Adjusting your text size

This website, like all well-designed sites, uses the text size defined in your browser. This means you can set it to whatever size is most convenient for you. This is very easy in almost all browsers.

In case you do not know how to change the font size in your browser, this page gives assistance.

If you come across a site which ignores your browser settings, and as a result is awkward for you to read, I strongly recommend you complain to the owner/webmaster of the site. He or she ought to know better.

Major browsers:

Older and less-known browsers:

If you are using another browser and do not know how to adjust your text size, please contact me. I will find out how to do it (unless the browser is very obscure) and add it to this list.

Changing text size in Internet Explorer

IE 7 / 8

IE 7 was the first version of Internet Explorer to have a size-change facility permanently on view: the button in the bottom-right corner. This can be used to zoom the whole page (text and images).

Alternatively :

  1. Select menu item View / Zoom;
  2. Click on the desired size.

You can also adjust the zoom quickly by holding the Ctrl key down and moving the mouse wheel.

To adjust the font:

  1. Select menu item Tools / Internet Options;
  2. Select the “General” tab;
  3. Press the “Fonts” button;
  4. Select the required font;
  5. Press the “OK” button;
  6. Press the “OK” button.

There is also an option to ignore the font sizes specified by the page author. Often this will make pages more readable, but not always. You can find it as follows:

  1. Select menu item Tools / Internet Options;
  2. Select the “General” tab;
  3. Press the “Accessibility” button;
  4. Tick the option “ignore font sizes specified on webpages”
  5. Press the “OK” button;
  6. Press the “OK” button.

IE 9

Internet Explorer 9 is similar to 7/8, but has taken two steps backwards. Firstly the always-visible control has been removed. Secondly the menus are hidden behind the symbol in the top-right corner, whatever it is supposed to be – a ship's steering wheel? a cogwheel? Anyway it's a typical example of choosing superficial “design” in preference to actual usability. On the other hand you can now use Ctrl & '+' and Ctrl & '-' in the same way as Firefox.

IE 6

To adjust the text size (in IE 6 this however only works on some sites):

  1. Select menu item View / Text Size
  2. Click on the desired size. (The dot indicates the one currently selected.)

You can also adjust the text size quickly by holding the Ctrl key down and moving the mouse wheel. This works in the opposite direction to IE 7!

To adjust the font:

  1. Select menu item Tools / Internet Options;
  2. Select the “General” tab;
  3. Press the “Fonts” button;
  4. Select the required font;
  5. Press the “OK” button;
  6. Press the “OK” button.


In Opera 8 / 9 / 10:

  1. Select menu item Tools / Preferences (or press Alt-P);
  2. Select tab “Web pages”;
  3. Click the button next to “Normal font”;
  4. Select the font and size you like;

You can control fonts in more detail on the ‘Advanced’ tab.

Opera was the first browser in which one could rapidly zoom in and out on a page with the mouse-wheel: hold the Ctrl key depressed, and move the mouse wheel up or down. Or use the ‘+’ and ‘-’ keys on the numeric keypad, and ‘6’ to return to 100%. In Opera 10, the ‘6’ no longer works; one has to use Ctrl & ‘0’.

In Opera you can also set a minimum text size, so if a site uses some reasonable-sized text and some tiny text, you can force the tiny text to be readable. This is set in the ‘Advanced’ panel, as above.


Firefox offers various ways of setting text size:

This is essentially the same in all versions up until now (version 3.6 at the time of writing). However where earlier versions only adjusted the text size, Firefox now zooms the whole page, in the manner pioneered by Opera.


In Safari one can zoom the text size in and out with Command + and Command -
The Command key on a Macintosh is indicated by an Apple or cloverleaf symbol. Or you can use menu View / Make Text Bigger.


Google Chrome has a zoom option: click on the spanner button to the right of the address bar, and this opens a menu which includes a zoom option (which is rather crude, with large steps). One can also zoom with Ctrl & mouse-wheel.

The option to change the default text size is hard to find:

Frankly one would have expected better from an organisation like Google.

Netscape 6/7

  1. Select menu item Edit / Preferences;
  2. Select item Appearance / Fonts;
  3. Select the fonts and size required (the one marked ‘variable width’ or ‘proportional’ is the most important one);
  4. Press the “OK” button.


There are two ways of adjusting the size, both in the View menu.

View / Text Size allows you to select from five different text sizes. This doesn't work with some (poorly designed) sites.

View / Zoom offers the ability to zoom in and out. You can also use keyboard shortcuts: Ctrl + and Ctrl - (There is also a default zoom setting, which I expected would remember the setting when you next start the browser up, but that doesn't seem to work.)

AOL Browser

The AOL Browser has a chequered history. Not being an AOL member I don't have access to it, and other web-sites have somewhat contradictory information. However the situation appears to be as follows.

Until about 2005 the AOL Browser was based on Netscape, but instead of an Edit / Preferences menu option it had My AOL / Preferences.

More recent versions are based on Internet Explorer. Apparently in version 8 one can not directly adjust the text size in the AOL Browser. One has to start up Internet Explorer itself, adjust the text size there, and then switch back to the AOL Browser. (If you think this is pretty strange, I can only agree with you. Strongly.)

In version 9 things have got a bit more normal, though the text-size adjustment is still rather hidden:

  1. click the My AOL toolbar button;
  2. select Preferences;
  3. select WWW;
  4. click the View menu and select Text Size;
  5. select the desired size from the list.