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Modify the system-wide interface scale factor System
I haven't seen this posted yet, but if you have the most recent Developer Tools (Xcode) installed, you can change the rendering resolution of any application (including the Finder). Just open Quartz Debug (in /Developer -> Applications -> Performance Tools) and use the Tools: Show Interface Resolution menu item to display this slider:


You can change the system-wide scaling factor with this slider. Any application started after the slide ris modified will use the new resolution. It is fairly buggy in how it renders things like menubars and the bookmarks bar in Safari. However, it is nice to play with, especially if you have an app that you like to keep up all the time and takes up a lot of space. Using this, you could reduce the size to something a bit more manageable before launching the application, then set it back as soon as you launch it.

To return things to normal, make sure the slider is set at 1.0 and restart whatever application is affected. Or use, the handy 'Restore scale factor to default (1.0) on quit' option.

For techies, you can also use the following defaults command to set the scale factor; this example sets it to 50%:
defaults write NSGlobalDomain AppleDisplayScaleFactor 0.5
To return the scale to normal, use the following:
defaults write NSGlobalDomain AppleDisplayScaleFactor 1.0
[robg adds: I'm nearly positive we had posted this one at some point in the past, but a search using any of the words that I'm certain I would have used came up blank. If you can find a duplicate in the system, please let me know.]
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Modify the system-wide interface scale factor | 21 comments | Create New Account
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Modify the system-wide interface scale factor
Authored by: wootest on Jan 25, '06 08:21:59AM

Extremely 10.4 only (since the user interface couldn't scale before), and included in all versions of the developer tools for Tiger (including 10.4.0).



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Modify the system-wide interface scale factor
Authored by: jweill on Jan 25, '06 08:28:14AM

That's really cool. One other bug: I started iTunes at 0.5 scale, but Expose thinks it's still at 1.0 scale. This causes the iTunes window to move to an area that only slightly overlaps with where I'd need to click to bring it to the front.



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Modify the system-wide interface scale factor
Authored by: junkiesxl on Jan 25, '06 08:34:56AM

There has to be another hint dealing with this, but I can't find it either. But I have defenitely seen it before on macosxhints.com, anyhow it's always nice to play with the Dev Utils...



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Modify the system-wide interface scale factor
Authored by: joab on Jan 25, '06 08:44:45AM

I couldn't get this to work except for scales bigger than or equal to 2 (besides 1 of course). No idea why. I have the latest update (10.4.4).



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Modify the system-wide interface scale factor
Authored by: kL on Jan 25, '06 09:06:03AM

Ah, and there goes my uptime. I've played with it a bit and now top menu is unreadable and obscures windows' titles, co I can't move any of them...



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Modify the system-wide interface scale factor
Authored by: rspeed on Jan 25, '06 09:55:48AM

No need to restart, logging out should do fine.



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Modify the system-wide interface scale factor
Authored by: drivebybiped on Jan 25, '06 10:00:27AM

Would be very nice if there was a way to create a shortcut that would set the scale per application.



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Can't wait.
Authored by: TrumpetPower! on Jan 25, '06 10:31:15AM

I can't wait for this to become the default. It was one of the most impressive things to me on the NeXT, and I've sorely missed it since.

First, it'll mean true, honest-to-goodness, WYSIWYG. Hold up a ruler to the screen, measure something. Print it out, and it'll measure exactly the same. As it is, I have to scale by non-standard amounts in design apps to see what it ``really'' looks like.

Next, I won't have to keep magnifying things to make them legible. My eyes are still just fine; I can read 10-pt type in print without trouble. But 10-pt type on my monitor becomes 6-pt type, which everybody has to squint at. Even 12-pt becomes 8-pt, which is too small for comfort.

Finally, it'll make practical high-resolution displays. Imagine your display today...at 300 DPI. It'll be like always looking at a dye-sub printout! And you won't have to pull out a magnifying glass to read that 24-pt headline that's been rendered at 6 points--it'll be exactly the same 24-pt type as when you print it.

Like I said. I can't wait.

