Want to increase the text size on your Mac? Check out our guide on how to change the text size in macOS.
Whether you read on a Mac, Kindle, or another digital device, the option to modify text size is a powerful weapon against eye strain. In macOS, there are several text adjustment settings, each with its own place and function.
You have a variety of options for playing around with the text size, ranging from changing the font size of an app to changing your entire display resolution. Let’s go over some of the most effective ways to increase text size on your Mac.
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How to Change the Text Size in macOS
How to Change the Text Size in macOS by Scaling your Display
This will enlarge all onscreen fonts and interface elements by using a different display resolution; the procedure is slightly different for Retina and non-Retina displays, and we’ll go over both:
Step 1 Go to the Apple menu and choose System Preferences.
Step 2 Navigate to the Display preference panel, followed by the Display tab.
For Retina Display Macs:
Step 1 Select Scaled next to the Resolution box.
Step 2 When you select Larger Text from the available options, a pop-up message will appear asking you if you are sure you want to move to this scaled resolution. When using this scaled resolution, some applications may not fit entirely on the screen. So choose “OK” to confirm that you wish to use the larger text size scaled resolution
For Non-Retina Macs & External Displays:
Step 1 Select Scaled next to the Resolution box.
Step 2 Select a smaller screen resolution from the list of available resolutions, which may include 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 480p, or direct resolutions such as 1600 x 900, 1024 x 768, 800 x 600, 640 x 480 – to increase the size of onscreen text and other onscreen elements, aim for a smaller number, such as 720p or 1024 x 768.
How to Change the Text Size in macOS by Zooming in on your Screen
If you don’t like how the above method impacts your Mac’s display, there is another way to increase the font size that you may wish to use while viewing web browsers and certain programs. Using a keyboard or trackpad, you can zoom in and out on any Mac computer.
This is one of the easiest ways to adjust text size in many applications is by using the zoom keyboard shortcut: Cmd + Plus (+). Most popular programs respond to the key combination, and you may reverse any changes by pressing Cmd + Minus (–) to zoom out.
In most cases, changing the zoom level affects more than just text, and you’ll notice images and other elements within an app or webpage shrinking or magnifying. If you want to selectively target text, you’ll need to seek the correct setting for each app.
How to Increase the Sidebar Size in Finder
Sometimes the text in the Finder sidebar is too small to read comfortably. In this case, click the Apple icon in the upper left corner of the screen to resize.
Step 1 Select System Settings from the menu that appears. Then click General.
Step 2 When the General window appears, click the box next to the Sidebar Icon size. Select the Large option.
Step 3 The Icon text size is now larger than before.
How to Increase the Text Size for Desktop Icons
Is the font in Finder a little too small for you? If so, you can use a simple setting to modify the text for just that application. Here’s how to change the default font size in Finder:
Step 1 Launch Finder and browse to View > Show View Options.
Step 2 Select the desired Text size option.
Step 3 Click Use as Defaults to apply settings to all folders.
Step 4 Additionally, from here, you can adjust your icon sizes, with the help of Cmd + Plus (+) and Cmd + Minus (-).
How to Change the Font Size in Web Browsers
Most mainstream browsers allow you to modify the default font properties, which is handy if you want to keep other on-screen objects at a suitable size. The technique is a little more difficult than hitting a simple keyboard combination, but we’ll detail the steps for the main frequent browsers below.
Also, some websites take measures to prevent you from changing the default font size, so the setting may not work everywhere.
How to change font size in Safari
To change the default text size in Safari, follow these steps:
Step 1 Go to Safari > Preferences > Advanced.
Step 2 Check Font size is never smaller than in the Accessibility section.
Step 3 Set the minimum font size required.
How to change font size in Google Chrome
To change the default text size in Chrome, follow these steps:
Step 1 Click on the main menu (three dots) and select Settings.
Step 2 In the side menu, click Appearance.
Step 3 In the Font Size section, select the option you want.
How to change font size in Mozilla Firefox
To change the default text size in Firefox, follow these steps:
Step 1 Click on the main menu (hamburger) and select Settings.
Step 2 Scroll down to Language & Appearance.
Step 3 Adjust the size in the Fonts and Colors section.
How to Change the Font Size in the Mail App
This may be used to reduce or increase the font size in the Mail app, and the method is the same regardless of whether the version of Mac OS is installed on the Mac.
Step 1 Open the Mail app if you haven’t done so already
Step 2 Optional but recommended: open an email message to see a live preview of the new mail font size.
Step 3 Select “Preferences” from the “Mail” menu.
Step 4 Choose the “Fonts & Colors” tab and alter the following:
- To modify the font size of an email message, click the ‘Select’ button next to “Message Font,” and then use the Size indication to increase or reduce the font size – the default is size 12.
- To modify the font size of the email inbox list, click the “Select” button next to “Message list font” and set the size as needed.
Step 5 When you’re finished with the change, exit Mail Preferences.
A change in font size can make a significant impact on readability in either direction, especially if a user’s eyesight isn’t perfect or if you’re merely trying to minimize eyestrain and spend a lot of time sending and receiving emails.
How to Change the Font Size in the Messages App
The keystrokes are similar variations of the + and – keys, just like the keyboard shortcuts to increase or decrease the text size in Safari, Chrome, TextEdit, Pages, and many other apps:
- Increase font size of Messages: Command +
- Decrease font size of Messages: Command –
Yes, that’s a plus symbol (+) and a minus sign (-). Tap each repeatedly to navigate to the maximum or minimum text size, depending.
You can also change the text size of message discussions in the Preferences panel by using the “Text Size” slider or the pull-down menu, depending on your macOS version:
It’s worth noting that the text size slider and keyboard shortcuts both have the same maximum and minimum font size limitations. The smallest font size appears to be around size 6, with the greatest font size appearing to be around size 18.
How to Change the Text Size in macOS using the Terminal
The default font size used by the Terminal app in OS X can be fairly small if you’re utilizing a large-resolution display.
While you can modify the font to fit your preferences and increase line spacing to improve reading, another simple way to improve readability is to simply raise the text size displayed on the screen while visiting the command line.
The Command and Plus or Minus keys are the simplest and quickest way to increase (or decrease) the text size presented for Terminal software.
This changes the display font size for the currently active terminal session, but it does not change the default font size for new terminal windows or sessions, thus it is more of a quick fix for when you need to boost readability.
- Increase font size of Terminal: Command +
- Decrease font size of Terminal: Command –
- Return to Default Font Size: Command+0
If these command keyboard shortcuts sound familiar, it’s because you’ve probably used them previously to adjust the font size in browsers like Safari, Chrome, TextEdit, and a variety of other apps. This, like the instant Preferences shortcut, is not entirely universal. Still, so many apps use the Command+ and Command- tricks to adjust the visible fonts that it’s nearly universal for performing that function.
How to Change the Text Size in macOS – Conclusion
The font size on your MacBook Pro might mean the difference between straining your eyes and viewing the contents on your screen pleasantly. By adjusting various app settings, you can change the font size with keyboard shortcuts.
The method is quick and simple, whether it’s all text or only icon text. We hope this guide on How to Change the Text Size in macOS was helpful. On your Mac, what font size do you prefer? Please let us know in the comments!
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