Know When Shopping For A Monitor Computer monitors are an often underestimated part of the computing experience. Geeks who don’t flinch at spending $500 on a tablet or $1,000 on a computer will often buy a monitor based exclusively on price.... Read More . In fact, assuming you’re using a modern LCD (flat-panel) monitor 7 Important Things To Know When Buying An LCD Monitor 7 Important Things To Know When Buying An LCD Monitor Read More instead of an old CRT one, reducing your screen resolution will make text blurrier and harder to read.

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Instead of changing your screen resolution, you can make text – and everything else in Windows – larger and easier to read. To change this setting, click the Start button, type Make text into the search box in the Start menu, and click the Make text and other items larger or smaller option that appears. Select a size in the Display window – after changing this size, you’ll have to log out and log back into Windows.

You can also use the Set custom text size (DPI) option in the sidebar here to set a custom text size instead of using one of the predefined ones.

make text easier to read

Use Readability For Web Pages

Most webpages aren’t optimized for distraction-free reading. Whether it’s because of small text size, flashing advertisements, or the website’s interface elements getting in the way, trying to read a long-form article How to Read Great Long-Form Articles on Your Kindle With Delivereads How to Read Great Long-Form Articles on Your Kindle With Delivereads I love my Kindle. Being able to read an endless variety of books on one slim device with a paper-like display makes me feel like I’m actually living in the future. But sometimes, a book... Read More on the web can be an exercise in frustration.

There are a variety of browser-based tools that can make articles on the web easier to read. One we’ve covered in the past is Readability The New Readability Addon Converts Pages To Read-Friendly Format The New Readability Addon Converts Pages To Read-Friendly Format Read More . Download Readability for your browser and click the Readability button on your browser’s toolbar. Readability will format the article you’re currently reading for readability, stripping out unnecessary web page elements and making the text larger. You can also easily adjust the text size of articles on the Readability page. This is also particularly helpful if you’re trying to read an article on a website with a weird color scheme – Readability will give the text a sane color and font.

make text easier to read

Zoom In On Webpages

If you’re reading a website with text that’s too small, you can quickly and easily enlarge the text size in your browser. Just press the Ctrl and + keys to zoom in – you can also use Ctrl and – to zoom out or Ctrl and 0 to revert to the default zoom level 6 Add-Ons To Improve Firefox Page Zoom Feature 6 Add-Ons To Improve Firefox Page Zoom Feature Read More . Another way to zoom is with your mouse wheel – hold the Ctrl key and scroll up with your mouse wheel to zoom in. This setting may also be accessible in your browser’s View menu. Many browsers, including Chrome, will automatically remember your zoom level for a website, so the next time you visit the website your browse will automatically zoom in for you.

make text easier to read

Customize Windows Text Sizes

Assuming you’re using a Windows 7 Basic or Ease of Access theme – not the standard Windows 7 Aero theme How To Enable & Troubleshoot Aero Effects In Windows 7 How To Enable & Troubleshoot Aero Effects In Windows 7 Read More – you can also adjust font sizes for certain interface elements individually. For example, you can make the size of title bar text or tooltip text larger. These options are controlled from the Window Color and Appearance window, which also allows you to change the colors and fonts of the text.

To open this window, click the Start button, type Change window colors into the search box in the Start menu, and select the Change window colors and metrics application.

make text easier to read windows

For more great Windows information, download The Ultimate Windows 7 Guide The Windows 7: Ultimate Guide The Windows 7: Ultimate Guide If you are afraid to upgrade from Vista or XP because you feel it is completely different to what you are used to, you should read this new guide. Read More , our free guide to Windows 7.

How do you make text easier to read on your computer? Leave a comment and share any tips or tricks you might have!

Image Credit: Stressed Businesswoman via Shutterstock

  1. D Man
    October 28, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    A feature in Windows 7 (and I think in previous versions) to quickly zoom do this:
    Hold the Ctrl key on the keyboard and press the + (to zoom in) or the - (to zoom out)
    If your reading this, try it now
    Enjoy!
    D

  2. Silviu Despa
    August 25, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    The clear type settings are the first thing I tweek every time after I reinstall an operating system. Not many people know about it from what I've seen.

    • Chris Hoffman
      August 27, 2012 at 10:12 pm

      Very true. It's at least integrated into Windows' Control Panel now -- in Windows XP, you had to visit a Microsoft web page or install a PowerToy from Microsoft's website to change these settings.

  3. Vociferous Carmichael
    August 8, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    Thanks, I just adjusted my settings with this!

  4. Jennifer Antebi
    August 1, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    It is a great article. It's great to have options. But I have to agree with Ron Payne.. :-)

  5. Shakirah Faleh Lai
    August 1, 2012 at 2:47 am

    Good tips for those with aged eyes.

    • Chris Hoffman
      August 1, 2012 at 11:18 am

      It's not just useful for the old, though!

