Mini-Article — Changing the size of text on screen

By | August 5, 2005
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August 2005 Newsletter

Hello again. It’s been a great month for us this month. We’ve added lots of improvements to the website (any comments/suggestions appreciated!). It now automatically acknowledges when someone subscribe to this newsletter, it has an articles page, free to the world (more about that in a bit) and we finally have photographs of the books on it.

An apology… and a well done to those of you who spotted the rather embarrassing mistake last time: It was the July newsletter but said welcome to the September one. Sorry!

Right that’s enough rambling, on to the good stuff!

Mini-Article — Changing the size of text on screen
My Mum and Dad came to visit last week and as always they’d saved up some PC questions for me (they also brought some French crepes so I didn’t mind too much!) One thing Dad asked about was how you change the size of text on the screen. He knows how to do it in a word processor, to change the text size of a letter you’re writing, for example, but what about the text in programs themselves.

Well, there are a few different answers.

You can change the screen resolution. This is how many dots the PC uses to make up the screen. Typical is 1024 by 768 dots. But if you changed it to 800 by 600, everything would be a bit bigger. You can right click on an empty part of the desktop, select “Properties” then “Settings” and use the slider on the left to change this setting. The flipside is that it would all be a bit blockier as well — so it’s not the best way.

Another way is to just change the font size. Again, right click on the desktop and click on “properties” but this time select “Appearance”. You can use the drop down menu to change the font size, or click on advanced which allows you to change the fonts size for specific objects (for example just menus or just the taskbar) individually… that last way is a little tricky, though.

If it’s only websites that you want to change the size of, in Internet Explorer click on “View” and then select “Text Size” and pick the one you’d like. It doesn’t work with all websites, though. Basically if the web designer choose a specific size for their text, it won’t change when you change this setting.

One last related thing: there’s also something called the magnifier which lets you, well, magnify the part of the screen that you’re pointing the mouse at. You can start it by going to the Start menu, then clicking on Programs, Accessories, Accessibility, Magnifier. If it’s not there, it isn’t installed on your PC: go to the start menu, then help and type in “install accessibility” to get help on how to install it. It’s a nifty little tool.

Reader’s Question
My keyboard has some “extra” buttons on it with pictures of shopping trolleys and cameras and so on. How do I use them?
A lot of keyboards nowadays come with buttons like these and they’re usually set up to do things like take you to a particular website when you press them. Usually (it does depend on the keyboard manufacturer) you can change what they do to anything you like. Go to the start menu, then “Settings” and “Control Panel”. Then double click on “Keyboard”. There should be a tab (usually the third one) marked “buttons”. Click on that and it should show you a list of the extra buttons you have and what they’re currently set up to do. Double click the one you want to change and you can type in a web address to start up when you press that button. A warning, though: they do sometimes take a few second to react after you’ve pressed them.

Tip of the Month
It’s a classic time-saver: in most Windows programs you can press ctrl, hold it down and then press S and it’ll save whatever you’re working on. Very handy if you’re saving your work every 10 minutes or so — and you should, to avoid losing it if there’s a power cut or anything like that!

If you’re already using Ctrl + S, here’s another one for you: Alt +F4. It’s a little bit of a stretch but it closes the current window. Useful if you have both your hands on the keyboard at the time and don’t want to reach over to the mouse.

Download of the Month 
If you make your own CDs of your own music, photos or home videos on DVD, you might want something a bit more attractive than a marker pen to label them. ECover is a free download you can use to download labels and inlays for CDs and DVD and edit them to get them how you want them. You can get it here:

For a bit of fun, you could try Orbit Racer. It’s a racing game, but with a difference: the whole thing is controlled by the space bar. It’s hard to describe how it works but not too hard to pick up. You can download it from here:

Disclaimer: I didn’t write these programs and am in no way responsible for them or anything they might do, good or bad. It’s a shame, really, I’d like to be able to claim the credit!

Articles on the website
As I mentioned earlier, we now have an articles page on our website ( There’s only one article up there at the moment, but more will be up shortly!

Phew, it’s been a long one this month — I hope you haven’t got bored! As usual, if you’ve got any questions you’d like answering in the newsletter next time or any suggestions for articles, just send me an email.

If you want to unsubscribe, you can do so by replying to this email with unsubscribe as the email subject.
Until next month,

Tim Wakeling


Do have a look at the article on my website, it has some good advice about learning PCs. And keep checking the site — I plan to put new articles up there as often as possible.

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