It can be hard for anyone to make out small characters on a computer screen, and this problem only becomes worse if you have a visual impairment. Because modern displays have high resolutions, small fonts are often displayed because the screens are good enough to allow them to be sharp and detailed. However, this doesn’t help those needing larger text.
Change the text size
You can try changing the size of text and other on-screen items by right-clicking on an empty part of your desktop and selecting Personalize. Click Display and choose Medium (125%) or Larger (150%) to see if this allows you to read the text comfortably.
Alternatively, choose Set custom text size (DPI) from the left-hand menu if you want to increase sizing further (up to 500%).
You can also improve readability by clicking Adjust ClearText type on the left, and using the wizard to choose a font smoothing setting that’s right for you.
An alternative to permanently increasing the size of all your on-screen text is to use the Windows Magnifier tool to zoom into areas of interest.
Open the Ease of Access Center (press the Windows key on your keyboard or click Start, then type ease and click on the Ease of Access Center link) and click Start Magnifier. A panel will appear at the top of the screen displaying a magnified version of anything you move your mouse over. A magnifying glass icon will also appear towards the left of the screen. Click this for more options, such as increasing or decreasing the magnification, or click the cross in the red box to turn off the magnifier.
Adjusting brightness and contrast settings can have a big impact on how comfortable your screen is to use. These settings are usually accessed via buttons on the monitor (or via special function key combinations on laptops).
Experiment until you find levels that work best for you. More radical adjustments can be made to Windows’ visibility by right-clicking on your desktop and selecting Personalize, then scroll down to Basic and High Contrast Themes and select one of the high contrast settings.
Your screen will take on a stark appearance, but this can dramatically increase the visibility of text and icons.
The spoken word
Windows comes with a text-to-speech tool called Narrator that reads items aloud to help those with more severe visual impairments navigate their PCs. It is activated by opening the Ease of Access Center (press the Windows key on your keyboard or click Start, then type ease and click on the Ease of Access Center link) and clicking Start Narrator.
However, it’s very basic and those with significant sight loss will need to seek out dedicated screen-reading software. Luckily, there are several free options available, including Thunder, which can read aloud as you type