I have a Dell XPS 13 9370 (I think that's the code) and while the scaling has always been a little funky, the latest update to 18.04 really did a number on it. Here's a (hopefully clear) pic of what's going on. Also, it's not just Chrome/PHPStorm, those are just the two best examples, the system Settings window follows Chrome's lead, the Activities and launcher bars are similarly (un)readable to PHPStorm.


With the UI scaling set to 100% (per the settings menu) the UI on Chrome looks good, and the size of the settings menu is fine, but the activities bar is absolutely unreadable it's so small. PHPStorm launches and the text is maybe 1/16th of an inch tall.

So I bump up the scaling to 200%, now the activities bar and launcher look good, PHPStorm looks great, but Chrome and the settings applications are massive! My mouse cursor on some applications is the size of a pin-head and on others it looks correct.

Is there any way I can actually standardize the scaling? To the best of my knowledge none of these apps have any specific settings regarding scaling, so it's not like those are conflicting, and they adjust proportionately to the system scaling setting changing.


Run this command:

sudo nautilus

Now go to /usr/share/applications directory.

There you will find all the .desktop files of applications.

Now suppose you want to scale google-chrome only, click on the google chrome icon, right click on it and click on "open with other application". The select "Text Editor".

enter image description here

Now find the line "Exec= ". In case of google chrome you will see,

Exec=/usr/bin/google-chrome-stable %U

enter image description here

Now add this option "--force-device-scale-factor=1.2". You can put 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 whatever is suitable to you (you have to try it yourself). Example, like in this case edit that line with this

/usr/bin/google-chrome-stable --force-device-scale-factor=1.2 %U

and save the file.

enter image description here

Now, it should only increase scale factor for google chrome.

In this way you can increase or decrease scale factor only of those applications that you choose and even how much amount you want.

I know this is not a perfect solution, but this is better to have no solution at all ...

Hope this will help you.

  • Thanks for the advice Ryko, that did help fix the scaling issues on Chrome, however a number of other applications are still out of whack, I'll just have to keep trying to find manual scaling commands or roll back to 17.10. Thank you! – jccolorado May 7 '18 at 13:35

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