Cheers,

b&



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Ditto!
Authored by: avi4now on Jan 25, '06 11:25:30AM

I wholeheartedly agree!! REALLY looking forward to very-high-dpi displays that render text and graphics at the correct scale!!



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Definitely agree, and also...
Authored by: lullabud on Apr 21, '11 10:05:04AM

Regarding magnifying, I can't wait until this behavior is standard with magnifying. Right now zoom just increases the size of rasterized text. I'm actually a little surprised they announced the resolution independence but didn't change zoom to work this way.



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Modify individual applications interface scale factor
Authored by: T u r b o on Jan 25, '06 10:55:35AM
This can be done on a per-application basis as well, though it does screw up the size of the menubar.

For example, on one of my favorite applications, Ticker, the smallest font choice makes the window take up way too much space on my screen, so lets scale it to 75%:


defaults write com.soporific.Ticker AppleDisplayScaleFactor -string "0.75"
Perfect. I find that even with the menubar weirdness, if I click to the Finder then back to another application everything goes normal again.

- Mike

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Modify individual applications interface scale factor
Authored by: avi4now on Jan 25, '06 11:18:14AM

What he said!!!



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Modify individual applications interface scale factor
Authored by: avi4now on Jan 25, '06 11:23:18AM

Ooops commented on the wrong comment.... sorry. I meant to "ditto" the one above.



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Modify the system-wide interface scale factor
Authored by: pethr on Jan 25, '06 12:02:47PM

I hope Leopard will be resolution independent as Vista is going to be. It's so important in world of high-resolution displays!



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Resolution Independence
Authored by: Ross T on Jan 25, '06 12:23:19PM

I think the real power of scaling, which Tiger supports programmatically but not through the user interface, is in enabling manufacturers to produce higher resolution displays. I wouldn't be surprised to see Apple come out with some 200-dpi Cinema Displays in the next year or so, perhaps along with the release of OS X 10.5. This would quadruple the sharpness of the display while keeping the same display area.

With resolution independence, monitors will start to work like printers: the device's resolution does not set the dimensions of the output area, it sets the amount of detail that will be output.



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Resolution Independence
Authored by: styrafome on Jan 25, '06 05:05:24PM

Yes, I hope resolution independence shuts up all the whiners who complain whenever new, higher-resolution displays come out. "But then my text will be tiny!!"

Not if your OS works right, buddy.



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Modify the system-wide interface scale factor
Authored by: mrkino on Jan 25, '06 06:06:49PM

Im still a little unclear as to what exactly this does. From what i understand, it makes application windows smaller, so more windows fit on the screen.

would someone post, or send me some pictures of this in effect? If it is what i think it is, its awesome!!



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Modify the system-wide interface scale factor
Authored by: styrafome on Jan 25, '06 08:27:06PM

Maybe this will help...it is also explained a ways down this page .

Note that this is NOT the same effect you get when you use Universal Access scaling. That just makes the same number of pixels bigger. This actually renders at the specified resolution.



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Modify the system-wide interface scale factor
Authored by: frijole on Jan 26, '06 07:51:53AM
iTunes at 50%

this was after accidentally leaving the scaling factor at .5, and then opening iTunes. boy was I surprised. and this little app is going on the keychain to prank friends too :-p

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Modify the system-wide interface scale factor
Authored by: rmiller021 on Jan 26, '06 05:21:22PM
I am starting an applicaiton compatablity list.

http://rwmiller.iweb.bsu.edu/scalefactor/
eMail me in the following format.
Subject: scalefactor -- NAME OF APP BODY: Your name
Scale Factor tested
Glitchs observed
USABLE/UNUSABLE/PERFECT EMAIL IS rwmiller (stick and at sign here) bsu.edu


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I have no clue what i am doing

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Modify the system-wide interface scale factor
Authored by: rmiller021 on Jan 26, '06 08:04:16PM
This will give a list of the com.apple files located in your user prefrences.
in the terminal type
ls library/Preferences | grep  com.apple | tr '.' ' ' | awk '{
if ($3 in stored_lines) x=1;else print $1"."$2"."$3;stored_lines[$3]=1}'

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I have no clue what i am doing

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