Windows 10 resolution settings determine how detailed images and text look, but scaling determines how it looks on screen. No matter what resolution you set for a monitor or TV, Windows 10 scales the display to fit everything on the screen, even if it has to add scroll and up/down arrows, like in the taskbar where it displays the icons of active windows.
Sometimes a monitor with a high resolution like 4K tends to reduce the size of text, windows and icons. This situation makes it difficult to see what's on the screen, especially from a distance. Windows 10 usually automatically adjusts scaling on 4K displays to 150% to avoid small windows and text. Anyway, you can always manually increase the size of everything so you can see more comfortably, even if it's just for your default monitor.
Why adjust the scaling of Windows 10?
Using multiple screens is a great way to organize your work or various activities. Still, 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 text, images, and icons to the default display.
Also, it's always nice to have a higher resolution for visual experiences like videos and games, but sometimes text and icons seem too small to read comfortably. This is where scaling comes into play. You can enlarge text, icons and more to compensate for higher resolution without worry visual loss. People who have trouble seeing smaller text and images can make using the PC a smoother experience by using scaling.
Windows 10 scaling settings
Windows 10 comes with a preset scaling feature that you can manually change, assuming Windows doesn't automatically adjust to your liking. Sadly, scaling options are limited to 100%, 125%, and 150% of the original size. A custom scale option is also available, but Windows applies this setting to all connected displays.
What is Windows 10 scaling for?
Overall, scaling keeps your default screen visible, and screen sizes remain fairly consistent between different-sized monitors with different resolution options. As mentioned earlier, dragging a window or image to another screen may look different if the scaling proportions don't match. A larger screen may require a lower scale setting to reflect the sizes between the two monitors.
This article shows you how to configure Windows 10 display scaling to use one, two or more screens simultaneously so you can easily keep everything the same size or extend your existing monitor for better visibility.
How to Use Windows 10 Preset Scaling on a Single Display
Scaling allows your primary monitor to display enlarged text, images, and icons for a better viewing experience. Windows 10 Scaling Preset includes three options. Here are the steps.
- Click on the “The Start Menu,” So choose " Settings. »
- Select “System. »
- To choose " Display. »
- Scroll down to the "Scale and Layout" section, then click the drop-down menu to “Change the size of text, apps, and other items. »
- To choose "100%", "125%", ou “150%. » These three preset scaling sizes are the only choices available for a single display using the “Scale and Layout” menu option.
Using Windows 10 Preset Display Scaling for Two or More Monitors
When using multiple monitors and extending your screen, the scaling may differ, such as a default 1080P screen and a 4K HDTV. Even though Windows automatically adjusts the scale to enlarge text and windows on HDTV, you may need to change it because dragging windows to another screen may change its size, which is not always beneficial. Here's how to adjust scaling across multiple monitors using preset sizes to best match, proportionally.
Notes: It is better to have monitors with the same or proportionally similar resolution. Otherwise, you may end up with blurry text and images.
- Go to "Start Menu > Settings > System > Display" and choose the monitor you want to scale. You can also click "Identify" if you are not sure which monitor to select.
- Scroll down to the "Scale and layout" option and select a percentage from the drop-down menu.
- Next, minimize a window on the primary screen so it's smaller than your desktop screen, hold down the title bar and drag it to the second screen to see if you like the transition from monitor 1 to monitor 2. Be sure to drag it fully (or very close) to monitor 2, or it won't change the scaling. If you're 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 because you only have three choices—100%, 125%, and 150%.
You can see Monitor 1 et Monitor 2 using the “Identify” option which displays black boxes with a number for each screen in the image above. You also see that the resized window (following the steps above) on monitor 1 matches the settings of monitor 2. If scaling is disabled for monitor 2, dragging the minimized window would change its size .
Custom scaling in Windows 10
If you need a more accurate display scale, you can use the advanced scaling option. This choice allows you to manually set your scaling percentage precisely to your needs. Note that any change here affects ALL attached displays, and it requires a logout to activate. In other words, you cannot customize each screen individually using this method.
Custom scaling is a simple process in Windows 10. The instructions below are based on Windows 10 Home, Version 21H1, OS Build 19043.1348 with Windows Feature Experience Pack 120.2212.3920.0. Locations of settings in previous releases or builds may differ slightly.
- Click on the “The Start Menu,” then " Settings. »
- To choose " Access facility. »
- In the "Expand All" section, click “Change the size of apps and text on other screens. » Even if it says “other displays”, the option you choose applies to all screens/monitors.
- In the "Scale and Layout" section, click “Advanced scaling options. »
- In the "Custom scaling" section, enter a custom scaling size (percentage-based), then click " Apply. »
- For the new scaling percentage to take effect, you must log out by clicking “Log out now. » Save any work or progress beforehand.
- Confirm your new scaling size and readjust it using the previous steps if desired. Note that the text and other image elements are larger since the percentage has changed to 140%. Of course, the resolution remains the same.
This process will adjust the text and image size on both screens, which is only handy if you need a detailed view of something.
In conclusion, Windows 10 display scaling is handled reasonably well by the operating system, as long as the resolutions are proportionally the same, compared to older versions. However, it's relatively easy to adjust if you have to manually intervene, but it doesn't always produce the desired results.
As you can see, you can change the scaling individually for each monitor or using the three presets. However, if you need a custom scaling percentage, you can only change all screens at once. While this scenario limits your scaling options, it's better than nothing, just like the good old days when resolution settings were the only choice.
Finally, Windows doesn't use screen size for scaling settings because it doesn't matter when dots per inch (DPI) is the all-important factor. A screen with twice the resolution (proportionally) will have just twice the pixel density.
Did you run into any issues setting up your display scaling? Share your opinion in the comments below.