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How to set custom display scaling settings on Windows 10

On its own, Windows 10 does a pretty good job detecting and adjusting the display scaling settings based on various factors (such as screen size and resolution) to ensure that elements (text, icons, navigations, and other items) on the screens are big enough to make apps easier to use.

However, it's not a flawless system, and as a result, Windows 10 also allows you to adjust the scaling settings manually on a per-monitor basis, which can come in handy in many scenarios. For example, if you're pairing your device with a different size external monitor, specifying a custom scaling value can help to match the size of text and elements across all monitors. If you don't have perfect vision, scaling can increase the size of elements to make everything easier to see and use without forcing your eyes. Or adjusting the scaling settings may also improve the viewing of a presentation when projecting to a larger screen.

In this Windows 10 guide, we'll walk you through the steps to change the scaling settings for a standalone monitor or laptop display.

To change a display scaling size using the recommended settings, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on System.
  3. Click on Display.
  4. Under the "Scale and layout" section, use the drop-down menu and select the scale settings that suit your needs. Options available include 100, 125, 150, and 175 percent.

Once you complete the steps, you don't need to sign out and sign back in, but it's recommended to restart your computer to make sure that the new settings apply correctly across the desktop and apps.

How to change display scaling settings using custom values

If the recommended scaling settings are not suited for your display, you can specify a custom scaling size.

To set a custom size for scaling a display on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on System.
  3. Click on Display.
  4. Under the "Scale and layout" section, click the Advanced scaling settings option.

  1. Under the Custom scaling section, specify a custom scaling size between 100 to 500 percent.Quick tip: If you need to make the size of text, apps, and other items just a little bigger, you can try using 110 as the new scaling value.

  1. Click the Apply button.
  2. Click the Sign out now button.
  3. Sign back into your account.

After you complete the steps, text, apps, and other items should scale to the size that you specified.

If icon and other items are not scaling correctly on the desktop, use the same instructions outlined above to slightly increase or decrease the scaling size number until you find a right balance.

At any time, you can remove the custom size using the steps, but on step No. 4, click the Turn off custom scaling and sign out option.

How to make text bigger without changing scaling settings

If you're looking to make only the text more readable, you don't need to change the scaling settings. Instead, you should change the font size globally.

To make text bigger on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Ease of Access.
  3. Click on Display.
  4. Under the "Make text bigger" section, use the slider to select the new font size that makes text easy to read.

  1. Click the Apply button.

Once you complete the steps, the screen will flash a "Please wait" screen to apply the new text size.

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Hi, I'm Mauro Huculak, Windows Central's help and how-to guru. I wrote the post you're reading now, and I know the Windows OS inside and out. But I'm also a bit of a hardware geek. These are some of the affordable gadgets on my desk today.

Logitech MX Master Wireless Mouse (opens in new tab) ($72 at Amazon)

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You could just use a regular light bulb in your office, but if you want to add some ambient lighting with different colors, an RGB LED strip is the way to go. This one is Mauro-approved.

Mauro Huculak is technical writer for WindowsCentral.com. His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.

1 Comment
  • Thank you for this article, but I'm still confused. I have a 34" monitor and when I open Edge, I like it to take up the left-half of the screen, and when I open Outlook I like it to take up the right-half of the screen. My cat watches bird videos on the left-half while I'm doing other stuff on the right-half. :-) My aging eyes aren't the greatest any longer, so I had the size of "text, apps, and other items" set to 150%. Is the only difference between the drop-down box and the "advanced scaling settings" is that you can select sizes other than the set 125, 150, 175, etc.? I played around with resizing the type only, and went back to scaling up to 150% with the text at 100% so icons and such would be bigger. After playing around a bit an INFURIATING thing happened again that happens EVERY time I make any adjustments to the display setting or update the video driver - my programs open either in different locations that I want, or they open full-screen. UGH! I have the most difficulty with the Edge window as I want it to always open using only the left-half of my screen, but for whatever reason it will open full-screen and I'll have to try numerous times to get it to the size I want and have it reopen in only that space. Is there something I don't know how/what to do so the programs always open in the locations I want? I don't know if it's something easy that I'm missing, or if "that's just the way it is." Suggestions?