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Currently everything on my laptop takes up too much screen real estate. I can make the launcher icons smaller, the font smaller, I can use ctl-(minus) to make the contents of my browser smaller, but I was wondering if there was a way to do this all at once. Some way to just tell X to multiply the number of pixels anything should take by .75.

If this is not possible, the main other thing I want to make smaller and have not been able to, is the top bar of any windows, the one with close/minimize/maximize buttons.

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3 Answers

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You cannot set a general scaling factor. You can however, make the font smaller for window titles, and it should make the title bar smaller. You can also make or use a different window manager theme with smaller or no title bars.

To change the font of the title bars, you can do this, in a terminal:

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.wm.preferences titlebar-font "Font Name 10"

Just replace the "Font Name 10" with the font name and size you wish to use. To keep the Ubuntu font and make it smaller, you might want to try "Ubuntu 8" for example. Also, it's generally a good idea to step font sizes in multiples of 2 (6, 8, 10, 12), as they scale more evenly.

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How about making text in other applications smaller? The skype app for example hogs way too much screen space. –  Snitse Jun 17 '12 at 1:13
    
Skype should be using the same font as the rest of your applications. You can make the font smaller by changing the font-name key in the org.gnome.desktop.interface schema. However, I think Skype has a minimum size based on other aspects of its UI. It does also have a tray icon that should appear in the indicators area if you have sni-qt installed. You can use it to hide/show the window only when you really need it. –  dobey Jun 17 '12 at 17:22
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Go to terminal and type dconf-editor. A pop up will come and from the options. Go to the following path:

org.gnome.desktop.wm.preferences

Then customize as per your requirement.

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You could also set you launcher to auto-hide i did this for my netbook and it made a world of difference. "system settings" > "appearance" > then click on the behavior tab.... make your changes from there.

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