I have a Dell XPS 13. I got it with windows 8 and it adapts the fonts and icons to the 3200x1800 screen resolution. Then I start my virtual Ubuntu Studio 14.04 machine and they look really small. How does Ubuntu Studio handle that? Is there a way I can set it to do the same windows does (i.e. make them extra big so I can read them in menus and titles)?

I'm using Ubuntu Studio 14.04, with XFCE, so this answer won't work because the options are different than those for Unity.

I have adapted font sizes and icons using different configuration options, and most apps seem to work, as well as Desktop.

But some applications, like Blender, won't change. Is there like a general way to tell Ubuntu-Studio "I'm using a High DPI screen, please adapt"?


1 Answer 1


There is no global setting like the zoom scale factor in Unity, but you can follow these steps to achieve most of it:

1. Set a Custom DPI setting

Open a terminal with CTRL+ALT+t and enter

    LANG=c xfce4-settings-manager

In "Appearence"->Fonts-> "Custom DPI Setting:" set this to 192 (instead of the default 96).

Log off and on again to accept the new settings in all windows.

2. Adapt Theme and settings

  • Set your panel size to a height of 48

  • In xfce4-settings-manager->"Settings Editor" (xfce4-settings-editor)

    • in section xfce4-desktop (create an entry if it doesn't exist)
      desktop-icons/icon-size Type Integer and set it to 128
    • in section xsettings set CursorThemeSize to 48
    • in section xsettings set Gtk/IconSizes to


      Or use the commandline:

      xfconf-query -c xsettings -p /Gtk/IconSizes -s "gtk-large-toolbar=32,32:gtk-small-toolbar=24,24:gtk-menu=32,32:gtk-dialog=88,88:gtk-button=32,32:gtk-dnd=32,32"
      • gtk-large-toolbar are main toolbars
      • gtk-small-toolbar are secondary toolbars
      • gtk-menu are menus
      • gtk-dialog are dialog icons
      • gtk-button are buttons (eg the xfce panel uses buttons)
      • gtk-dnd are the icons displayed if you drag and drop a file or a folder

        you can change them to any size as long your icon theme supports it

  • In xfce4-settings-manager->"Window Manager"

  • Download the Widepanel Appearance ** in xfce4-settings-manager->"Appearance" select Widepanel
  • In the File Manager thunar adapt the preferences:
    • Set Iconsize in the sidepanel to "small" or "normal"

3. Adapt Firefox

see: Adjust Firefox and Thunderbird to a High DPI touchscreen display (retina)

(or use Chrome, which works fine since Version 41.0.2272.76 Ubuntu 14.10)

4. Increase font in Pidgin

There is a plugin you can install

sudo apt-get install pidgin-extprefs

Then you can increase the font in Plugins->Extended Prefs

5. Create starter for applications that still don't scale

Some applications still don't obey the global scaling (mainly java) for those few applications you can create a starter to only Fix scaling of java-based applications for a high DPI screen

source: https://askubuntu.com/a/472266/34298

  • What is the File Manager thunar? Ah, nevermind. It's the name of an XFCE file manager. Not too familiar with XFCE myself. Thanks for the tips!
    – Ayelis
    Nov 14, 2016 at 18:30

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