I've been using Ubuntu 16.04 with dual 4k displays for about 3-4 months now, but all of a sudden today, the zoom level & UI size seems off in Chrome.

The dual-display screenshot has 3 windows (from left to right): Visual Studio Code, Chromium, and Chrome.

As you can see, Chrome and Chromium are arriving at different conclusions for what scale things ought to be.

a screenshot wherein Visual Studio Code, Chrome, and Chromium indicate the zoom problem

Since Visual Studio Code is built on the Electron Platform, it's effectively an instance of Chrome, so that's why I included it here for comparison. The left pane w/ the file list is normally about 60% of the size in this screen shot.

For both Chrome and VS Code, zooming out 2-levels gets it roughly to where it's been all along.

So, Question: How do I fix this so that I don't have to zoom in/out in Chrome?


  • in Display settings in Ubuntu remain the same--both displays @ 3840x2160 res and a 1.5x scale factor for 'menu and title bars'.

  • My system is an i5 6600K w/ GTX 960 using the NVIDIA binary driver, v 361.45.18

  • the Menu font in all windows appears slightly larger than usual

8 Answers 8


I figured this out, thanks in part to the Angel who wrote this.

tl;dr: do this:

  1. Go to your Settings -> Displays
  2. Note what the value of the slider is at "Scale for menu and title bars" (mine was 1.5)
  3. Open a terminal
  4. sudo gedit /usr/share/applications/google-chrome.desktop
  5. Find this line (at approx 108):

Exec=/usr/bin/google-chrome-stable %U

  1. Change it to this (where n is the value you noted in step #2):

Exec=/usr/bin/google-chrome-stable --force-device-scale-factor=n %U

  1. Save/close, relaunch Chrome.

Unfortunately this doesn't seem to work with VS Code, but that's less of an issue, as you can simply zoom out (View Menu -> Zoom Out), and it affects the entire UI.

Explanation: Ubuntu applies a system-wide scaling factor to the UI in hi-DPI monitors. Chrome thinks it's so special, so it ignores that and does its own thing.

The link above recommends changing to a 1 scaling factor, but this is the equivalent of 0 scaling (not OK for hi-dpi).

By mirroring the system scale factor, you bring Chrome in-line w/ everything else.

  • 1
    As noted by Angel in the linked article above this is now fixed in Chrome however a very related issue is the issue I am having. Is there anyway to get Chrome to refresh the scaling after you make a change without having to restart Chrome?
    – joesk
    Feb 10, 2017 at 15:34
  • I'm on Ubuntu 16.04 as well using Google Chrome Beta. This answer worked with a tweak of replacing every google-chrome instance with google-chrome-beta. Cheers.
    – Keith OYS
    Jun 1, 2017 at 1:03
  • I can't set scale factor to 0.5 for example, however my fonts in Chromium still too big. Any other solution?
    – Aleksey K
    Jul 24, 2017 at 3:49
  • 3
    I applied this answer to my system (scaling = 0.875), but it doesn't seem to have any effect on Chrome at all.
    – Nur
    Sep 5, 2017 at 11:05
  • If your using a launcher, make sure to up date it there as well. It worked for both chrome stable, and beta 71.0.35
    – MeowMeow
    Dec 8, 2018 at 21:40

I managed to get Chrome to auto-scale to the same scale I'm using in gnome desktop by doing the following:

I created a bash script at /usr/bin/chrome-scaled:

text_scale=$(gsettings get org.gnome.desktop.interface text-scaling-factor)
/usr/bin/google-chrome-stable --high-dpi-support=1 --force-device-scale-factor=$text_scale %U

And then I created a new desktop shortcut at /user/share/applications/chrome-scaled.desktop:

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Google Chrome
GenericName=Web Browser
Comment=Access the Internet
Name[en_CA]=Chrome Scaled

Then I opened the shortcut and locked it to my launcher. Now, whatever scale you're using in gnome will also be used in Chrome.

You could also potentially avoid creating the new .desktop file and just edit the google-chrome.desktop file instead.

