Virtually Scale Window Size to Increase or Decrease Desktop Screen Workspace

Aug 8, 2009 - 5 Comments

This is a particularly handy trick for when you have limited screen real estate and want to fit more of a windows display on screen. A perfect example of this are the Hackintosh owners out there that are working with small netbook screen resolutions and some windows just don’t display properly, or won’t even fit on the screen. Instead of changing the actual screen resolution and losing screen real estate, you can scale all windows within OS X up or down by using the Terminal:

defaults write -g AppleDisplayScaleFactor 0.8

This will render all displayed elements at 80% of their original size

killall Finder

To set back to the default simply change the Scale Factor to 1.0 like so:

defaults write -g AppleDisplayScaleFactor 1.0

If you want to make things larger and easier to see, scale up to 1.2 or more, just play around until you find what works best for you. Remember to kill the Finder after each change in order to make changes take place.

Note: Virtually scaling up and down GUI elements can lead to some quirky appearance issues with certain apps, so test scale factors to find what works best for you and your apps.


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Posted by: Bill Ellis in Command Line, Customize, Hackintosh, Mac OS, Tips & Tricks


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  1. […] Virtually Scale Window Size – very helpful hint for Hackintosh Netbook users with limited screen resolutions and real estate to virtually scale down window sizes […]

  2. CustomMac says:

    Is there a way to do this for all windows not just the finder?

    • syg says:

      This works for all apps that are opened after the change is made. So for example if I want to view two spreadsheets in Numbers side by side, I make this change and then open Numbers – and it works!

  3. Matt says:

    Is there a way to this this for the “Get Info” button, like when seeing the bit rate of an mp3 or editing a name? Maybe since the Info button is shown in Preview, it needs to be changed. Having it half size always drives me nuts.

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