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Why does ever-growing monitor and graphics card resolution cause text to shrink?


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#1 Punchy71

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 06:26 PM

Greetings,

   I have low vision and don't see very well due to my weak eyes. I am constantly struggling to read text on the screen of my computer's monitor. Almost always (universally so) the on-screen text is way too small (one way or another) for me to read comfortably, and as I continue to age the problem keeps getting worse and worse.

 

 In recent years when the computer monitor standard was switched from the old, square 4:3 screen aspect ratio to the new wide-screen ratio of 16:9 for the 1080p standard that the computer industry is pushing for, it seems like all the on-screen text went from barely readable to almost unreadable today. In other words it went from bad to worse.

 

It seems like the screen resolution of both monitors and graphics cards keep going higher and higher and higher which simultaneously causes the on-screen text go smaller and smaller and smaller...

 

I can remember a time when VGA was the standard at 640x480 pixels and the on-screen text was quite large and very readable. Then the SVGA standard came along and the resolution climbed to 800x600 pixels and the text simultaneously shrunk. Then the new, current wide screen 1080p standard came along with it's 1920x1080 pixels and the text shrunk dramatically.

 

I was hoping someone could explain why the resolution of both monitors and graphics cards keeps growing and growing while the on-screen text keeps shrinking and shrinking.

 

I'm sorry, I don't understand this paradox.

 

Thank you



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#2 JohnC_21

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 06:55 PM

The Higher resolution allows more information on the screen but causes the text to get smaller as a result. This article explains it.

 

And this is where most LCD owners, especially those that purchase new laptops, have the most issues with their displays. The problem is that the higher the native resolution of an LCD more information can fit on the screen, making text and graphics appear smaller. This is the converse of what many laptop buyers want ? most think that buying a larger screen with a higher resolution will allow them to see their desktop as larger. This, however, is not the case. A higher resolution means that there are more pixels per inch, making everything smaller, but giving the desktop more room.

 

 

The text can be made bigger by following the steps in this article.

 

Windows also has a magnifier that magnifies the area near the cursor. You would probably want the lens mode as shown in the video.



#3 jonuk76

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 07:06 PM

It's true that as resolution goes up, text size goes down assuming you use the same size fonts.  As for the why, I suppose because they can.  More pixels on screen = more detailed, higher definition images.  1080p is currently fairly standard but expect 4K resolutions to become more common in future, at least on larger screens. Luckily though, font sizes are configurable.  What operating system are you using?

 

BTW I recently set up a Linux system for my 95 year old grandad (replaced Windows XP with it) and I had to do extensive customisation to get it to a level he could see it properly.  I used font sizes 50% larger than standard throughout, and high contrast window controls, and an extra large mouse pointer.  Some webpages completely ignore any font settings you define in the OS and render too small anyway.  For that possibility I installed an add on called No Squint into Firefox that allows you to scale text on websites that use small and hard to read fonts.


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#4 Punchy71

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 10:06 AM

I just recently switched to Ubuntu 13.10 (Linux) the other day...



#5 jonuk76

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 01:22 PM

It was Linux Mint 16 I did the customisation on.  Installing Unity Tweak Tool gives you more control over things like font sizes and themes in Ubuntu.


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