How to Configure Display Scaling in Windows 10
Resolution settings in Windows 10 decide how detailed images and text appear, but scaling determines how it all looks on the screen. No matter what resolution you have set for a monitor or TV, Windows 10 scales the display to fit everything on the screen, even if it has to add scrolling and up/down arrows, such as in the taskbar where it shows icons for active windows.
Sometimes, a monitor with a high resolution like 4K tends to make text, windows, and icons smaller. This situation makes it hard to see what is on the screen, especially from a distance. Windows 10 generally auto-adjusts the scaling on 4K displays to 150% to prevent small windows and text. Regardless, you can still manually increase the size of everything so that you can see more comfortably, even if it is just for your default monitor
Why Adjust Windows 10 Scaling?
Using multiple screens is a great way to organize your work or various activities, but it can be annoying to have to drag windows between monitors when the resolution is different. Windows 10 scaling is beneficial in this situation, allowing you to better match the text, images, and icons to the default display.
Furthermore, it’s always nice to have higher resolution for graphical experiences such as videos and games, but sometimes, text and icons look too small to comfortably read. This scenario is where scaling plays a role. You can enlarge text, icons, and more to compensate for a higher resolution without the worries of graphical loss. People that have a hard time seeing smaller text and images can make using the PC an easier experience by using scaling too.
Windows 10 Scaling Settings
Windows 10 comes with a pre-display scaling feature that you can manually adjust, assuming Windows didn’t automatically adjust to your liking. Unfortunately, the scaling options are limited to 100%, 125%, and 150% of the original size. A custom scale option is also available, but Windows applies that setting to all connected displays.
What Does Windows 10 Scaling Do?
Overall, scaling keeps your default screen viewable, and it also keeps screen sizes fairly consistent between different-sized monitors that have different resolution options. As previously mentioned, sliding a window or image to another screen can look different if the scaling proportions do not match. A bigger screen may require a lower scale setting to reflect sizes between the two monitors.
This article shows you how to setup Windows 10 display scaling for using one, two, or more screens simultaneously so that you can easily keep everything similar in size—or just expand your existing monitor for better visibility.
How to Use Windows 10 Scaling on One Screen
Scaling allows your main monitor to show enlarged text, images, and icons for better viewing experiences. Here are the steps.
- Type scaling into the Cortana search box, then click “Make everything bigger.” You can also go to Start Menu -> Settings -> System -> Display.
- Go to Make everything bigger and choose your option in the dropdown menu. If you went to Settings directly, it will be titled Scale and layout.
- After choosing your size percentage in the dropdown above, you will see the change immediately.
Using Windows 10 Display Scaling for Two or More Monitors
When you use multiple monitors and extend your screen, the scaling may be different, such as a default 1080P screen and a 4K HDTV. Even though Windows auto-adjusts the scale to make text and windows larger on the HDTV, you may need to tweak it some because sliding windows to a different screen may alter its size, which is not always beneficial. Here’s how to adjust the scaling on multiple monitors so they match up better—proportionally speaking.
Note: It is best to have monitors with the same or proportionally the same resolution. Otherwise, you may end up with blurred text and images.
- Go to Start Menu -> Settings -> System -> Display and choose the monitor you want to scale. You can also click on Identify if you are not sure what monitor to select.
- Scroll down to the Scale and layout option and select a percentage from the dropdown menu.
- Minimize a window on the main screen and slide it over to the second screen to see if you like the transition. Be sure to slide it all the way over (or super close) or it won’t change the scaling. If not satisfied, repeat the Scale and layout option above until you get the view you need. Note that you may not get an exact fit due to the scale restrictions.
If you require a more precise display scale, you can use the advanced scaling option to manually set your scaling percentage in a precise fashion. Note that any changes here will affect ALL attached screens and it requires a logout to activate. Just click on Advanced scaling settings below the Scale and layout dropdown menu, and manually enter your scaling percentage in the space provided. This process will increase or decrease text and image size on both screens, which is only practical if you need a detailed view of something.
As you can see, Windows 10 display scaling is handled by the OS fairly well. as long as resolutions are proportionally the same—compared to older releases. However, it is fairly easy to adjust if you need to intervene manually, but it does not always produce the results you desire.
Windows 10 has definitely come a long way since its introduction, but it still has its downfalls like everything else. Regardless, if resolutions are similar on the screens, you may not need to scale the display at all. Windows will take care of it for you.
Lastly, screen size is not used by Windows for scaling settings because it is irrelevant when dots per inch (DPI) is the essential factor. A screen with twice the resolution (proportionally) will just have double the pixel density.