Starting with the Surface Pro devices, Microsoft set a trend of using abnormally high dpi scaling to compensate for the extra high screen resolution, targeted to mostly benefit newer Modern tile apps and for marketing hype of higher resolution screens.

(e.g. Microsoft explained the original Surface Pro was 212 DPI but used a 150% default scaling factor because its native resolution of 1920x1080 would shrink to a logical resolution of 960x640 if a 200% scaling factor were used, and that was below the minimum resolution of 1024x720, so the scaling factor steps down to the next lower plateau of 150%.  They also used a strategy called DPI virtualization to automatically scale some applications, but admit that Virtualization is not able to solve all issues for some legacy type programs.  Since then newer versions of Windows handle scaling and resolution differently, as well as larger screens with even higher resolution and dpi scaling default settings released).

As a result, the screen settings as such devices come may be practically too small for legacy programs to be useable.  Fortunately some adjustments can help.

Devices and preferences vary, but a combination of these options may prove helpful:

-  Access windows Control Panel, Appearance and Personalization, Display options. Depending on your version of Windows, you might try turning on the option "Let me choose one scaling option for all my displays" and set it to Smaller 100%, which is the normal 1:1 ratio setting, or at least something in between the current setting and 100%. Or use the slider called “Change the size of text, apps, and other items” to adjust that setting. You will need to press OK or Apply, then log out/sign out of windows and back in (or you could restart the computer), otherwise the changes will not take effect.

This will help your items display more closely to the way the were designed, including a little more spacing between Actions to make them more finger-friendly.

- Next you may find everything is smaller then you like, and this can be solved by lowering your regular screen resolution setting to make everything larger, rather then using a different scaling option.
Return to the Display Settings in windows, scroll down and click on “Advanced display settings”.  Use the menu where it shows the current resolution to select another option.  You may want to use a lower resolution that uses the same aspect ratio as the recommended one.  As you select the options, notice how the shape of the screen example changes, and pick one that is similar to the shape of the recommended one.  On really new devices with high resolution options, you may find that one three or four down in the list proves to be best.
Again apply the change, and log off and back onto Windows to see the results.

- Once your basic 3D screen items and Actions are at a useable state, a few final adjustments will help: In report writer Preferences > Preferences, use the Accessibility tab to "Use large fonts for narrative text" and "Display extra space between narratives" to make your comment menu spread out a little more for easier selection.

- You may find that a slightly different combination of the above items works best for your needs and device.  Lowering the resolution or dpi setting may improve things for legacy apps, but may also make the start screen tiles area smaller.  If you predominately use legacy programs then such options might work pretty well.  But if you predominately use Tiles apps, the results may be less desirable there.  So a trade off might be in order, depending on what you use most.

  • Re: Help- Program screen items too tiny on high res tablet

    by » 4 years ago


    On a newer Surface it was recently reported that 125% DPI and 1680x1050 resolution combo worked perfectly on his Surface, but ONLY after pending Windows Updates had been applied and the computer rebooted after the display settings had been made (Windows doesn't apply all display setting adjustments until after a reboot) as it was really wonky before the reboot.


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