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Get IT Done: Make Windows Help menu text easier to read by increasing font size

Increase Windows Help menu text size for easier reading


Here's a tip you can use to increase the size of the text in the Windows 2000 Help menu. This is especially handy for users who have vision problems and who set their screen to a relatively high resolution to make the screen easier to read. In many applications, you can simply increase the font size to make the text larger, but the Help file doesn't allow you to do this directly. Instead, you must change the font settings in both Internet Explorer (IE) and Windows 2000.

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The IE connection
Help relies on IE to render its text. So to change the font size for the Help files, you must change the font size of Internet Explorer.

In IE, choose View | Text Size and choose the desired size. Next, choose Tools | Internet Options and click the Accessibility button. Select the Ignore Font Sizes Specified On Web Pages option, click OK, and then close the Internet Explorer properties sheet. If Help is open, close it and open it again to see the change (Figure A).

Figure A
Choosing to ignore font sizes specified on Web pages causes all text on a page to be displayed using the size font. On this page, the links on the left navigation bar aren't aligned correctly.


A quick note: The above instructions will change the font size within IE, and some users may not like how Web pages are displayed after the change. Also, choosing to ignore the font sizes specified on Web pages will cause some pages to display improperly, as shown in figure Figure A.

Change Help's menu and tabs
To also change the font size used by Help for its menu and tabs (Figure B), you must change a global Windows 2000 font setting.

Figure B
This is at a screen resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels, a Windows font size of 96 dpi, and an IE text size of medium.


Right-click the desktop and choose Properties. Click the Settings tab and then click the Advanced button. On the General tab, select the desired font size from the Font Size drop-down list. Close the properties sheet and restart the system to see the change take effect (Figure C).

Figure C
You can easily see the difference between this Help window and the one shown in Figure B.


This figure shows a screen at a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels, a Windows font size of 120 dpi, an IE text size of Larger, and with the Ignore Font Sizes Specified On Web Pages option enabled.

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