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Is it possible to set the DPI of individual applications in Windows?

I want to increase the DPI of one or more applications but not the entire system.

Can this be done?

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  • 10
    It's amazing that they still haven't figured out that this is the one thing that would make high DPI displays entirely tolerable WAY before all the developers fix all their apps.
    – RomanSt
    Jul 25, 2014 at 0:54
  • As this still doesn't seem to be possible, I added a suggestion in Microsofts Feedback Hub: aka.ms/AAb5aq5
    – T S
    Feb 15, 2021 at 16:28

4 Answers 4

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Is it possible to set the DPI of individual applications in Windows?

In a word, no.

It's a global setting.

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  • 24
    very unfortunate Apr 8, 2011 at 16:59
  • 30
    still very unfortunate nearly five years later
    – Simon
    Aug 6, 2014 at 2:52
  • 1
    Since Windows 10 is released now does windows 10 support this ? Oct 28, 2015 at 8:39
  • There's a technique called DPI virtualization, it can be enabled per-application. I posted a link to the tutorial in my answer below.
    – Andy
    Aug 14, 2016 at 6:40
  • Another 3 years and still no further message. Pity that MS never realized how important is it.
    – Ben
    Oct 21, 2019 at 3:19
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Yes! It can be done. You can change the DPI setting of an individual application in Windows, but only if it supports it. You can do this in the following way.

If you have a few specific applications that support high DPI settings, but don’t indicate it, you can configure that detail manually. To do so, right-click the shortcut that starts the application (in the Start menu) and choose Properties. On the Compatibility tab, enable the option named Disable Display Scaling on High DPI Settings. If you have a lot of applications to configure, this gets tiring fast.

Note: This will work just fine with Windows Vista and Windows 7 don't know about Windows XP.

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    I just tested the "Disable display scaling on high DPI settings" on Windows 7. It does not cause text to be rendered "medium" when the global setting is "small" or vice versa. In other words, "Disable display scaling on high DPI setting" does not impact text size in the same way as CP->Display-Set Custom Text size (DPI).
    – alx9r
    Nov 1, 2012 at 16:28
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    This disables display scaling; it does not disable high DPI. Display scaling is a backwards compatibility feature that lets bad apps render at 96 DPI and be scaled to whatever DPI the screen is set to (as a bitmap). Some older apps handle High DPI correctly but don't declare it, so they shouldn't fall into the "bad app bucket" that get blurry UI. This setting disables this scaling and tells the app what the real DPI is; it doesn't let the app run at 96 DPI as if DPI scaling were not enabled. Mar 10, 2013 at 3:50
  • If I have 13" my main laptop's and 19" external monitor, does that mean everything I see on my laptop's monitor will be too big?
    – Boris_yo
    Dec 8, 2014 at 6:37
  • I don't fully understand all the ins-and-outs of this, but I tried this on one application that was giving me significant grief (an older .NET 2.x app), and it seemed to have no impact whatsoever: the layout was just as broken before changing the setting as afterwards. The only workaround I've come up with is to (gaah) run it on a completely different computer. Even doing remote desktop into that remote computer from my high-DPI machine breaks the app.
    – Ken Smith
    Aug 10, 2015 at 20:17
  • I use a 4K and 2560 ('2K') monitor side by side in Windows 10, and they have the same dimension (27"). So, the 4K display must be scaled 150% or so to be generally usable. I used this compatibility setting to prevent putty.exe from being naively scaled and thus becoming blurry on whichever display is the non-primary display. Now, what's cumbersome about this is that I do have to manually adjust the terminal's font size for when I use it on the 4K display as it would be otherwise too small again, but having the ability to force it to display a legacy program without any scaling is super useful.
    – Steven Lu
    Jun 11, 2018 at 7:05
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Here's a technique that may indirectly address your need. In Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 there is a possibility to enable dpi scaling for old applications written before high-resolution screens appeared. Windows will make an application believe it's drawing on a low-dpi screen and will take care of scaling the entire window for the application, so that the result shows large enough on a high-dpi screen. This will be bitmap scaling, no vector, so expect some blurring as a consequence.

You will need to enable one key in registry, then supply an XML manifest file for each application you want to scale. A good tutorial on this is How to Fix App Scaling Surface Pro 4 + Other High DPI Displays .

Here comes the important section of the external manifest posted in the YouTube video description:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="yes"?>
<assembly xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:asm.v1" manifestVersion="1.0" xmlns:asmv3="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:asm.v3">
  <asmv3:application>
    <asmv3:windowsSettings xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/SMI/2005/WindowsSettings">
      <ms_windowsSettings:dpiAware xmlns:ms_windowsSettings="http://schemas.microsoft.com/SMI/2005/WindowsSettings">false</ms_windowsSettings:dpiAware>
    </asmv3:windowsSettings>
  </asmv3:application>
</assembly>

And here comes the the .reg file content that activates external manifest files:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\SideBySide]
"PreferExternalManifest"=dword:00000001
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    Are you able to summarise the contents of the link in your answer? If the video were taken down or otherwise moved then your answer would become useless to future visitors.
    – Mokubai
    Aug 14, 2016 at 8:02
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    As someone who can't watch YouTube videos at work, I second Mokubai's comment.
    – domsson
    Feb 14, 2017 at 12:56
  • Asked at superuser.com/questions/1281939/… - how would I implement that. Thanks. Jan 2, 2018 at 20:26
  • 1
    Isn't it more simple just to go to shortcut properties and disable DPI scaling in Compatibility (8.1)? Your suggestion does not solve custom DPI values.
    – midenok
    May 5, 2020 at 23:59
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SOLUTION FOR WINDOWS 10 in high resolution PCs.

Right click on the software icon/link > properties > tab "compatibility"> change high DPI setting > mark the checkbox "override high DPI scaling behavior"> select "system" in the window below (the default is "application")

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