Windows 7: How to change the taskbar font size

  • Noah

    Windows 7 (Aero) does not offer an option to easily change the taskbar font size.

    I was using the Medium Text size of 125%.
    (Set via Control Panel\Appearance and Personalization\Display)

    The problem I found was that many programs, sad to say, Microsoft's included, don't scale or position properly at other than 100%. I've reset the DPI to 100%, and have been able to customize most of my windows settings for easy reading, except the task bar font size

    In Summary:

    • There are many ways to change the taskbar font color.
    • I'm looking to increase the actual font size.
  • Answers
  • Robert

    You can not change the appearance of the taskbar in that way, The only alternative I see is not using the default Explorer shell (taskbar & desktop). Windows has the ability to use alternative shells:

  • harrymc

    The taskbar font size can be changed by changing the font size of the Active Title Bar setting in the Windows Color and Appearance window.

    That window is reachable via Control Panel -> Appearance and Personalization -> Personalization -> Window color -> Advanced appearance settings.

    But there is a gotcha : it works in the Classic theme, but not in Aero.

    Otherwise, I can see no solution for Aero, except by replacing the taskbar. See :

    Best Free Program Launcher (including comments)
    The Best Application Launchers and Docks for Organizing Your Desktop

    As you say that the taskbar font is not the only problem left unsolved, I don't think that a complete solution is possible under Aero in Windows 7. You might consider seeing whether Windows 8, and especially Windows 8.1 (named Blue), can do better with its new algorithms for seamless DPI scaling.

    Here are some links about Windows 8 and 8.1 :

    Building Windows 8 : Scaling to different screens
    In Blue: Automatic Desktop Display Scaling

  • Fopedush

    I don't have a concrete answer for you, but I can tell you where I would start. I warn you that this line of inquiry is not for the faint of heart.

    The style information for the aero theme under Windows 7 is located in a resource-laden DLL called shellstyle.dll, in C:\Windows\Resources\Themes\Aero\Shell\NormalColor. The file's resources can be viewed with a tool called Resource Hacker, available here. Upon opening the file, you should browse to /UIFILE/1/1033 - and you'll find the XML definitions of the styles used by Aero, as shown below. This should include most of the fonts, sizes, and icons used throughout explorer. CSS Definitions are in /23/CPWEBVM.CSS.

    Resource Hacker MSSTYLES

    I've successfully edited this resource before to remove a number of UI elements I didn't like in explorer, such as the Command Bar. If the font for taskbar entries is defined anywhere at all, it will be in this file. It's also possible that this font inherits from some global value and can be overridden in this file - there's actually a good deal of flexibility, but you need to know what you're doing.

    If you want to make changes, back up the original file, take ownership, and replace it. Then you'll need to manually restart explorer.exe to see the effects. If you have any doubts whatsoever about editing this file, I would leave it well alone and learn to live with the existing fonts in the taskbar buttons.

  • mic84

    Not an great selection,but may be better
    Start Menu>right click on >properties>Taskbar tab>Taskbar appearance>use small icons

  • SgtOJ

    You could change the DPI. It's not the same thing as the changing resolution. Which will also change the size.

    How to Change DPI - Windows 7

    • Right Click Desktop
    • Select Personalize
    • Select Display from left side bar at the bottom
    • Select new size higher than the current setting
    • Click Apply
    • Logout then back in
  • Vishnu Prasad Kallummel

    Check if you can configure the right option by editing the registry.


    Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics, here you will find various values that you can set.

    It is explained with screenshots here:

    Check the Registry section.

  • Related Question

    Changing the size of the Windows 7 taskbar
  • dertoni

    Is there a way to change the size of the Windows 7 Taskbar? Internal or with the help of outside programs, both welcome. Something like the MacOS X Doc Zooming effect would be OK/nice, too.

    Edit: I'm essentially looking for a way to shrink it, because my laptop does not have a big screen so every pixel is valueable.

  • Related Answers
  • Snark

    Right-click on the Taskbar, uncheck Lock the taskbar. You can increase its height by grabbing its side and dragging it up.

    For the zooming effect, not possible by default, unless you replace the taskbar with an alternative dock. There are some suggestions here. LifeHacker has also a list of application docks.

  • dertoni

    OK, I did some digging...

    • In the suggested question by Snark, there was a mention of Object Dock, which seems like a cool MacOS X Dock replacement for Windows. Officially it does not seem to support Windows 7, yet... But in the forums there are mentions of getting it to work.
    • Then you can obviously increase the size as suggested by Snark. But I was looking for a way to shrink it. I didn't quite make that clear in my question, sorry for that.
    • There is one way to shrink it a little, as it turns out: Choose small icon size.
    • Another good way to get back screen real estate is to turn on Autohide. I guess that's what I will use.
    • I just found another way... which might be a little extrem: Totally eliminate the taskbar.
  • Joel in Gö

    Don't know whether this is relevant for you, but I could not shrink the width as narrow as I wanted until I removed some 3rd party tools from the taskbar (Thinkpad stuff: AccessConnections etc). Once I had removed them, I could drag the edge much thinner.

  • bobbaluba

    Shark's solution kind of worked for me, but make sure you also use small icons for your taskbar.

    1. Right click start
    2. Click properties
    3. Click the taskbar tab
    4. Check use small icons
    5. Right click the taskbar, and make sure "lock the taskbar is off"
    6. Drag the taskbar down to your preferred size.