Javascript is not enabled.

Javascript must be enabled to use this site. Please enable Javascript in your browser and try again.

Skip to content
Content starts here
CLOSE ×
Search
Leaving AARP.org Website

You are now leaving AARP.org and going to a website that is not operated by AARP. A different privacy policy and terms of service will apply.

Make Your PC or Macintosh Computer Easier on Your Eyes

Learn the many ways in Windows 10, Windows 11 or macOS to change your computer’s display settings

eyes on a computer monitor
GETTY IMAGES

Perhaps something doesn’t seem right with the way your computer is displaying text, color or brightness. But that doesn’t mean you need to replace it.

Chances are good that all you need to do is tweak the display settings of your laptop or desktop. You don’t need to be tech savvy to pull off the changes you make.

member card

AARP Membership — $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal

Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP the Magazine.

Join Now

If you want an upgrade to a bigger monitor or dual-screen setup, computers these days automatically sense the best settings when you plug in a new monitor. But you may need to do some fine-tuning. That’s also true if you want to enable various accessibility features baked into your operating system.

Whether you’re on a Windows PC running Microsoft Windows 10 or 11 or an Apple Macintosh, the following are some ways to adjust the display settings so it will be just right for you and your eyes.

Windows 10 operating system has options

While Windows 10 is on its way out because of Microsoft’s introduction of Windows 11 in October 2021, as of June 2022 more than three-quarters of the PCs in the United States were still using the operating system, according to Statcounter GlobalStats, a Dublin-based company that tracks visitors to websites. About 1 in 8 PC users had upgraded to Windows 11, and more than 1 in 20 were still using Windows 7, which hasn’t been supported since January 2020.

Adjust size. To adjust the size of text, apps, menus, and other items, click Start ⊞ in the lower left corner, followed by Settings ⚙ | Ease of Access | Display. Use the slider under the words Make text bigger to enlarge the size of the words. Alternatively, select the option from the drop-down menu that says Make everything bigger to change the size of everything on your screen.

Change colors. Apply a color filter to your screen to make photos, text, and colors easier to see, something that can help people with various types of color blindness. The filters change the palette on the screen to a light and dark mode, inverted mode, red-green filters and more. Select the Start ⊞ button | Settings ⚙ | Ease of Access | Color filters and see what works best for you.

If you prefer to turn color filters on and off quickly, click the Start ⊞ button | Settings ⚙ | Ease of Access | Color filters and click so the toggle button keyboard shortcut for color filters is On. Going forward, press the Windows logo ⊞, Ctrl and c keys simultaneously to turn them on and off.

Similarly, if you don’t see enough contrast between the elements on your screen, try using a high contrast theme. Select the Start ⊞ button | Settings ⚙ | Ease of Access | Contrast themes. Select one of the options in the drop-down menu next to Contrast themes, such as Aquatic, Desert, Dusk or Night sky. Then click Apply.

Magnify your screen. Magnifier enlarges part or all of your screen, allowing you to see words and images better. To open Magnifier quickly, press the Windows logo ⊞ and the Plus sign + keys at the same time.

When Magnifier is open, use the Windows logo ⊞ and Plus sign + keys to zoom in and the Windows logo ⊞ and Minus sign - keys to zoom out. To close Magnifier, press the Windows logo ⊞ and Esc keys.

Change screen resolution. While you should use the recommended resolution — Windows 10 will automatically detect the monitor and optimize this for you — you can override by clicking Start ⊞ | Settings ⚙ | Ease of Access | Display. Now you can change your screen resolution by clicking on the drop-down menu under Display resolution.

If you want to increase or decrease the resolution manually, content on the screen might appear blurry or pixelated, but you can always revert to the recommended settings. If you don't see a setting you're looking for, try searching for it in the search box on the task bar near the bottom of the screen.

Adjust your mouse pointer. You can make your mouse pointer easier to see by changing its color, size and speed.

membership-card-w-shadow-192x134

AARP Membership — $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal

Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP the Magazine.

Select Start ⊞ | Settings ⚙ | Ease of Access | Cursor & pointer. Change the pointer size by dragging the blue line on the horizontal bar, left for smaller, right for bigger. You also can click to change the pointer style, solid black or white with black outline, and color by clicking the color palette that looks best to you.

Technology & Wireless

The UPS Store® Online Printing Services

20% off online printing services

See more Technology & Wireless offers >

To add pointer trails, to see better where the mouse is moving on your screen, select Start ⊞ | Settings ⚙ | Devices | Mouse | Additional mouse options. In the Mouse Properties window, select the Pointer Options tab | Display pointer trails.

Finally, visually challenged or blind individuals can enable Narrator, a screen reader built into Windows, that reads aloud what’s on your screen. To start or stop Narrator, press the Windows logo ⊞, Ctrl and Enter keys simultaneously.

Microsoft’s newest, Windows 11, offers similar visual aids

Adjust size. To easily adjust the size of text, apps, and other items, click the Start button ⊞ at the lower left of your PC and then Settings ⚙ in the apps displayed. Then click on the hamburger menu icon ☰ at the top of Settings ⚙ window, and choose Accessibility | Text size. Note that the Start button ⊞ isn’t in exactly the same place as in Windows 10, but closer to the center at the bottom of your screen.

Drag the slider next to Text size to the right to make your screen’s text larger. Drag the slider to the left for smaller text. Then click Apply.

To enlarge everything on your screen, select Start ⊞ | Settings ⚙ | System, the default on that hamburger menu so you might not have to select it | Display. Under Scale & Layout, change the Scale drop-down menu to a larger percentage.

