Previous 1 2 Next 17 Replies Latest reply: Sep 3, 2012 1:01 PM by a brody
lenms Level 1 (0 points)

As many of you know, Apple's MAC OS X User Interface utilizes small fonts.  For example, look at the top-most bar of your screen--the menu bar.  Even the Apple icon is tiny.  Next is the Bookmark toolbar.

Its fonts are almost indistinguishable to those of us who are sight-impaired.


A poster with the username i joel posted back in 2007 peading with Apple on behalf of sight- and movement-impaired patients/clients to just make the Finder bar larger and increase the font size so that his people could see the screen content better.


Apple had a golden opportunity then to address this issue and champion the needs of  disabled users worldwide.  Leadership was within Apple's grasp.


Sadly, I found i joel's post in this 'support' community--archived (kicked to the curb, sent to the dust heap).  As far as I can tell, sitting here 5 years later, squinting to try to read my 2012 Mac OS X (Lion) menu bar, Apple has failed to address i joel and I'm sure many others straining with this same issue.


5 years! 


The last post in response to i joel's 2007 thread was, "get Bootcamp and run Windows on your Mac."


Then the thread fell silent, and  I stumbled over it in the archives in 2012.


Not exactly a ringing endorsement of Apple's product nor of their interest in helping their customers!


But wait!  Could I be mistaken?  Could someone enlighten me as to any effort that Apple has made over the last 5 years to make their product more accessible to disabled persons (sight-impaired, movement-impaired)?

Mac mini, Mac OS X (10.7.3), 500Gb HDD, 4 Gb RAM, Super Drive
  • b j t Level 4 (3,670 points)

    Type "Universal Access" into search field in Support, you will find a large number off items come up.

    In System Prefrences going to Universal Access brings up this window with options for seeing, hearing, keyboard and mouse.

    Screen Shot 2012-03-25 at 6.47.46 AM.png

  • a brody Level 9 (65,390 points)

    By the way, if you could please post the link to Joel's thread, we can ask the moderators to edit it so it points here.   Mac OS X has always had Universal Access options for screen magnification, black on white, and contrast as well voiceover, and assistive devices.  Also Apple menu -> System Preferences -> General can help by changing the minimum size of the fonts for font smoothing.  The problem with Joel's thread probably was that he was pleading Apple in a  user to user forum, and no one saw his thread, thinking it another rant. is where you can plead Apple to help with things.  

  • lenms Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for your reply, a brody.   I'm sorry, but I cannot re-find the referenced post by "i joel."  I'm certain it was on's support, though, because that's the only place I've been.  I will search the archives of 2007 again tonight in another attempt to provide a link to his thread. 

    Firefox Screenshot3:26:2012.jpg

    If you will note from my screenie, the Mac user interface fonts are very small (thus my whining),

    while the Firefox browser fonts vary from a degree or two larger, particularly in the address bar of the browser.  This is because I have installed a Firefox Add-on called, simply, "Make address bar fonts larger."

    I wish the Mac interface problem were as easy to solve!  

    P.S.  Sorry, I thought the image would enlarge when you clicked it.

  • lenms Level 1 (0 points)

    a brody~ I see where I must have outsmarted myself and bookmarked the archived post by i joel back in 2006.


    Here is the link you requested.

  • a brody Level 9 (65,390 points)

    It is easy to solve. USE UNIVERSAL ACCESS.  Sorry for shouting, but it seems you totally ignored my advice above, and just found the link.  Your menubar can be 600 point type if you like.  You can use assisted devices. And your latest imag didn't load.  I will refer the moderators to your thread.

  • a brody Level 9 (65,390 points)

    I might add with Lion you get a zoom in window checkbox in Universal Access, which avoids having to magnify the whole screen at once.

  • lenms Level 1 (0 points)

    Thank you again for sticking with me on this.  If I may say, perhaps the wording of my original question had a pejorative tone, and if any reader were to take offense, I certainly apologize and meant only to ask an honest question (albeit one asked out of ignorance of the product viv-a-vis Universal Access). 


    a brody, I certainly did not mean to seem as if I ignored your advice.  I appreciate your kindness and direction.


