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Is there a way to increase the default font size for Java GUI applications?

I am using someone else’s custom Java tool (no, I do not have the source) to perform text annotation for a research project.

The text within the application is painfully small.

For most Windows applications, changing the system font size settings in the control panel will also change the font size in that application.

However, after increasing the default text size (on Windows 7), the text in this Java application remains excruciatingly small.

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This is a problem with high resolution displays. Programs like eclipse, blender and mendeley are difficult to use (all with java GUIs). This is a problem also with windows 8. I am adding a bounty. –  Juha May 31 '14 at 21:56
correction to previous: blender is actually not java... although it has similar problem, (font) scaling is not inherited from operating system –  Juha May 31 '14 at 22:14
If the app uses Swing, then it should inherit larger font settings. Anyway it would be great to know (or at least make a guess) which GUI framework uses the app in question. Can you post the screenshot? –  Alexey Ivanov Jun 4 '14 at 6:29

2 Answers 2

IF you know Java...

...look through the application and see if you can't find a text variable, and if you can find something, then modify it. Simple as that.

IF you DON'T know java...

...Use the Windows Magnification tool. It operates quite well and doesn't impede the speed of any applications that it is magnifying. The application is in the accessories>Ease Of Access folder of your start menu. Bellow is what it looks like when its in use- The application that is being magnified is Google Sketchup but the tool should function just fine with pretty much every other application.

enter image description here

Im sure there are other tools for doing the same thing, but because this software is designed specifically for Windows 7 it will operate best.

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I know Java, but the problem is that I don't have the source code (it's not my application). I'm just looking for a way to set the overall text size similar to the way I can with Windows applications and the Control Panel. I tried the magnifier and it quickly became more trouble than it was worth. –  skeryl Oct 8 '13 at 18:26
Well... And I'm not recommending this because it could be a nightmare, but... Java programs are trivial to decompile. You could try decompiling it, modifying the Jasmin to call a Swing function which modifies the global text size, then recompiling. Again, I don't recommend this, but you could do it. –  Parthian Shot Jun 2 '14 at 18:30

For what it's worth, I have seen command-line switches that relate to specific packages.


java -Dswing.aatext=true -Dswing.plaf.metal.controlFont=Tahoma -Dswing.plaf.metal.userFont=Tahoma


java -DWindows.controlFont=Tahoma-plain-11 -DWindows.menuFont=Tahoma-plain-12 -DPlastic.controlFont=Tahoma-plain-11 -DPlastic.menuFont=Tahoma-bold-11
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