Fine-tune color. You can make all photos, text and colors easier to see by applying a color filter. You can swap the default black text on a white background for white text on a black background or tweak the screen colors and color combination.

To apply color filters, choose Start ⊞ | Settings ⚙ | the hamburger menu icon ☰ | Accessibility | Color filters. Then set Color filters to On before choosing the options that work best for you.

A shortcut can turn your color filters on or off quickly, but you need to enable it first: Start ⊞ | Settings ⚙ | the hamburger menu icon ☰ | Accessibility | Color filters and set keyboard shortcut for color filters to On. Now you can press the Windows logo ⊞, Ctrl and c keys simultaneously to turn the desired color filters on and off.

Similarly, if you don’t see enough contrast between the elements on your screen, try using a high contrast theme. Click Start ⊞ | Settings ⚙ | the hamburger menu icon ☰ | Accessibility | Contrast themes. Select one of the options in the drop-down menu next to Contrast themes, such as Aquatic, Desert, Dusk or Night sky. Then click Apply. You can always go back to None in the drop-down menu if you don’t like any of them.

Magnify your screen. Magnifier enlarges part or all your screen, allowing you to see words and images better. To open Magnifier quickly, press the Windows logo ⊞ and the Plus sign + keys at the same time.

When Magnifier is open, use the Windows logo ⊞ and Plus sign + keys to zoom in and the Windows logo ⊞ and Minus sign - keys to zoom out. To close Magnifier, press the Windows logo ⊞ and Esc keys simultaneously.

Change screen resolution. While you should use the recommended resolution for the display that Windows 11 detects, you can change the resolution by clicking Start ⊞ | Settings ⚙ | System | Display. Adjust your screen resolution by clicking on the drop-down menu next to Display resolution and select one that looks good to you. If you don't see a setting you're looking for, try typing a few words such as color or text size in the search box on the task bar.

Adjust your mouse pointer. You can make your mouse pointer more visible by changing its color, size and speed. Click Start ⊞ | Settings ⚙ | the hamburger menu icon ☰ | Accessibility | Mouse pointer & touch. Then choose the options that work best for you. A fluorescent color recommended under the Custom option and increased size can help your mouse pointer stand out if the black or white versions get lost in emails or documents.

membership-card-w-shadow-192x134

AARP Membership — $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal

Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP the Magazine.

To add pointer trails, to see better where the mouse is moving on your screen, select Start ⊞ | Settings ⚙ | the hamburger menu icon ☰ | Bluetooth & devices | Mouse | Additional mouse settings. Now click the Pointer Options tab | and look for Display pointer trails. Check the box and decide what works for you.

Visually challenged or blind individuals can enable Narrator, a screen reader built into Windows, that reads aloud what’s on your screen. To start or stop Narrator, press the Windows logo ⊞, Ctrl and Enter keys simultaneously.

Change Apple Macs’ settings in System Preferences | Displays

The following instructions are for macOS Monterey, Apple's most recent operating system. Click the Apple logo at the top left of your screen | System Preferences… | Displays. If your Mac is connected to an external monitor, you’ll further have to select Display Settings.

Adjust font size, resolution. In Display Settings | Display and ColorDefault for display will be automatically selected and is optimized for your screen, but you can change this. Click Scaled and from the pull-down menu, select the desired resolution. The lower the resolution, the larger the size of everything on your Mac.

To increase text size for desktop icons, click View in the menu bar at the top of the screen, followed by Show View Options. On the left side of the screen, you can increase or decrease the icon size — slide to the right for larger or left for smaller — and also adjust grid spacing, text size and more.

To make content on the screen larger and easier to see, play with the Zoom preferences. For instance, you can Enable Hover Text to show a more magnified, high-resolution version of an item. Tweak it at the Apple logo | System Preferences… | Accessibility | Zoom.

Adjust color filters; enable Night Shift. To suit your specific needs or preferences, click the Apple logo | System Preferences… | Accessibility | Display | Color Filters.

Now you can choose a filter type: Grayscale, Red/Green (protanopia), Green/Red (deuteranopia), Blue/Yellow (tritanopia) or Color Tint. For all the filters except for Grayscale, drag the slider to adjust the intensity. The Color Tint filter allows you to click the Color thumbnail to customize the color.

A display’s True Tone feature automatically adjust its colors based on current ambient lighting conditions. If your display supports True Tone, click the checkbox to turn this feature on or off.

And if you prefer to shift your display to the warmer end of the color spectrum, which may be easier on your eyes when you use your Mac at night or in low-light conditions, use Night Shift. Click the Apple logo | System Preferences… | Displays | Night Shift. Select Manual to turn on Night Shift.

Change brightness, contrast. If the screen is too bright or too dark, you can adjust the display’s brightness manually or automatically. Manually, press the Increase Brightness key ☼ or the Decrease Brightness key to the left of it. Or click the Apple logo | System Preferences… | Displays. Then, drag the Brightness slider to meet your preference.

If your Mac has an ambient light sensor, choose the Apple logo | System Preferences… | Displays and check the box for Automatically adjust brightness. Depending on the type of display connected to your Mac, you may also see a Contrast slider that you can use to adjust the display’s contrast.

Other accessibility features include the built-in screen reader VoiceOver, Voice Control, and Mouse Pointer options. All are available at the Apple logo | System Preferences… | Accessibility.

Marc Saltzman is a contributing writer who covers personal technology. His work also appears in USA Today and other national publications. He hosts the podcast series Tech It Out and is the author of several books, including Apple Watch for Dummies.

membership-card-w-shadow-192x134

AARP Membership — $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal

Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP the Magazine.