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Q: Yesterday when I came back from lunch, my emails were super tiny. Everything else was the same, but the text is so small I can barely read it. I tried to find a menu or button, but I couldn't find anything. I'm using Outlook 2003 on Windows XP. Help!

A: Most likely you accidently reduced the zoom level. On many programs in Windows, including Outlook, you can adjust the zoom level by holding down the Ctrl button on your keyboard while you scroll the mouse wheel button up or down. Scrolling up increases the size of the text; scrolling down decreases it. You can also try holding down Ctrl and pressing the "-" and "+" buttons. That will most likely solve the problem. However, if that doesn't work, try changing the screen resolution.

Have you ever noticed things are bigger or smaller on other people’s computer screens even though they have the same size monitor you do? Your monitor’s screen resolution settings determines how large text and images appear on screen. Screen resolutions are measured in pixels, literally the dots that form to make letters and graphics on your screen. The more dots you have in the picture, the better the picture looks. The native resolution is the highest resolution your monitor can support. So, if your monitor supports up to 1920 by 1200, that is its native resolution. The native resolution is the setting that your computer is going to look the best at because it is showing the image exactly the way it was made, pixel for pixel. When you set the resolution to a lower setting, the computer has to do some complicated math to make it look like it is supposed to. Based on the setting you choose, it may have to make 2 pixels for each real pixel, 3 pixels, 4 pixels etc. When your video card has to calculate fractions of pixels to make the resolution work, the image gets blurry and uncomfortable to use.

If the text and graphics on your screen is too small or too large to view comfortably or appears stretched or blurry, you can change the resolution by following these instructions for Windows XP.

  1. Right click on an empty area of your desktop and select Properties in the context menu.
  2. The Display Properties window will open. Click on the Settings tab.
  3. Move the Screen resolution slider to change the resolution of your monitor.
  4. To test a setting, Click the Apply button. The screen will go blank for a moment and a message will appear asking if you want to keep the setting.
  5. Click the OK button to close the window and apply the setting.

Moving it towards Less increases the size of text and images on the display but you will see less information on screen. Moving it towards More will allow you to view more information on screen but text and images will appear smaller. Some resolutions may appear to be stretched out or blurry so you may want to try a few out. You can always go back and change it again. The display will produce an optimal image when the slider is all the way over to the More side. This is the “native resolution” of the monitor.

Here are links with the instructions on how to change your screen resolution in Windows VistaWindows 7Windows 8, and Mac OS X 10.4 through Mountain Lion.

If neither of those work, have you been to the optometrist lately?


Ray Hollister co-hosts the call-in help show Deemable Tech. Each week, he and his co-host, Tom Braun, answer questions submitted by users and provide helpful tips about computers, tablets, mobile phone, the Internet and technology in general. Need tech help? Call 1-888-972-9868 or send them an email at [email protected] Subscribe to Deemable Tech's podcast by clicking here, searching for "Deemable Tech" in iTunes, or by entering the RSS feed,, in your favorite podcast app.