I installed Oneiric on a clean system, and found that the font tab is gone from the Appearance settings. This is a problem, because by default the text in Ubuntu is too large.

I changed the text from normal to small in the Universal Access settings, but then it was way too small.

I also tried it this way, but it doesn't appear to have any effect.

How can I get back the fine control and change my DPI from 96 to 90?

  • You might be able to start the settings program "by hand". Sep 3, 2011 at 13:09
  • see also: askubuntu.com/q/45572
    – Takkat
    Sep 3, 2011 at 13:42
  • Since Ubuntu 14.04 there is a setting for the Screen DPI Scaling: askubuntu.com/a/462023/294881
    – user294881
    Jun 19, 2014 at 8:07
  • @BartVanHeukelom: Please explain, why do you want to change the FONT DPI and not the whole SCREEN DPI? as @user294881 said, this is possible now in System Settings->"Displays"->"Scale for menu and title bars" Screenshot
    – rubo77
    Jun 19, 2014 at 18:42

6 Answers 6


Gnome Tweak Tool

This is a common issue on the forums - the move to gnome3 has dumped many of the customisation features that were available in gnome2.

One GUI tool that exists in Software Center is gnome-tweak-tool - its a partial solution to allow you to customise some aspects of fonts.

The "Text scaling factor" is the option you are interested in - its unfortunate that it is a sliding bar so you will not be able to enter the actual DPI value. Click on the sliding bar and use the left/right arrow keys to decrease/increase the font size. enter image description here


Using dconf-editor which is available in the dconf-tools package allows you to set the "Text Scaling Factor" numerically i.e. changing the default value by fractions of numbers (1.2, 0.9 etc) changes the overall screen font size:

enter image description here

Universal Access

If you just want to adjust the text size universally without need detail you can do this from the universal access tool:

enter image description here

  • This doesn't change the DPI, does it? It looks like it just adjusts font sizes to compensate.
    – ændrük
    Feb 10, 2012 at 14:35
  • Its the closest that I found - I haven't found anything closer to the old gnome-2 functionality.... unless you know of something? - doesnt appear to be anything in precise either :(
    – fossfreedom
    Feb 10, 2012 at 14:55
  • Appendix: Nowadays one can use Ubuntu Tweak. Jul 4, 2012 at 15:01
  • Where in Ubuntu Tweak is that setting?
    – Olathe
    Jun 12, 2013 at 2:12
  • 1
    But what for should you change the FONT DPI? this only causes a lot of problems, see: Why are all HTML form elements huge with a system-wide font-scale factor 2.0? - so I guess, 99,9% of all users want to change the SCREEN DPI
    – rubo77
    Jun 19, 2014 at 9:33

If the key text-scaling-factor is missing from gconf-editor, check alternatively:

 gsettings list-schemas | grep org.gnome.desktop.interface
 gsettings list-keys org.gnome.desktop.interface
 gsettings get org.gnome.desktop.interface text-scaling-factor
 gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface text-scaling-factor 0.9

(replace 0.9 with the desired value).

  • 3
    Too bad it's changing only scale factor. Not dpi Oct 27, 2011 at 17:41
  • 1
    Why downvote? the first answer also doing the same thing
    – Anwar
    Jun 11, 2012 at 6:03
  • According to wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/HiDPI#GNOME , “scaling-factor only allows whole numbers to be set. 1 = 100%, 2 = 200%, etc...” Jan 31, 2016 at 10:26

Just open gconf-editor Install gconf-editor, navigate to the key /desktop/gnome/font_rendering/dpi and adjust to values you need.

enter image description here

  • 2
    gconf-editor is applicable to gnome shell only. If you want to change DPI for unity shell, use dconf-editor . (It comes with dconf-tools) The procedure is same as detailed above.
    – AIB
    Oct 14, 2011 at 13:35

Did you try setting DisplaySize in xorg.conf?

I added to /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d a file with the size in mm, let's see how it works:

Section "Monitor"
  Identifier "myMonitor"
  DisplaySize 223 125

There is a new option Scale for menu and title bars in System Settings > Displays in Ubuntu 14.04 as described in this Ask Ubuntu answer, to set system-wide scaling factor.


On Pop!_ OS (which also uses GNOME shell) I had to set scale to 200% for HiDPI to work. This may be equivalent on other systems. I've got a 24 inch monitor set to 3840x2160 and it system wide font-rendering was blurry (not HiDPI or Retina like) unless scale was 200%.


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