I am a person with a visual impairment. Pre-Unity versions of Ubuntu allowed you to change all font sizes. Now the Universal Access feature is pretty much useless, as increasing font size to "Large" increases everything but the Application list in the Unity Dash, which is fixed at a size I cannot see. Thus, I see only icons and blurry small text, and there's no way to know what apps I have.

Obviously, this is a major usability regression, and I believe something that should have been accounted for in the fundamental design of Unity. If the Dash font is hard-coded and will always be unalterable, I will have to use another DE/UI, like Kubuntu or something. Furthermore, I can't believe this question hasn't been asked before. It's strange to include Universal Access with an OS, but not be serious about its functionality.

Is there anything I can do to change the font size in Dash? I suppose that will require reorganizing the way the icons are displayed, showing less on each line, etc. I don't know how to do this.

Or are there any plans to include a working Universal Access system in future versions of Ubuntu? Or should I move on and look for a different distro? Any advice is welcome. Thanks in advance!

The font size for the general interface (windows, apps, etc.) changes, but not the font size of the overlay UI in Gnome-Shell (App labels under Applications, etc.), nor in Unity, where the Dash UI App list font is fixed at a small size.

  • Thing is, the Universal Access options are for GNOME 3 stuff, as you have noticed it affects everything but Unity, Unity is a Compiz plug in and what you describe is a Bug, bugs are to be reported at Launchpad, indeed it's a regression. Jan 22, 2012 at 5:00
  • Well, I was hoping for a temporary solution, a way to manually increase the font size in Dash and rearrange the icons to fit the larger font size. As it is not a broken aspect of Unity, but rather a feature that has not been implemented at all, I was afraid that Launchpad would tell me to come here. There is already a Launchpad bug for Dash font size, but it's not for Accessibility, and it is marked Unassigned and of Low importance. Hopefully that will change before 12.04 LTS, or someone will find a temporary solution for 11.10. Jan 22, 2012 at 7:01
  • One last thing.... Larger font is absolutely necessary for some people. The horrible thing is, even though this is a Unity issue, even Gnome-Shell seems to have been designed without Accessibility in mind, for although Gnome 3 includes a Universal Access feature, it has no effect on the Gnome-Shell UI font size either. So what's the point of it? It's unbelievable to me that none of the new shells have any accessibility options. Jan 22, 2012 at 7:06
  • @ShaunaWhite Are you sure? Going to Universal Access > Seeing, and changing 'Text Size' changes the font size here...
    – Jjed
    Jan 22, 2012 at 9:45

2 Answers 2


If you're not comfortable with the command line, the font can be accessed by installing Ubuntu Tweak or GNOME Tweak Tool

sudo apt-get install gnome-tweak-tool

and going to the fonts tab (Tweaks > Font for Ubuntu Tweak) and changing the default font size (Ubuntu, 11) by clicking the 11. When you increase this the font in your dash should increase with it.

  • This works great. The text is still cut off, and it doesn't change the font size on the apps, files and music lenses, but those are known bugs. Jan 28, 2012 at 22:17
  • Note you can also just search for Advanced Settings in the Software Centre. Jan 28, 2012 at 22:32

A partial solution:

System Settings > Universal Access > Large Text

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (UNITY)

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