Change Your Monitor’s Dots per Inch (DPI) Setting - dummies

Change Your Monitor’s Dots per Inch (DPI) Setting

By Dan Gookin

When viewing the screen is difficult, increasing the dpi, which refers to dots per inch, can fix that issue. And graphics artists frequently require an increased dpi to effectively do their work.

Dpi, which refers to dots per inch, is a key concept to using computer graphics. Your PC doubtlessly uses a resolution of 96 dpi on the monitor. This value can be changed to 120 dpi or any dpi value.

Changing the dpi value of your monitor isn’t something you need to do; 96 dpi is fine for using a PC. In fact, most programs and web pages assume that your PC’s monitor is set to 96 dpi.

When viewing the screen is difficult, however, selecting 120 dpi works better. And, for graphics artists who need a more realistic representation of information on the screen, different dpi resolutions might fix some problems.

To set the dpi in Windows 7 and Vista, start with these steps:

  1. Right-click the desktop and choose the Personalize command.

  2. In Windows 7, click the Display link, found in the lower-left corner of the Personalize window.

  3. From the list of tasks on the left side of the window, choose Set Custom Text Size (DPI) or Adjust Font Size (DPI).

  4. In Windows Vista, click the Continue button or type the administrator’s password when prompted to do so.

    At this point in Windows Vista, you can choose either Default Scale (96 DPI) or Larger Scale (120 DPI). Instead, be more flexible, like Windows 7, and continue with this step:

  5. In Windows Vista, choose Custom DPI.

    The DPI Scaling dialog box appears. You can use the menu to choose a custom DPI scaling or drag the ruler left and right.


  6. Click the OK button to lock in your new DPI setting.

  7. Close the remaining open dialog boxes, windows, and whatnot on the screen.

To set the dpi in Windows XP, obey these steps:

  1. Right-click the display and choose Properties from the pop-up menu.

  2. Click the Settings tab in the Display Properties dialog box.

  3. Click the Advanced button.

  4. Choose either 96 dpi or 120 dpi, using the drop-down menu.

    You may have to restart the PC to see the results, though if you’re done, click the OK button and obey the directions. Otherwise, choose Custom DPI from the drop-down list and continue with Step 5 to set up custom dpi settings.

  5. Use the Custom DPI dialog box to configure the screen’s dpi.

    You can choose a percentage from the drop-down menu or use the mouse to drag the ruler larger. Sadly, you cannot reset the dpi to a value less than 100 percent.

  6. Click the OK button to confirm your settings, or click Cancel if you were just messing around.

    Obey any additional directions given, such as restarting the computer. Oh, and close any other dialog boxes or windows you may have opened.

Windows may have to install or configure new fonts and, possibly, restart when the dpi is changed.