Most 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, 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 & 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. In fact, assuming you’re using a modern LCD (flat-panel) monitor instead of an old CRT one, reducing your screen resolution will make text blurrier and harder to read.
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.
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 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. 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.
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. 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.
Customize Windows Text Sizes
Assuming you’re using a Windows 7 Basic or Ease of Access theme – not the standard Windows 7 Aero theme – 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.
For more great Windows information, download The Ultimate Windows 7 Guide, 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!
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