Why Is Everything TOO BIG To Fit On My Screen?



Every now and then, things can happen that cause the images and text on your screen to become so big they don’t fit on your screen anymore. In some cases this is done purposely, but more often than not, it’s done accidentally and can really make it difficult to navigate as you find yourself having to scroll all over the place to find what you’re looking for- never mind finding out how to return your screen to normal!

This article addresses some of the common causes for this problem and how to get things back to normal size.

There are several ways you may experience the problem and they’re not always the same. For example, in some cases the problem exists for everything on your screen where even your desktop icons have become gigantic.  In other cases, only the stuff inside a particular window or application has become too large to fit inside the window.  Common problems here include Internet web pages being too big, or documents such as Microsoft Word or Excel being too big to fit.  Here are a few scenarios…

Everything on the screen is too big, icons, text, everything. Even the desktop is too big

What it is:  This usually happens when your screen resolution is set too low. This also rarely happens by accident and may indicate a bigger problem like corrupted video drivers. 

What to do:  Click Start and go to Control Panel. In Control Panel open Display. In the Display Properties window choose the Settings tab. Look for a slider labeled ‘screen resolution’ that slides from ‘less’ on the left to ‘more’ on the right. Slide it towards ‘more’ and you should see the numbers below the slider change. This is your screen resolution and higher numbers means everything on screen will appear smaller while lower numbers will make everything appear larger. After changing resolution, click the apply button to test the new settings.  Don’t worry if it blanks your screen, it will reset itself in 15 seconds if you can’t see it. If you can’t move the slider or the slider is ‘grayed-out’, you may have a more serious issue that is beyond the scope of this article, and may want to consider professional help.

Everything else on my screen is normal-sized, but web pages appear too large inside Internet Explorer

What it is:  There are several possible sources. One possibility is that the text display size is set to larger than normal. Another possibility (Internet Explorer 7 & 8 only) is that your screen view is ‘zoomed’ in. The latter problem is common because it’s easy to zoom by mistake

What to do: Look to the lower right-hand corner of your Internet Explorer screen for a magnifying glass icon followed by a numeric percentage (with Explorer maximized, it’s just above your system clock). If you don’t see the magnifying glass icon, you’re probably using an older version of Internet Explorer that doesn’t support zooming and should go on to the instructions for adjusting text size. If you do see the magnifying glass, look at the number next to it.  Anything over 100% means you’re zoomed in.  To change zoom level, click the magnifying glass and it will cycle through a variety of zoom settings then roll back around to 100%.  Adjusting text size in Internet Explorer: Pull down the View menu and hover your mouse pointer over Text Size which will open a submenu. The “normal” size is ‘Medium’.

My Microsoft Word or Excel files are too big and won’t fit inside the application window

What it is:  Word and Excel both support page resizing or zooming to allow you to view more or less detail.

What to do: Look through your toolbars/icons at the top of the page for a number followed by a percent sign (location varies depending on what version of Word or Excel you’re running). Clicking on the downward-pointing arrowhead to the right of that number will display a number of zoom levels including options like “page width”. Experimenting with different zoom levels is the best way to find what suits your own needs.

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ghc-logo-341w-x-482hThis article was written by Andy Trask, Head Geek at Geek Housecalls, the New England area’s original traveling computer geeks, on the web at www.geekhousecalls.com. Geek Housecalls specializes in “anything computer” and, since 2001, has become the trusted in-home computer and technology support provider for over 15,000 families and small business computer users in eastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and southern New Hampshire. For help with your computers, gadgets, or network at home or at the office, click here to contact Geek Housecalls via the web, or call toll free:

1-877-4PC-GEEK             (1-877-472-4335)

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31 Responses to “Why Is Everything TOO BIG To Fit On My Screen?”

  1. Anna says:

    My “over-sized” screen is similar, yet different. MOST of the sites I go to are perfectly “normal”. I was on a friend’s site the other day, typing in comments, when suddenly the whole page went HUGE! Now, every time I am on that site, it is HUGE, but just that site. Then today, I was working on my site when suddenly it went HUGE. It doesn’t do that when I just pull up the site, but it does that now every time I log into the editor for my site. HELP! Please! It hurts my eyes so badly I can’t work on it like that. THANKS a BUNCH!! (The resolution in my control panel is all the way up)

  2. Anna says:

    Okay, since my last comment I found the solution, yea!! If you hold down the “ctrl” key while scrolling up and down, it adjusts the page size. (must be on the page/site that is the problem.

  3. Ivan says:

    This helped a lot .. thx

  4. Khono says:

    Unfortunately this page didn’t solve my problem. My resolution is normal (max for this widescreen monitor 1920×1080) but the browser looks much larger, my desktop icons are much farther apart, and other things look distorted as well. I was trying to hit the brightness button on my monitor in the dark and kept hitting something else which is probably what triggered this strange issue. I’ve tried messing with font size, windows theme, CTRL+mousewheel… Really annoying problem :(

  5. Gerry says:

    Thank you so very much……..it worked !

