Smaller screen size adjustments on macOS

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If you’ve ever tinkered with your screen size adjustments (larger text vs. more space) on macOS, you may feel limited by the 4 to 5 options presented in the Displays Settings pane. Maybe you want something in between those settings. Fortunately, there is a trick to picking other sizes if you are using an external monitor.

On macOS Ventura: Go to the Apple menu > System Settings > Displays. Choose the monitor you want to adjust. Right-click anywhere on that panel of size options (depending on your setup, a right-click may be done by holding Command on the keyboard while you click, or on a touchpad use two fingers to click). From the popup menu choose “Show List”. Now you can choose from a list of various text sizes.

On macOS Monterey and earlier: Go to the Apple menu > System Preferences > Displays. Choose the monitor you want to adjust. While holding the Option key on your keyboard, click the “Scaled” selector.

Now you should have a lot more adjustments. Exactly what you see in this screen will depend on the model of Mac you have, your macOS version, and the model of monitor you have.

If you’re familiar with screen resolutions, you should note that choosing from this list may not change the actual screen resolution. With many of these options, your screen will still run at full resolution to maintain clarity, but your content will be scaled to emulate the chosen resolution. If you wish to actually change the resolution of your display (which will make things appear blocky) you can enable the option below to “show all resolutions”. Depending on the macOS version you are on, sometimes you will see some items labeled as HiDPI (full resolution but scaled) or “Low Resolution” (content will be larger but blocky).

You may simply have to tinker with these settings until you find the one that works right for you. You should also pay attention to whether the content looks squished or stretched. Some resolutions are designed for narrower or wider screens.

The standard settings on macOS Ventura only give me five options for the size of my content.
Right-clicking the scale options allows you to reveal a lot more options.

Further Help

If you are an existing customer who needs help with this or if you have other questions, or if you are in San Francisco and interested in becoming a client I invite you to book an appointment with me. Otherwise, you may wish to contact Apple Support or find a local Apple consultant.

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