set] MATH DEPT Computer News, Volume 17

How to improve visibility of fonts on older, smaller monitors

from the pen of Brad Lucier, Computer Committee Chair

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I would like to suggest the following changes that you can make to your account to make life easier using a 17" monitor with Sun computers. Basically, they get around the fact that letters will be small with a small monitor. In the following "click" means "left click".

  1. I suggest you make the fonts bigger in Netscape. In Netscape, under the "Edit" menu at the top, open Preferences (the last item). Click on the triangle next to Appearance in the left menu so it is pointing down, and click on Fonts.

    On the right of the line "Variable Width Font" set the Size default to 18.0 (I'm presuming the font is still set to "Times (Adobe)".)

    On the right of the line "Fixed Width Font", set the size to 14.0. (I'm assuming the font is set to "Courier (Adobe)".)

    I also suggest you change the default background color from grey to white.

    To do this, with the Preferences window open, click on "Colors" on the left menu. Click on the colored square next to the word "Background" You will get a rectangular array of colors. Click on the white color and click "OK".

    Then click "OK" on the Netscape preferences window.

  2. I suggest you change the color of the Xterm windows to have black letters on a white background. To do this, edit the file .Xdefaults in your home directory. (E.g., say "vi .Xdefaults".) You may have lines like

    XTerm*foreground:      bisque
    XTerm*background:      dodgerblue4

    Put an exclamation point at the start of each line to comment them out, so it looks like

    !XTerm*foreground:      bisque
    !XTerm*background:      dodgerblue4

    and add the lines

    XTerm*foreground:      black
    XTerm*background:      white

    I also suggest you change the default font in xterms to be bigger. If you have a line

    XTerm*VT100*font: lucidasanstypewriter-bold-14

    I suggest you change it to

    XTerm*VT100*font: lucidasanstypewriter-bold-16

Note: You can always make the font in an individual xterm larger or smaller by moving the mouse pointer into the window, holding down the CONTROL key, and then holding down the right mouse button. Slide the mouse pointer down to your font size choice and let go when you get there. The choices are


Thanks to Meike Niederhausen for helping me with a survey of the departmental computer labs and trying several things on her account.

Brad Lucier

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