FAQ: Windows Scaling Problems (text or controls not properly sized)

Unknown Member
edited October 2018 in FAQ'S (Windows)
In general people would like the ability to change fonts wherever they see them, this is not possible, and there are many interactions between settings in Quicken and in their operating system that can cause users problems and not allow them to achieve the desired results.

I will try first put in some history, and then try to address some common problems.

Windows DPI setting:  Dots Per Inch (a dot is also referred to as a pixel).
Depending on the size and resolution of a screen every screen has a DPI.
DPI = (width resolution) / (width of screen in inches)

Every object put on a screen was originally drawn using a given amount of pixels.  If, on a given screen, that object is now too small you might "scale" it up, which is to say for every 1 pixel in the object use say 1.25, or 2 or some other number of pixels.

Note I have put this information up on my website too, because I'm not sure I will be able to add new information here.

  • Quicken Windows discussion, For Quicken Essentials for Mac, Quicken Mac 2015-2017 you only can change size of fonts by changing the screen resolution.
  • If you are using Quicken Windows with a retina screen in Parallels or any other Virtual Machine see the "Mac" answer below for a possible solution for you.
  • Major update!
    Quicken 2017 R3 has a lot of fixes for these problems.  For instance the problems with tiny icons and the too small columns in the annual budget view have been fixed.  It has also been reported that it is much faster for people that were having performance problems that seem to be caused by running on a high DPI screen.

    Be sure to reverse any workarounds you may have put in place for this problem so they don't conflict with the R3 fixes.
Quicken has gone through many different GUI styles and many versions of operating systems.  When a new operating system or style of GUI is created all of Quicken is not rewritten to make Quicken consistent with it (that is just not possible given the cost and time not to mention bugs it would take).

The result is for better or worse Quicken is a patch work of these things and as such some things that seem easy to the customer, like having control over all the fonts in the program and having them consistent is actually very difficult.  A special case should also be pointed out and that is the regular register and what Quicken calls the Investment transaction list (investment register).  These two have had a long history of being developed pretty much as separate things.  They may look similar, but at the core they are very different as can be seen in the way you can (or can’t) change fonts and columns and such.  You can control the fonts in the regular registers in the preferences, but not in the investment registers.

People using the Windows DPI scaling to make everything larger tend to say something to the effect that why does such a simple thing like making everything larger mess up things in Quicken.  The truth is that over the different versions of Windows Microsoft has actually done different things for this, and they have never in the core provided the programmer a simple solution.  There is a lot of work to make this look right, and when you add in the fact that Quicken is a mix of GUI styles it has been next to impossible for Intuit make this work/look right in Quicken.

There have been several attempts that never made it out of Beta to get Quicken to work right with a DPI scaling of something other than 100%/smaller/normal (different operating systems have different names for this).

See this link for information about this problem, and see that Quicken is not the only program that this has been a problem for:

One attempt by Intuit to fix this problem came out in Quicken 2012, and it is called “Use Large Fonts”.  The idea here is for Quicken to do the scaling, as in make everything 125% larger.  It was done this way for two reasons.  The problems described above, and for the complaint “All my other applications are fine, but the print on Quicken is too small”.  So by definition for the last complaint they wanted Quicken to do the 125% scaling even when other programs weren’t.  Well it turns out that this “internal” scaling had even greater effects on how bad the Windows DPI scaling would “disturb” Quicken’s “look”.  This especially showed up when they switched from .Net 2.0 to .Net 4.X in Quicken 2014.

Also it should be noted that there is a secondary problem of people wanting more and more on their screens and having higher resolution screens to support it, and then the people for one reason or another others want to run at a lower resolution, and how does the GUI designer construct the GUI in a way that it works for these different groups.  No solution is going to be perfect for 100% of the setups out there.

Starting Quicken 2015 they fixed most of the problems that were in the regular account registers.
But unfortunately they have done little since to improve on the problems that remain.

For instance there is no change so far in the annual budget columns being sized wrong, or the tiny icons on a high DPI screen/settings.
Other problem areas are "embedded web pages" like the X-Ray portfolio and the Tax Planner.

Note if you are using Quicken 2014 and have the problem where the font in the regular register is really big, try changing the font and size in the register.  And also note that different fonts are different size wise even if using the same point size, so go through all the fonts available to see if one will work for you.
Edit -> Preferences -> Register -> Fonts...


  • Unknown
    Unknown Member
    edited October 2018
    One of the simplest workarounds is to tell Windows not to use Windows scaling with Quicken.
    click on the Quicken Desktop icon and select Properties ->
    Compatibility -> Disable display scaling on high DPI settings
    will look "right" at this point since it isn't be scaled but depending
    on the DPI of your display everything might be tiny.
    If all you need Quicken to be about 25% larger, then you can select this option in Quicken:
    View -> Use Large Fonts...  (It says fonts, but what it does is scale everything up 125%)
  • Unknown
    Unknown Member
    edited October 2018
    The next workaround is probably the most
    effective, but the hardest to setup.  It tells Windows that Quicken
    isn't "high DPI aware"
    .  And as such Windows does the scaling
    instead.  The drawback with this approach is that certain things might
    get "fuzzy", because if you say take an icon (which is a small picture)
    and try to scale it up that is the result.  But at least everything
    should be properly sized.

    The first step is to edit the Windows register (regedit) to add the following setting, and set it to 1:
    If PreferExternalManifest doesn't already exist go to the SideBySide and in the right hand side right click and New.
    Add a DWORD and change its name to PreferExternalManifest.  Double click on PreferExternalManifest, to change the value to 1.
    tells Windows to use and external manifest file if it exists.  Note
    this applies to all applications.  Normally other applications will not
    have an external manifest file, so it won't affect them unless you
    create one for them.

    The external manifest file for Quicken is just a text file with the proper name: qw.exe.manifest
    And this is what should be put in that text file (be sure to use a text editor like NotePad, not a word processor like MS Word).
    Note I highlighted the setting and its value just so it makes sense what this is actually doing.
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="yes"?>

    <assembly xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:asm.v1" manifestVersion="1.0" xmlns:asmv3="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:asm.v3">

    <trustInfo xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:asm.v3">

      <asmv3:windowsSettings xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/SMI/2005/WindowsSettings">
        <ms_windowsSettings:dpiAware xmlns:ms_windowsSettings="http://schemas.microsoft.com/SMI/2005/WindowsSettings">false</ms_windowsSettings:dpiAware>

    Once you have the following in the qw.exe.manifest file, you just need to copy it to the right spot and restart Quicken.
    Use File Explorer to copy qw.exe.manifest to this folder: C:\Program Files (x86)\Quicken
    Note if you are on a 32-bit version of Windows it is: C:\Program Files\Quicken
  • Unknown
    Unknown Member
    edited October 2018
    If you using Quicken Windows on a Mac, with a
    retina screen, in Parallels or some other Virtual Machine and having the
    same kind of problems, and the above workarounds don't work you can
    also try using the scaling built into the Virtual Machine.

    Here are the instructions reported to work for Parallels:
    down the Parallels, and change its configuration (hardware, video) to
    "scaled" rather than "best for retina". Obviously, this applies only to
    Retina computers.

    If you are using some other virtual machine
    other than Parallels, look for a similar setting to have the virtual
    machine scale your virtual machine desktop window.
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