My eyes are aging, and I'd prefer larger text while working. What options can adjust my display?

Since Windows handles the display and sizing of fonts based on your display settings, their actual size mainly depends on your monitor resolution settings and dpi settings in Windows, in combination with the physical size of your screen. Fortunately Windows does let you adjust the relative size of things, and 3D also has a quick option for comment readability.

If you simply need to make just the narrative text comment area text larger and more readable in the 3D software, and everything else is sized OK, a quick 3D Preference option can make your inspection comments text larger:

  • In the report writer, click Preferences > Preferences.
  • Select the Accessibility tab.
  • Enable "Use large fonts for narrative text".
  • Click OK when done. The option makes the font for the report writer field contents- your inspection comments themselves- display larger. Other program items are unaffected.

Another tip: Touch screens may benefit from having narrative menu items spaced  further apart for use with "fat fingers" by enabling the other Accessibility option to "Display extra space between narratives".  Using a stylus may also prove helpful.

Using large narrative font in 3D not large enough? Or you wish to enlarge everything, not just your comment text? Windows provides options for that.

To display larger fonts for text in general without affecting window sizes, Microsoft often suggests using a larger dpi/ppi setting.  This is often used on very high resolution screens to compensate for the high resolution making everything much smaller overall. However note that excessive scaling often results in uneven sized items, or may result in some item labels not fitting properly in all buttons or windows.  For example, 3D is only generally optimized for use with the Normal 96 dpi or larger 120 dpi setting (Large setting in Vista; Medium in Windows 7). Using scaling beyond this may result in some screen labels not fitting properly in all buttons or windows.  If you experience odd looking windows or fonts that don't fit, we recommend setting your dpi to 100% and possibly lowering your screen resolution (see next section) instead to make everything larger. To adjust dpi settings: 

  • Windows 10: Right-click blank area of desktop and choose Display Settings. A slider is provided to "Change the size of text, apps, and other items". Apply and restart.  If items are too small at 100%, you may consider lowering your resolution to compensate.
  • Windows 8.1: In Control Panel, Appearance and Personalization, Display options. Try turning on the option "Let me choose one scaling option for all my displays" and set it to Smaller 100%, the normal 1:1 ratio setting. Apply and restart.
  • Windows 7: In Control Panel. Click Appearance and Personalization, Display. In left pane, "Set custom text size (DPI)". Adjust and OK and Apply changes. Normal or Medium recommended.
  • Windows Vista: In Control Panel, Appearance and Personalization, choose Personalization. In left pane, "Adjust font size (DPI)". Adjust and OK and Apply.

Higher resolution is better right? Not always. It depends on the context. If your concern is being able to fit as much information, as many windows, items, or programs on your screen at once as possible, then higher resolution helps with that. However lowering the resolution setting allows more or "larger" pixels to display the same items, thus making them appear much larger to the eye, although granted sometimes larger items may then not appear quite as smooth. The physical size and arrangement of the pixels in any given screen can also effect final appearance.

You may adjust screen resolution using the Windows Control Panel Personalization and Display options. A lower screen resolution results in larger and easier to see items, whereas a higher resolution makes things smaller so that more fits on the screen at once. Other Personalization settings or adjustments (like ClearType) might further allow your preferred resolution to work better on your particular monitor.

You may even be able to save money by obtaining a laptop already optimized to use a lower "native" resolution to begin with, while also benefiting from its naturally larger items.

Now you can pick one or more of these handy options so you can save your eagle eyes for more important observations while actually inspecting!