How to Manage Font Size on Mac

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How to Manage Font Size on Mac – Guide

For modern Mac users, there are several scenarios where having a larger font on your Macs can be a great advantage. For example:

  • Having a Macbook Retina Display: These Macs have high-density screens that, while allowing more screen space, can also have readability problems due to smaller fonts.
  • Using a large screen iMac or Macbook on a stand: In both scenarios, the Mac’s screen is usually a few inches ahead, making the standard text size also more difficult to read.
  • Vision problems: I know this sounds funny, but the truth is that as we get older, our vision deteriorates and having smaller fonts to read on a screen becomes more of an issue.
  • The problem here is that even with an operating system as modern as Mavericks, Apple hasn’t provided a way to change the font size that applies to the entire system, so it’s up to us, Mac users, to take care of this problem.

    See how you can increase (and customize) the font size on your Mac to make things more readable.

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    Operational system

    While there is no way to increase the font size across the system, it is possible to find the appropriate options scattered throughout it. In order to achieve the most effective font change in Mavericks, however, we will have to focus on two different areas: Finder windows and desktop elements.

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    Windows Finder

    Finder windows are composed of two main elements: the contents of the window and the sidebar.

    To customize the fonts (and icons) contained in a Finder window, you must open one and look for the Action icon in the upper right side of the toolbar. Click on it and select Show Viewing Options.

    Finder Window Show Viewing Options

    A new panel will show up. There you can use the options at the top to change not only the font size, but also the size of the icons in the windows.

    Options for viewing the Finder window 1

    Finder 2 window viewing options

    The screenshots below are from the same areas of a Finder window. As you can see, changing these options can make a dramatic difference in the appearance and reading of the window’s content.

    Finder window before

    Finder window after

    Now, to make the sidebar in any Finder window more readable, you must first open your Mac’s System Preferences. There, click General.

    General Preferences

    In the next panel, you’ll see a segment called ‘Size of the sidebar icon’. Select from the available options (Small, Medium and Large) to change the size of the icons in all Finder windows.

    Locator sidebar size

    Obviously, as shown below, the larger the icons, the larger (and more readable) the fonts will also become.

    Small Sidebar

    Medium sidebar

    Large Sidebar

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    Workspace elements

    When it comes to the work area, things are a little easier to handle. To begin, you must right-click on the desktop and select Show display options.

    Desktop display display options

    Next, a panel will be shown where you can customize the font of the desktop elements and the size of the icon, which can make them much larger and more readable, as you can see in the photos below.

    Desktop settings before

    Desktop settings after

    Desktop before

    Desktop After

    In addition, you can also magnify the icons in the Dock by selecting it in Mac Preferences and using the Magnification slider.

    Docking configurations

    Dock size

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    Now that the elements of the operating system are already bigger and more readable, it’s time to take care of the applications on your Mac. Unfortunately, the operating system has no control over this aspect of your Mac, so you will have to do this per application.

    Now, while not all applications work the same way, in most cases, you can customize / resize your fonts using one of two methods:

    Open the application you want to customize and open your Preferences (usually accessible via the Command +, keyboard shortcut).

    In some applications (Mail, for example), you will find an option to define a custom font size and even change the entire font to a different one, including its color.

    Mail settings

    In other applications (such as Safari, Numbers or Pages, for example), you can set a higher zoom level, so that everything looks larger when you open those applications.

    Numbers Zoom

    Here it is. Now you will never have to strain your eyes when reading on your Mac. Enjoy it!

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    Final note

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