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Old Sep 3rd, 2009, 12:28 PM   #1
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Tiny system fonts on 17" MacBook Pro with high-res screen?

I just purchased a refurbished macbook pro for my mother from the apple on-line store. However, now that I've started setting it up for her, I think I may have made a big mistake!

I personally think the screen is gorgeous - but with 1920 x 1200 pixels crammed onto a 17" monitor, all the fonts are absolutely tiny. Crisp, but tiny! It's nice to have all that extra real-estate, but I think for someone doing mostly web browsing and email, with "older" eyes, it's going to be a big problem.

I've done some searching on this and the main work-around people suggest is to use the zoom functions - you can use keys or the multi touch trackpad. But...this doesn't work in all apps, and only zooms the window contents - things like the menus remain tiny!

So...I'm thinking of sending it back (I talked to Apple today and they kindly agreed to waive the 10% restocking fee for me).

Before I do, does anyone else have any insight or comments on this?
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Old Sep 3rd, 2009, 12:34 PM   #2
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Try this, it works WONDERS!

TinkerTool: Description

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Old Sep 3rd, 2009, 01:03 PM   #3
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Try this, it works WONDERS!

TinkerTool: Description

l
Thanks - I'll give that a try - but I did read somewhere that there are still a lot of apps / dialog boxes etc. that aren't affected by it. But it's worth a try for sure.

Thanks again!
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Old Sep 3rd, 2009, 01:55 PM   #4
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Thanks - I'll give that a try - but I did read somewhere that there are still a lot of apps / dialog boxes etc. that aren't affected by it. But it's worth a try for sure.

Thanks again!
Interesting... You'll have to report back to us and let us know of any caveats that affect you.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2009, 10:31 PM   #5
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Interesting... You'll have to report back to us and let us know of any caveats that affect you.
Well..I didn't really have that much luck. I tried TinkerTool but it doesn't seem to change things like the system font in the menus. It does change things like the title you see on the top of open windows, but not the menu bar.

You can change font sizes within applications like safari, but that doesn't affect the menu fonts. You can change the view options in the finder to make the icons bigger and the text under the icons bigger, but still no change to the menu bars.

After doing some searching, I'm beginning to think this isn't possible without hacking around with font libraries or running 3rd party programs that seem to have their own issues.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2009, 10:54 PM   #6
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What I did to handle a similar situation, on a 17" MBP coincidentally, was to go to System Preferences > Monitors and go to a slightly lower resolution setting. I was able to get enough size increase in the menubar text to satisfy the client and not compromise screen real estate too much.
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Old Sep 4th, 2009, 12:59 AM   #7
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^^^kind of defeats the purpose of getting the 1900X1200 display though....
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Old Sep 4th, 2009, 02:04 AM   #8
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Off the top of my head...my ACD is 96 ppi, I believe. What's the 17" hi-rez book...133 ppi?

I played with it at a reseller once or twice, and found it too tight. My thinking at the time was that when working on anything with text or images with fine detail, what I was going to see on that display, was going to be out of whack with what everyone else would be seeing.

By contrast, my Wife's got an old Acer with 85 ppi. Now THAT's big type!

(edit) found this in an Apple discussion:

Last edited by ScanMan; Feb 25th, 2011 at 02:47 PM.
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Old Sep 4th, 2009, 06:28 AM   #9
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^^^kind of defeats the purpose of getting the 1900X1200 display though....
Not entirely - depends on what the goal is. Like I said - a compromise. In the case I dealt with, like the OP, it was an older user who purchased thinking a bigger screen would get a 'bigger' view as in everything a bit larger. Eyesight is the issue. I backed the resolution down from 1680x1050 (PB-17") to 1440x852 and got acceptable menubar font sizes. Really not too much was lost and the user was happy, which is what matters after all.
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Old Sep 4th, 2009, 11:06 AM   #10
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This conversation is quite amusing considering MacOS (at least classic MacOS) was designed for 72ppi. Apple's been hinting at true resolution independence for a while but it's not quite there yet.
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