Question

increase font size in Finder menu?

I have a new iMac with a 27" screen, but with the highest resolution setting, all the menu bar items are too small to read. I've done a temporary fix (I hope) by decreasing the resolution, but that only uses a portion of the screen. Why did I buy a 27" monitor if I'm only using 24"? There has to be a better way. Can anybody help? Thanks.

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Answer
Yes.

Click on desktop or your hard drive icon. The Finder menu will be displayed at the upper row, left. Go to View>show view options (or command-J) and adjust the text size to your liking. The same menu will allow you to increase the icon sizes as well.

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(NT) and then put the resolution back to what it was
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I don't think

I don't think that will do anything for the menu bar however, and after a quick test, confirmed it.

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Answer
Nope

Nope, this is one of those odd UI quirks of Mac OS X. There are potentially programs out there that will tinker with that, but they will likely end up causing more problems than they're worth when it comes time for 10.6.8 or even just some random security update. It may also cause certain programs to become unstable, because they typically work by altering the program in memory. Sort of like cheat programs for video games, which alter certain parts of the game in the memory, and can cause the game to freeze or behave in unexpected ways.

This is one of those things you would have thought would have been addressed years ago, but sadly no. On the semi-upside, the continued iOS-ification of Mac OS X probably means that the menu bar is likely to gradually be phased out over time. Probably by 10.10 or OS 11, whatever they decide to call it. The upcoming 10.7 already introduces full screen apps, so just give it a little more time for the group that screams bloody murder if something gets moved a single pixel to adjust, then get rid of it. Wouldn't be surprised if in 10.8 they make it something you can toggle on and off, then 10.9 has it off by default, then after that it's just gone for good.

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You are correct

This will not affect the size of the main menubar, only of the desktop icons. But I think the major problem is actually the small-print filenames on the desktop. One can live with the small menubar, I guess (or must!). Sacrificing the monitor resolution up to the black "belts" at the sides does not seem to be a good idea.

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There is a shabby workaround

This is all I could dig up on system font. Go to system preferences, mouse. Enable "zoom using scroll wheel while holding (control is default). Now, if you point the mouse to the Finder menu and press control, you can zoom in by the mouse scroll wheel. Everything would be enlarged including the menubar font size. By optimizing the picture, one could possibly find a compromise. It is not the real solution still, although some kind of it. I also found that somebody tried a Terminal command increasing system font size by 50%. However, this messed up some buttons in some open apps, so even the poster did not recommend it.

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Possibly

Possibly, but the OP did specifically say "menu bar" right in the subject line.

There may well be a way to change it, but odds are it would have undesired side-effects. Some longer menu items might end up running off the menu entirely, and it might become harder to select individual items.

Another possible, though ugly, workaround is you might be able to find some kind of overlay magnifying glass type thing for the iMac. Sort of like a glare filter, only it functions as a magnifying glass.

Ultimately, Apple just needs to make this something users can change on their own, but I think the most radical change they've ever made to the menu bar is making it translucent in either 10.5 or 10.6 I forget. Maybe changing it so that you don't have to hold down the mouse button to keep the menu open. It's remained almost completely unchanged (outside of colors and whether or not it's pin-striped) since the ][gs days.

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