My screen resolution is 2560x1440 and I am using fractional scaling at 125%.

Steam fonts are unreadable (see the screenshot and compare with the size of the Chrome icon).

enter image description here

  • 1
    Mine is 5120x1440 with the same issue, and the answers here helped.
    – Marius
    Oct 17, 2021 at 15:14
  • This is clearly a bug. The text is unreadible even if one puts one face against the screen. Feb 27, 2022 at 18:42
  • Or if all else fails, you could run steam on bottles and change the scaling through it May 8, 2022 at 10:19

6 Answers 6


If you want to start steam with scaled UI from launchpad, you can set GDK_SCALE=2 (as mentioned in the accepted solution) in steam.desktop file (in my case it is located in /usr/share/applications).

First, open the file in your favourite text editor (e.g. gedit). You might need superuser privileges:

gedit /usr/share/applications/steam.desktop

Then change the Exec entry value to:

Exec=sh -c 'GDK_SCALE=2 /usr/games/steam %U'

Note: your steam path can be different to mine (/usr/games/steam). Just use the path from your Exec entry.

  • 5
    You could go Exec=env GDK_SCALE=2 /usr/games/steam U%. No need for nesting in a shell then.
    – topr
    Jan 25, 2022 at 21:14

Find the bin_steam.sh:

$ which steam
// >> /usr/bin/steam
$ ls -la /usr/bin/steam
// >> lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 25 Jul 29  2020 /usr/bin/steam -> ../lib/steam/bin_steam.sh
$ ls -la /usr/lib/steam/bin_steam.sh
// >> -rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 5946 Jun 21 14:26 /usr/lib/steam/bin_steam.sh

Edit bin_steam.sh:

$ sudo gedit /usr/lib/steam/bin_steam.sh

Add at the beginning export GDK_SCALE=2:

File changes

Run Steam as usual and see the changes ;)

  • It's not a good idea to edit system or package files. Changes will gone when the package is upgraded. In this case, it's better to add that code in ~/.bashrc for example.
    – Dan
    Jun 21, 2021 at 19:47
  • Even the comments above suggest to edit the file /usr/share/applications/steam.desktop that is, at least in my case, a symbol link to /usr/lib/steam/steam.desktop that technically leads to changes of the same system or package files. Jun 22, 2021 at 20:56

If you start Steam from a terminal with the command GDK_SCALE=2 steam it seems to work.

I found the answer on a Manjaro help page.

  • 2
    it's too big now :)
    – daGo
    May 1, 2021 at 12:02
  • I tried both 'usr/share/applications/steam.desktop and 'usr/lib/steam/bin_steam.sh' files, but none of them worked, the only one that worked for me is run 'GDK_SCALE=2 steam' in the terminal. But it's a bit annoying that every time I launch steam, I have to do it manually. I appreciate it if you have any other solutions for this issue. I am using ubuntu 22.04, and my resolution is 2880 x 1800.
    – Sherwin
    Dec 2, 2022 at 4:01

For anyone stumbling into this in the future.
If you find the default UI too small and GDK_SCALE=2 too big, you can apply a zoom to the steam UI instead for 150%, 125% etc. Here's how for Ubuntu based distros for example:
(make sure your directories are the same)

mkdir -p ~/.steam/steam/skins/steamzoom/resource/styles
cp ~/.steam/steam/resource/styles/steam.styles ~/.steam/steam/skins/steamzoom/resource/styles/steam.styles
echo ":root { zoom: 1.5; }" > ~/.steam/steam/skins/steamzoom/resource/webkit.css

You can later apply the last command again to change the zoom size to your preference.
I personally use 1.25 (125%).
Afterwards go to your Steam Settings -> Interface -> select the new "steamzoom" skin you just created and apply it.

This can also be applied to existing steam skins, for example Adwaita skin you'd only need to

echo ":root { zoom: 1.25; }" > ~/.steam/steam/skins/Adwaita/resource/webkit.css

I had the same issue with Steam and Spotify. Changed the fractional scaling back to 100% from 125% and the fonts went back to being readable.

  • Thanks for the tip, but then I would lose a lot of screen estate :) Apr 25, 2020 at 10:06

Start steam client adding parameters -w 1368 -h 768 or whatever size you want, always smaller than your monitor resolution. The smaller value, the bigger overall size of steam client, including fonts.

You may add parameters to your Windows shortcut, it works in Linux shortcuts too.

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