Windows 7 (Aero) does not offer an option to easily change the taskbar font size.

I was using the Medium Text size of 125%.
(Set via Control Panel\Appearance and Personalization\Display)

The problem I found was that many programs, sad to say, Microsoft's included, don't scale or position properly at other than 100%. I've reset the DPI to 100%, and have been able to customize most of my windows settings for easy reading, except the task bar font size

In Summary:

  • There are many ways to change the taskbar font color.
  • I'm looking to increase the actual font size.

You can not change the appearance of the taskbar in that way, The only alternative I see is not using the default Explorer shell (taskbar & desktop). Windows has the ability to use alternative shells.


The taskbar font size can be changed by changing the font size of the Active Title Bar setting in the Windows Color and Appearance window.

That window is reachable via Control Panel -> Appearance and Personalization -> Personalization -> Window color -> Advanced appearance settings.

But there is a gotcha : it works in the Classic theme, but not in Aero.

Otherwise, I can see no solution for Aero, except by replacing the taskbar. See :

Best Free Program Launcher (including comments)
The Best Application Launchers and Docks for Organizing Your Desktop

As you say that the taskbar font is not the only problem left unsolved, I don't think that a complete solution is possible under Aero in Windows 7. You might consider seeing whether Windows 8, and especially Windows 8.1 (named Blue), can do better with its new algorithms for seamless DPI scaling.

Here are some links about Windows 8 and 8.1 :

Building Windows 8 : Scaling to different screens
In Blue: Automatic Desktop Display Scaling

  • You could also change the DPI to 110%. Most programs will still display correctly, and this might be better than nothing. – harrymc Jul 6 '13 at 19:05

I don't have a concrete answer for you, but I can tell you where I would start. I warn you that this line of inquiry is not for the faint of heart.

The style information for the aero theme under Windows 7 is located in a resource-laden DLL called shellstyle.dll, in C:\Windows\Resources\Themes\Aero\Shell\NormalColor. The file's resources can be viewed with a tool called Resource Hacker, available here. Upon opening the file, you should browse to /UIFILE/1/1033 - and you'll find the XML definitions of the styles used by Aero, as shown below. This should include most of the fonts, sizes, and icons used throughout explorer. CSS Definitions are in /23/CPWEBVM.CSS.

Resource Hacker MSSTYLES

I've successfully edited this resource before to remove a number of UI elements I didn't like in explorer, such as the Command Bar. If the font for taskbar entries is defined anywhere at all, it will be in this file. It's also possible that this font inherits from some global value and can be overridden in this file - there's actually a good deal of flexibility, but you need to know what you're doing.

If you want to make changes, back up the original file, take ownership, and replace it. Then you'll need to manually restart explorer.exe to see the effects. If you have any doubts whatsoever about editing this file, I would leave it well alone and learn to live with the existing fonts in the taskbar buttons.


Check if you can configure the right option by editing the registry.


Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics, here you will find various values that you can set.

It is explained with screenshots here: http://www.wikihow.com/Customize-the-Size-of-the-Windows-7-Taskbar-Icons.

Check the Registry section.


You could change the DPI. It's not the same thing as the changing resolution. Which will also change the size.

How to Change DPI - Windows 7

  • Right Click Desktop
  • Select Personalize
  • Select Display from left side bar at the bottom
  • Select new size higher than the current setting
  • Click Apply
  • Logout then back in
  • 1
    A little background ... I was using an increased DIP 125%. The problem being that many programs, sad to say, Microsoft's included, don't scale or position properly at other than 100%. I've reset to 100%, and have been able to make everything larger, for easy reading, except the task bar font size. – Noah Dec 28 '10 at 12:54

Control Panel\Appearance and Personalization\Personalization then click on Window Color. Window Color and Appearance dialogue box opens. In the Items dropdown select Menu, then change Font size and click Apply. It will adjust the folders that are within the taskbar/bookmarks parent folders but not the parent folder itself.


You might have a problem with the default DPI setting in Windows 7 as I explained in this recent answer of mine in response to the question Font size in Windows 7.

It all boils down to what did your Windows 7 installation do during the initial installation based on the available hardware (drivers).

If Windows was installed using the 100% (default) DPI setting, then resizing to 125% will only resize normal fonts, but none of the system relevant fonts as explained in my post.

To correct this you have to determine what your Windows 7 installation deemed right during installation and possibly manually edit the registry to fix the system fonts (not to be confused with the SYSTEM font).


Not an great selection,but may be better
Start Menu>right click on >properties>Taskbar tab>Taskbar appearance>use small icons

  • <SMILE> I am actually wanting to increase the font size – Noah Dec 27 '10 at 18:23
  • sorry-did the same thing with my lotto numbers – mic84 Dec 28 '10 at 0:34

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