  • 1
    Works, but also shrinks the content within the browser Sep 18, 2018 at 4:48
  • I also had to edit the Exec for the Actions for it to work, otherwise it would just use the default hidpi settings and ignore the edited Exec order. Sep 24, 2018 at 15:09

The problem still persists when using Google Chrome under Ubuntu 18.04. I didn't want to touch the system-wide desktop file (which I believe may get overridden by a Chrome update), so I've edited the Chrome launcher using the Alacarte menu editor, adding the --force-device-scale-factor=n as Brandon has instructed. It worked, but only for launching Chrome from the overview. When launching it from the dock, the scale factor override was disregarded, and all the fonts were again small. To fix it, I've edited the ~/.local/share/applications/google-chrome.desktop (created probably by Alacarte), inserting --force-device-scale-factor=n in every line after Exec=/usr/bin/google-chrome-stable - there are three such lines in the desktop file, and Alacarte only altered the first, but not those for "New Window" and "New Incognito Window". Now the font dpi override works even when launching Chrome from the dock, and I haven't had to alter files as root.

  • After doing the changes you mentioned, the effects took place after I logged out and then logged in again. I also removed Google Chrome from favorites and then added it again. Dec 15, 2018 at 4:50

Try adding:

Exec=/usr/bin/google-chrome-stable --force-device-scale-factor=0.8 %U

in chrome.desktop file and fonts in tabs and menu look nice.

  • 2
    Does this still works for you? I tried this (at 0.8 and 0.875) but it doesn't have any effect.
    – Nur
    Sep 5, 2017 at 11:07
  • seems like it uses the system scaling now, per the accepted answer. I am using gnome tweak tool to modify that and it affects chrome too apps.ubuntu.com/cat/applications/gnome-tweak-tool
    – jaimedash
    Dec 20, 2017 at 20:49
  • Playing with the numerical scale-factor seems to me the best way to find the proper UI size: 0.8 will reduce, above 1.0 will increase it. On a hidpi laptop display (Kubuntu/Plasma desktop) the UI items were too small, so I use 1.3.
    – cipricus
    Jun 7, 2021 at 7:20

For chromium and ubuntu:

Edit /etc/chromium-browser/default:

CHROMIUM_FLAGS="--force-device-scale-factor=n --high-dpi-support=1"
  • I used these flags in my local .bashrc, which helped a lot using a snap installation of chromium-browser.
    – BradHards
    May 30, 2021 at 2:17

Running 18.04, I had the same experience reported by @nur in comments: --force-device-scale-factor was ignored. In my case I was using Chromium.

I wanted to update the Chromium scaling (too small). I discovered nur's post a month later at https://askubuntu.com/a/963997/457417 where they reported on a solution:

  1. If you have Chromium installed (in my case, the apt package via the Ubuntu Software Center), uninstall it and remove the config folder from ~/.config/chromium
  2. set a systemwide scaling, either thru the GUI or in my case with the terminal (gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface text-scaling-factor 1.2) https://askubuntu.com/a/1041423/457417
  3. reinstall Chromium - again, the apt package via Ubuntu Software Center

This answer is a bit off from the question, but I think it could help someone using more recent Ubuntu defaults.


I did what was said above and it worked what was not clear was ...

When I opened the file using this terminal command:

$ sudo gedit /usr/share/applications/google-chrome.desktop

the only line that looked similar was at the very bottom: and showed this:

Exec=/usr/bin/google-chrome-stable --incognito

So I commented the line out, ... and added the line with a 200 value

So it looks like this

Commented out by Mark Exec=/usr/bin/google-chrome-stable --incognito

Exec=/usr/bin/google-chrome-stable --force-device-scale-factor=200 %U

  • This is commenting out incognito windows and should not be used. Recommend erasing this answer if possible.
    – Seek Truth
    Jul 30, 2021 at 1:11

OK so definitively this works, as mentioned in the accepted answer.

$ sudo gedit /usr/share/applications/google-chrome.desktop

At about line 108, find Exec=/usr/bin/google-chrome-stable %U

Change it to:

Exec=/usr/bin/google-chrome-stable --force-device-scale-factor=n %U

n being the numerical decimal scaling factor. Typically between 1.0 - 2.0.

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