  6. atrask says:

    Khono -

    Based on your post, if you think the screen settings got messed up by pushing buttons on the monitor, rather than fiddling with your windows settings, I would focus on trying to undo what you may have done in the monitor settings. Most monitors have some kind of “reset” feature that restores factory settings. I would try that first. If it’s not obvious how to do that and you don’t have the user manual handy, post the monitor make and model here and I may be able to get you instructions.


  7. I_Love_You_Man! says:

    My web pages got big inside Explorer 8. I’ve been trying for 2 days to get them back to normal. Frustration like you wouldn’t believe. I just found your site and read about the zoom level. I don’t have a magnifying glass on my screen, but if I go to View, there is a menu selection called Zoom, and it was set to 150%. I shrunk it to 100% and IT WORKED!!!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!

  8. this problem with my screensize has been doing my head in for weeeks now and im so so happy to have it resolved. thanks very much

  9. I never noticed the magnifying glass in the lower right corner. This article saved me from major wasted time and from thowing a huge hissy fit. Thank you!

  10. malroh2 says:

    Thank you Anna. My problem was, web page either too big or too small for the screen. Usual solution of changing zoom levels did not work to satisfaction.
    Your solution of scrolling while holding control key, fitted the page to my screen. I then changed the script size to larger from medium and it worked.
    Thank you geekablog too. malroh2

  11. Janette says:

    Thanks so much, all my pages in IE were huge and I couldn’t figure it out! What a simple fix, but I wouldn’t have found it if it weren’t for this article. Thanks again!

  12. qwester says:

    excellent explanation. Very very helpful.

  13. Tracy says:

    Thank you soooooooooo much never knew about the magnifying glass…so happy to have found your article! Your awesome! :)

  14. Robert says:

    Thanks you, all my pages in IE suddenly became large and I couldn’t figure out why! I never would have thought to look at the zoom

  15. george says:

    my internet explorer 7 has not maintained its original text — size– since changing back to external monitor. the internet explorer windows is too big no matter what i do. page text is set to smallest, dpi is set to 96% and if i zoom below 100% pages will not consistley read right. been using the same external monitor for years and never had this problem. strange. never heard this before. what a pain in the a55. all other windows are ok. any ideas would be appreciated pctech2112 at yahoo dot com.

  16. Beth says:

    The internet pages were too big for my monitor and I googled to see how to fix it. This is the only site I found that could fix my problem. I never realized the zoom function on the bottom right hand corner of the page.
    Thank you Geekblog.

  17. Dum Syl says:

    Thanks. This has been giving worries all day. I did your setting with internet magnified pages and it worked like sheer magic.

    I’m grateful.

  18. SuzyQ says:

    Thank you, I could not figure out why my webpages were so huge and everything I had tried had not worked. It was the little zoom function that I didn’t know existed. I have spent hours trying to get my screen back and you told me about this little zoom function that I wish had never existed in the first place.

    Thank you!

  19. Bridget says:

    Thanks, that was so much easier than I was making it. All fixed!

  20. You are amazing. My 2 year old pressed a bunch of buttons, but I, “the mommy” was able to fix it with YOUR help. Thanks!

  21. Jenny A says:

    thanks a bunch.
    I have a question if everything on one of my othe rlabtops works fine but then the screen went blank what could that be? When I shut it down and turned back on it the light was super duper dim and I could bearly see but I was able to see enough to log back onto my settings and then it went blank again so I couldnt see what I was doing so I just shut it down.

  22. Kim says:

    This was very helpful!! I am putting you on my favorites! Thanks so much.

  23. Kaila says:

    My friend’s power to her house kept going out and coming back on about 10 times over 15 mins. Now her screen is all messed up. She tried the resolution and the zoom feature for your desktop but those were fine. What else can be done to solve her problem? On her desktop, you have to scroll up and down, left and right, to see everything. From what I saw, her desktop icons are normal size and the font size is normal as well. HELP!

  24. Vivian says:

    Thanks so much! I now know how to “zoom and unzooom”, thanks to you!

  25. Dayna Aegler says:

    Thanks, my screen was huge and I hated using the computer. I went to the control panel and fixed it as you suggested. Many thanks!

  26. M Cowan says:

    Thank you…this was exactly the information I needed and your response was very clear.

  27. Michelle says:

    Thank you so much! It is fixed, and now I know how to fix it myself for next time.

  28. Tony Collins says:

    Hey thanks a lot, the problem was the zoom at the bottom on the right. I looked everywhere and not there.
    Thanks for your help!

  29. Tami says:

    Thank you so much! I never noticed the magnifying glass at the bottom of Internet explorer…which was set at 200%

  30. Tracy says:

    Thank you! My cat walked on the keyboard. The magnifier was set at 207%!

  31. Tammy says:

    Thank you! My 11 year old daughter messed it up. You helped immensely. :)

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