Microsoft

Quick Tip: Maximize a Command Prompt window the right way

Learn how to calculate a value that will allow you to configure the Command Prompt window to fill up the entire screen.

Do you regularly use command line tools to perform certain tasks in Windows? If so, you know that when you click the maximize button on the Command Prompt window, the window only fills up half the screen and can make it difficult to see all the information displayed in the window, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A

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By default, maximizing the Command Prompt window only fills up half the screen.

Chances are that you've wished that when you maximized the Command Prompt window it would fill the whole screen so that you could get a better view of the information displayed in the window. Fortunately, there is a formula into which you plug in the width numbers from your screen resolution and the font size in the Command Prompt window, which will allow you to calculate a value that will allow you to configure the Command Prompt window to fill up the entire screen when you click the maximize button. Let take a closer look.

Caveats

To begin with it is important to understand that the configuration changes that you make in this technique will be specific to the shortcut that you use to launch the Command Prompt. For example, if you launch the Command Prompt from the Run dialog box and make configuration changes, you won't see those same changes if you launch the Command Prompt from the Start Menu or the Start Screen. Likewise, if you make configuration changes to an Administrator Command Prompt, you won't see those same changes on a standard Command Prompt.

Gathering the details

The first thing that you need to have is the screen resolution of your monitor. As you can see in Figure B, the screen resolution of my main monitor is 1920 x 1080.

Figure B

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You'll need to get the screen resolution of you monitor

The second thing that you need to have is the font size that is being used in the Command Prompt window. So open a Command Prompt window, access the Properties and select the Font tab, as shown in Figure C. As you can see, the default font size is 8 x 12.

Figure C

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On the Font tab you can see that the default font size is 8 x 12. Making the change

Now, if you look back at Figure A, you can see the default maximized Command Prompt window already spans the height of the screen, so we are only concerned with extending the width. As such, our formula is Screen Resolution Width / Font Size Width = Screen Buffer Size Width.

This means that the numbers we need from the screen resolution and the font size are 1920 and 8. So, in the case of my example system, I'll use 1920/8 = 240.

On the Command Prompt Properties, I'll select the Layout tab and will discover that the default Screen Buffer Size Width is 80. I'll then change that to 240, as shown in Figure D, and click OK.

Figure D

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On the Layout tab, you'll use the result in the Screen Buffer Size Width value.

Now when I maximize the Command Prompt window, it fills the whole screen and I can see all the information displayed from my command, as shown in Figure E.

Figure E

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Having a maximized Command Prompt window makes it easy to see all the information displayed on the screen. Making adjustments

If you find that the font is too small in your now full screen, maximized Command Prompt window, you can make an adjustment. Access Properties, go back to the Font tab, select either 10 x 18 or 12 x 16, and then click OK. You'll then need to go back to the Layout tab and reset the Screen Buffer Size Width to the appropriate value. For example, I selected the 12 x 16 font size and then changed the Screen Buffer Size Width to 160.

I also found that having a black maximized Command Prompt window was a bit unnerving, so I went to the Colors tab and changed the Screen Text to white and the Screen Background to Blue. Now my maximized Command Prompt window, shown in Figure F is easier to read and more pleasing to look at

Figure F

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With a larger font and a better color scheme, it's easier to read the information.

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About

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

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