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Improving Visibility:
Adjusting the display of font sizes in your browser

Viewing problems?
Font too small to read?
Too large to include everything on your screen at once?
Using too much ink/toner while printing?

As the final user, you can adjust the size, color and typeface to suit your personal vision, browsing, and printing needs. Many users prefer larger font sizes for reading the details, medium sized fonts to avoid horizontal scrolling, and smaller fonts for printing speed and economy.

Simple Browser adjustments:

The advantage of browser adjustments is that they may be made (and unmade) rapidly while viewing pages. Although each browser works differently, most permit adjustments from 50% to 200% of normal or more. If your browser is not listed or works differently, consult your online help.

  • Internet Explorer 5/6:

    Menu: VIEW - TEXT SIZE and then select from:
    Largest Large Medium Small Smallest

    You may change the text size on-the-fly as you go from page to page. Some users go to a smaller text size before printing large files since IE responds to such changes.

  • Netscape 4.7 (for Netscape 6, see below)

    You may change font sizes directly from the keyboard over a very wide range of more than 50 sizes. Warning: Remember where you started since your Netscape 4.7 browser will retain adjustments until you change them again.

    Menu Keyboard  
    VIEW - INCREASE CTRL-[ smaller fonts
    VIEW - DECREASE CTRL-] larger fonts

  • Netscape 6

    Menu Keyboard  
    VIEW - INCREASE CTRL-+ smaller fonts
    VIEW - DECREASE CTRL-- larger fonts
    May also be adjusted from 50% to 200% and custom zoom sizes

  • Opera See preferences, below.

    Advanced Browser adjustments:

    You may need to adjust "Internet Options" or "Preferences" if style statements are used in the document you are viewing in order to override them.
    Internet Explorer 5/6
    Use to adjust Web page font face (default, Times Roman)
    Use to adjust plain text font (default, Courier)
    Use to reject and override font colors, styles, and sizes specified in web pages.
    Use to create your own style sheet and to specify that it replace those in web pages.
    Netscape 4.7
    Use to specify sizes for your width fonts and fixed width fonts.
    Adjustable from 8 points to 72 points (10 or 12 points are normal).
    Use to override font sizes specified in documents.
    Netscape 6
    Use to adjust Proportional font size (default is 16 pt)
    Use to adjust Monospaced font size (default 13 pt)
    You may prefer to step down from 16/13 pt to 12/10 pt
    Opera 6
    Keyboard: ALT-P
    Use to make a very wide range of customizations selecting combinations of page display specifications written by both author and user
    VIEW - ZOOM (50% to 200% and custom sizes)

    Display size (card/monitor)


    What is most important, visual legibility or information coverage? If visual legibility is your priority, try reducing the screen area specifications(see chart). If information coverage is your priority, increase the screen area specifications(see chart). Contrary to what may seem intuitive, the higher numbers reduce font size by presenting more information in the available space. Your display card/monitor hardware combination may be limited in what your system can support

    Screen area: TypicalMonitor Font effect
    640 x 480 very old/12" large fonts
    800 x 600 old/15" medium fonts
    1024 x 768 standard/17" small fonts
    1600 x 1200 theatre/22" very small fonts

    A Note on System adjustments

    Switching system settings may require you to restart your computer. The new settings may rearrange your desktop icons. If you switch system settings more than occasionally, place an icon on your taskbar for rapid access.

    The adjustments above are for Windows 98, a typical operating system. Your information may vary for more recent, older, or different operating systems. Please consult your online help or system manual for details.'

    System font size setting:


    Use system font size changes with caution. Larger fonts may reduce the amount of information avialable on the screen, requiring horizontal scrolling. Macintosh fonts are inherently smaller (72 dpi) than Windows fonts (96 dpi). If you use a Windows machine and need to know what Macintosh users would be seeing (and vice versa), you can change the system defaults -- or you can devote an old computer to this purpose.

    Font decriptione Font size (dpi) Font size (%)
    Small fonts: 96 dpi 100%
    Large fonts: 120 dpi 125%
    Other:customized 19 dpi to 480 dpi 20% to 500%

    Preparing for printing:

    Preview: Use FILE - PRINT PREVIEW before printing pages to get an idea of file size, font size, frames/pages, and colored ink requirments.

    Print cutoff: Many web pages display correctly on the screen but are cut off on the right side when printed. In Internet Explorer, use FILE - PAGE SETUP to change the size of all the margins of the printed page. If reducing the size of the fonts (see above) and the size of the margins still results in printing cut-off, change the printing orientation from "Portrait" to "Landscape."

    Saving ink/toner: Most background color blocks will not print in recent versions of Internet Explorer. The same background color blocks may use considerable ink when printing in older versions of Netscape, increasing your cost without adding much information.

    To be added



    HTML, JavaScript, Cascading Style Sheets:

    Browsers: The pages are formatted for Internet Explorer, Netscape, Opera and similar Windows and Macintosh browsers. For wireless/handheld/accessibility devices and printing, use plain text. For hints on optimizing viewing and printing, see help.

    Email: Send email to

    President: A. Nicholas Fargnoli,

    Webmaster: Heyward Ehrlich, Site created 02/02/02, last updated 2 April 2002 (Ver. 1.55). © 2002-2003 The James Joyce Society.