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I have a Chromebook with a small screen size and relatively high pixel count (aka resolution)[1]. Some of the text that normally would be easily readable on my large 27 inch screen is literally... 1/16 inch tall on this screen... and I don't like that! I can't find where to adjust the Chromebook for "High DPI" mode or adjust the DPI scaling.

Does the Chromebook have any such a "High DPI" mode? If yes how do I navigate to this option and use change such an option?

At the very minimal I require: How do you increase the size of the Chrome-webbrowser GUI interface? If there isn't a way I need to make a feature/enhancement request (Windows 7 has been around since 2009 and has some decent/good support for High-DPI settings...)

I know you can lower the screen resolution but this question wants to explore other solutions besides lowering the screen resolution [2].


Here is what I have tried so far.

I tried two things:

  • Settings --> Web Content --> Font Size
  • Settings --> Web Content --> Page Zoom

But neither of these increase the size of the Chrome-webbrowser GUI interface. (Also if you do crank these up too much... you get this absolutely ridiculous situation where you have some parts that are large... but then your mouse-pointer and Chrome-webbrowser are all so tiny that it makes your eyes bleed.)

For now I am using the "Page Zoom" at 125%. But it does not adjust the size of the Chrome-webbrowser... or the taskbar GUI interface with application icons or the settings icon in the lower-right.

UPDATE:

I tried a third solution:

  • Settings --> Accessibility --> "Enable Screen Magnifier"

When you use this feature, the chrome webrowser-gui is bigger... but it only let's you see 25% of the screen... because you only see 25% this solution is not an option for me. I need to see all the windows at all times (i.e. see all the window and the tray when a window is maximized).


[1] I have heard a number of different people/groups use the term "High DPI" to describe such a screen that is small with lots of pixels.

Mobile phones support these "High DPI" screen types for almost all applications but Desktop applications are more hit or miss. A more recent application may present a GUI that is readable/easy-to-use on a High DPI device... but then the next application's GUI is so tiny that you can almost not use the application unless you do something like lower your resolution or something.

[2] Lowering your screen resolution IMO is not an option because then your screen becomes fuzzy/less-readable (because you are running at the non-native screen resolution) and you are wasting your money (buying an expensive/hi-res screen then using it like a cheap/lo-res screen... and you lose functionality because less pixels means you can display less).

  • I think that this is impossible with Chrome. Are you interested in installing Linux on the Chromebook either as dual boot or as embedded in ChromeOS, so giving you the option to use other browsers? – harrymc Dec 22 '15 at 9:44
  • @harrymc I did not want to install Linux. I wanted to keep ChromeOS and Chrome web browser. – Trevor Boyd Smith Dec 22 '15 at 11:10
  • @clamchowder314 technically your answer fulfills the minimum requirement: "make the chrome webbrowser UI bigger" --> but this solution is worse than the other solutions ("lowering resolution", "page increase", "font increase") because this solution makes you lose visibility of the rest of the screen (i.e. you zoom in on the top and can't see the bottom... and you zoom in on the bottom and you can't see the top). – Trevor Boyd Smith Dec 28 '15 at 23:45
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In a nut-shell there are two keyboard shortcuts for modifying a Chromebooks DPI settings:

  • Ctrl + Shift + +
  • Ctrl + Shift + -

When you use these keyboard shortcuts your DPI of the screen will change but your Chromebook will be always be using the native resolution of the LCD (in my case that native resolution is 1080p).

To verify that your machine is still using the native LCD screen resolution you can goto youtube to view an HD video and you will see 1080p pixels. Or open a 1080p image and see there are 1080p pixels. (I even went so far as creating a test image that has for all pixels black pixel then white pixel and when you view the image fullscreen you can see all the pixels.)


(

I will comment briefly about something more advanced that is IMO confusing. Feel free to skip this if you aren't well versed in what "DPI" means and why it's important to run your screen at the "native" resolution:

The documentation and behavior for these two keyboard shortcuts is a little confusing IMO. The documentation refers to "Change screen resolution". When you:

  • Ctrl + Shift + +
    • the chromebook has a notifcation saying "your screen resolution has increased to NxM pixels
  • Ctrl + Shift + -
    • the chromebook has a notifcation saying "your screen resolution has decreased to NxM pixels

But then whenever you view an HD 1080p video ... the HD video displays the same way even when you do: Ctrl + Shift + - and your screen resolution is set to 600p or 800p.

The fact that your HD video still displays correctly shows that these settings are adjusting the DPI and not actually changing the screen resolution.

)

  • Also FYI. the solution given by @AaronLad has been deprecated/removed in more recent versions of ChromeOS in favor of the keyboard shortcut I talk about in this answer. – Trevor Boyd Smith May 11 '16 at 14:07
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    Changes the size of the web page contents, but does nothing for Chrome's UI, which was how I interpreted the OP's question. (Chrome version 51.0.2704.103) – Marc Rochkind Jul 13 '16 at 17:01
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I haven't played with a high DPI chrome-os device in a while, but I remember needing the chrome://flags/#force-device-scale-factor flag set

(I found the exact link here)

  • on my chromebook, I have version 47...when I got to chrome://flags/ I don't see any "force-device-scale-factor". So I don't think this can be accepted as an answer because this experimental feature seems to have disappeared. – Trevor Boyd Smith Dec 29 '15 at 0:26
  • I read the link you gave but it was "closed" on 06/09/2014 with the solution being "please submit further input via alt-shift-i"... which does not solve the problem at all. I chose to submit this question/URL via chromebook's alt-shift-i. – Trevor Boyd Smith Dec 29 '15 at 0:57
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    I searched google for force-device-scale-factor then found a reddit thread then a blog post then finally an official google-chrome-os response... apparently this "force-device-scale-factor" feature has been implemented <continued> – Trevor Boyd Smith Dec 29 '15 at 1:49
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    <continued from previous comment> you can access this feature by doing Settings --> Device --> Display Settings then you just change the resolution. I tested this by changing my resolution to 864p (1536x864) and looking at the pixels in the screenshot. The pixels in the screenshot were 1080p and the chrome-webbrowser-gui and the "tray" was significantly larger --> so this MAY fulfill what I needed... but "Display Settings" is not labeled correctly IMO. I'm confused because the screenshot has 1080p but the settings say 864p... it's one or the other. <continued> – Trevor Boyd Smith Dec 29 '15 at 2:04
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    <continued> so... if the screenshot is correct then my chromebook is doing is exactly what I want and the settings IMO should say something about "FYI this is achieved via scaling". If the resolution of the screen is 864p then this is not what I want. – Trevor Boyd Smith Dec 29 '15 at 2:05
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You could try using the screen magnifier.

Settings->Show advanced settings->Turn on screen magnifier

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For completeness, if Chrome does not provide a way to achieve what you want, you might consider installing Linux on the Chromebook, so to be able to use another browser than Chrome.
And no worries : You will still keep Chrome OS and the Chrome browser.

Using Crouton, one can install the Linux distribution of your choice, using the chroot command to run it on top of Chrome OS (which is already based on Linux). Unlike dual-booting, that means you can switch between Chrome OS and Linux with a quick keyboard shortcut, no reboots necessary.

Below are some references that will get you started, but many more are available on the Internet :

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