    While I now see where the Universal Access Zoom (and Lion Zoom Window) features have their positive applications, I'm inclined to agree with another ancient (2006)poster, who basically stated that "activating the Zoom option of Universal Access makes only a portion of the screen visible, which means a lot more driving around to accomplish the same tasks" at this location:, the sixth para.,first post on that page.


    I'm sorry that my image did not load.  I followed the instructions to the best of my knowledge.  The image just shows a browser page open within MAC OS X, to illustrate the small font size along the Apple menu bar at the top of the screen.


    I've seen references to third-party programs such as SILK and TinkerTool that may have the ability to enlarge the hardwired sytem fonts in MAC OS X.  I'll have to examine these further.


    In the meantime, I'm going to drop out of this thread with my thanks for the responses I've received.

  • bethfromal Level 1 (0 points)

    I looked at Universal Access (trying to increase the font size in the [top] menu bar.) You say that the font size can be quite large. I'm sorry, but I don't see anything about font sizes in the Universal Access settings (in System settings);  I see Zoom, Dispaly (contrast in particular) -- but where would you find the font size?


    Lion (10.7.4)

  • mooblie Level 4 (1,935 points)

    Can I make a suggestion I used successfully with my mother-in-law, who has macular degeneration?:


    Get a monitor with native resolution of say 1600x1200 pixels, and set your Mac to resolution exactly HALF that: 800x600.  Voila! Everything comes out larger, including fixed graphics, text-as-images, photos, menu bars, icons, etc., etc,.; all reasonably sharp and without any distortion, too.


    The important thing is to keep the aspect ratios of:

    (a) the native screen resolution in pixels


    (b) the display resolution put out by the Mac

    ...the same. (4:3 in this case).

  • ontravel Level 1 (10 points)

    I'm now using the latest (but NOT greatest) 15" MacBook Pro with HiRes non-gloss screen


    4 days to migrate, buy updates, set up Internet, security, test everything. Then I decided to tackle the small font problem, guessing that this would be a simple button that I had missed.


    Apple, what has happened? I'm thinking of handing you back your computer!


    mmoblie's suggestion above might work for some, but I found the resulting font rather fuzzy. Also I want to be able to sort and edit my photos and that is a no go. The font in iPhoto is equally small. I could buy another editing application, whch I had planned, but would that solve the problem? I doubt it.


    Does anybody know if Leopard was afflicted with this fault? If not, maybe I will just upgrade my old MacBook Pro to Leopard.



  • a brody Level 9 (65,390 points)

    Apple menu -> System Preferences -> Universal Access gives you a variety of ways of increasing the whole screen view to a larger size without having to change the resolution, not to mention speak the text that is under the cursor.  In Lion we finally have a stationary zoom option built-in.  Previous Mac OS X versions had a program called Mighty Mouse, not to be confused with the mouse released by Apple, that allowed a stationary zoom window to be available.  Old ResExcellence themes that increased the font size haven't been supported in a long time.  Tinkertool has offered offered some font size options, but not to all Mac OS X versions.  You might want to look into 's GraphicConverter, and see if they offer font increasing size for the browsing of the images.  I haven't checked that out yet.

  • ontravel Level 1 (10 points)

    Thanks, but all of those bad workarounds for a problem which only started by spending $3.000 !

  • a brody Level 9 (65,390 points)

    When you spend money, don't you research your options before spending that kind of money?  You could always buy a used or refurbished Mac for less, and use the money you save towards software you need.  By the way the period is not used to separate thousands in English.  It is the comma that is used.    So it looks like you are complaining about $3.  Buying new isn't always the best bet especially if you have special needs.

  • ontravel Level 1 (10 points)

    Don't take it personally.


    This is a feature which I have come to expect from Apple.


    I don't use spelling correction and I write in 4 languages which use different punctuation before the comma. Mac's cost more that $3 though.


    I consider my needs are quite normal and I forecast great profits by investing in optical companies, standing to gain tremendously from those currently willing to risk their eyesight just for something which looks good.

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