  6. Jeffrey John Imutan
    August 1, 2012 at 1:45 am

    Great TIP! help me read the text clearly now. Thanks

  7. Rigoberto Garcia
    July 31, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    Great article Chris. Filed along with "The Ultimate Windows 7 Guide" for future reference and share with my office colleagues and customers. Thank you very much ..

    • Chris Hoffman
      August 1, 2012 at 11:18 am

      Awesome, glad we can be such a resource. Thanks for sharing our work with others!

  8. Ellen Odza
    July 31, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Great tips, thanks! I use keyboard shortcuts (Ctrl +) a lot but some of these will be very useful once my brand new Windows 7 computer arrives (later this week... whooo!!!)

  9. Glenn Schulz
    July 31, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    Great tip, but I have used the ctrl+scrollwheel tip for years now.

  10. Ale Bendersky
    July 31, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Good stuff!

  11. Ravuama
    July 31, 2012 at 7:51 am

    great article - should help my Dad....but im not that old yet...

  12. Va Du
    July 31, 2012 at 6:38 am

    Great tips, happy to report that I already use all of them. Last thing is how much do GUNNAR Eyewear work, that seems to be the rage these days when it comes to anything involving your eyes.

  13. Muhammad Ahmad
    July 31, 2012 at 6:08 am

    This article help me a lot to make the text easier to read on windows. I did not know it before.

  14. Muhammad Ahmad
    July 31, 2012 at 6:07 am

    Great info. I did not know it before. This article help me a lot to make the text easier to read.

  15. Nitai Leffler
    July 31, 2012 at 6:01 am

    Thats great Thanks!

  16. Phúc Ng?c
    July 31, 2012 at 4:50 am

    Good to know :D

  17. Ashwin Ramesh
    July 31, 2012 at 3:38 am

    Nice read :) Makes my reading experience a lot better now :)

  18. Kannon Y
    July 31, 2012 at 3:29 am

    Thanks for the great article Tim!

    Like Ron, my primary method of adjusting text size in the browser is through the clickwheel scroll function. It was really enlightening learning alternative methods.

    The Cleartype tip was the most useful however. I hadn't a clue about that particular feature - and it's the single best tweak to improve readability. As a hardcore Google Reader addict, this article is essential reading.

    • Kannon Y
      July 31, 2012 at 3:32 am

      Err. I meant to say Chris. Sorry - I was also simultaneously reading one of Tim Brooke's articles.

      • Chris Hoffman
        August 1, 2012 at 11:16 am

        No problem! Thanks for voting this as "essential reading" -- I'm flattered.

        Microsoft really should expose the ClearType Tuner better. I guess they're confident in its defaults.

  19. William Davis
    July 31, 2012 at 2:02 am

    Very helpful tips on this topic. My eyes are aging quicker than I and these will surely help.
    Cheers

  20. musicphann
    July 31, 2012 at 1:37 am

    I use the browser zoom shortcuts and Readability often. A nice 23' inch monitor would sure help though.

  21. Lambvolution
    July 31, 2012 at 1:00 am

    Customizing windows font sizes is the best solustions for me

  22. Yash Desai
    July 31, 2012 at 12:42 am

    great tip, i adjusted my cleartype settings with this

  23. Mike Vaz
    July 31, 2012 at 12:29 am

    Thanks for the tip!

  24. Ron Payne
    July 30, 2012 at 11:48 pm

    Great article, but I prefer to do a quick text size change with either the keyboard shortcuts (Ctrl + -) or the mousewheel (Ctrl Wheel Up/Down). Reset is easy (Ctrl 0).

    Of course, browsers have a quick setting from the View Menu>Zoom (Fx) or from their Options settings.

    I wish Vista had a Clear Type utility. Might be one out there. Just haven't searched for it.

    Thanks for a great article.

    • Doru Pisargeac
      July 31, 2012 at 5:16 pm

      Thanks, (Ctrl + - ) work for me in Opera browser.

    • Doc
      August 1, 2012 at 12:48 am

      Use this page: (probably only works in Internet Explorer).

      http://www.microsoft.com/typography/cleartype/tuner/tune.aspx

      BTW, ClearType is on by default in Vista.

      • Chris Hoffman
        August 1, 2012 at 11:15 am

        That will also work in Windows XP -- I remember using it back in the day.

        • Doc
          August 1, 2012 at 9:23 pm

          I remember using the Windows 95 Font Smoother (not as advanced as ClearType, it used grey pixels to smooth the edges of screen fonts). It was a part of the Windows 95 Plus! Pack, but also available as a separate download. Windows 98 and up had it installed, but turned off, by default. (Display Settings -> Effects)

        • Chris Hoffman
          August 8, 2012 at 3:09 am

          Wow, very interesting. Clearly the predecessor to ClearType!

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