How to Access “Advanced Appearance Settings” Option and Change Font Size, Color in Windows 8 and Later?

UPDATE: This tutorial will also work in Windows 8.1 and later.

After receiving so many emails from lots of AskVG readers regarding same problem, today I decided to post this article. Many people who are using Microsoft's latest OS Windows 8, are wondering where is the "Advanced Appearance Settings" option?

Actually in previous Windows versions such as Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7, users could customize the text size and color using "Advanced appearance settings" option present in Desktop Properties (Personalization) window.

But unfortunately Microsoft has removed this feature from Windows 8. But there is a similar option available in Windows 8 to change screen text size.

So if you are also using Windows 8 and want to access "Advanced appearance settings" option in Windows 8, this tutorial will help you.

In this tutorial, we are going to tell you how to change text size of title bars, menus, message boxes, palette titles, icons and tooltips in Windows 8.

We have divided this tutorial in 2 parts:

  • METHOD 1: Using Desktop Personalization
  • METHOD 2: Using Registry Editor

So without wasting time lets start the tutorial:

METHOD 1: Using Desktop Personalization

1. Right-click on Desktop and select "Screen resolution" option.


2. It'll open "Screen Resolution" window which allows you to change screen resolution and orientation. Click on the link "Make text and other items larger or smaller" as shown in following screenshot:


3. It'll open "Display" settings window. Alternatively, you can open "Display" window by selecting "Personalize" option from Desktop context menu and then click on "Display" link given at the bottom of left-sidebar.

Or you can direct open Display settings using following command in RUN dialog box:

explorer.exe shell:::{C555438B-3C23-4769-A71F-B6D3D9B6053A}



Now you can change the text size of various items such as icons, title bars, etc by selecting the item from drop-down list and then selecting the desired size for it from the 2nd drop-down box.


4. Once you set the desired text size, click on "Apply" button.

METHOD 2: Using Registry Editor

If you want to change other advanced appearance settings which are not available in the above mentioned location of Windows 8 such as background color, border padding, caption buttons size, icon size, icon spacing, scrollbar size, etc, you can change or customize them using Windows Registry.

1. Press "WIN+R" key combination to launch RUN dialog box then type regedit and press Enter. It'll open Registry Editor. Now go to following keys one by one:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Colors
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\Colors
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics

Above mentioned Registry keys store all the advanced appearance settings information, so you can customize the advanced appearance settings in Windows 8 by changing the values of various DWORD and strings given in the right-side pane.


TIP: These Registry keys are same for Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8. So to make the task easier, you can boot into Windows 7 and customize the advanced appearance settings using Desktop Personalization window. Then open Registry Editor and take a backup of the above mentioned Registry keys by right-click on them and select Export option. It'll create .REG files. Copy those REG files to Windows 8 computer and run them. The Registry scripts will add those customized settings to Windows 8. Restart Windows 8 computer and you'll see the new settings.

That's it. This is how you can access "Advanced Appearance Settings" option in Windows 8.

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Posted in: Troubleshooting, Windows 8 / 8.1

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  • Thanks VG .

  • Thanks for the find. Is there a way though, to change the size of onsreen elements such as the size of scrollbars, the window border, max/min/close buttons? All these elements could be resized from the Advanced Appearance Settings option in Win7 currently. I usually resize them to look better on my screen. I couldn't find such an option in Win8.

  • VG

    ^^ You can change the color, font, size of other elements by editing following keys in Registry:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Colors
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\Colors
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics

  • Thank you! That isn't an elegant solution. Wonder why Microsoft removed such a basic customization option that has been part of Windows since Win95.

  • VG

    ^^ I think it was removed because Microsoft removed classic theme from Windows 8. Advanced Appearance Settings was developed to customize Classic theme parts although it also affects Aero and Basic themes.

  • Is this possible in Win 7

  • VG

    ^^ Its already present in Windows 7 and previous Windows versions. Can you please provide more details what do you want to ask actually?

  • oh i thought this was about windows 8 RTM pro damit

  • VG

    ^^ What do you mean? It'll work in all Windows 8 editions.

  • This is silly... we use this settings option to make the background in excel gray - since we use excel all day long and white is just too bright on the eyes. Hope its brought back as well.

  • When I restart my PC every settings still the same not working : ( I cant change any of these options

  • I just bought a laptop with windows 8 but the screen color came way bright, which affects how I view pictures and whatnot, terrible quality. Is there any way to fix this since they removed the desktop color settings?

  • Have a new laptop that came with 8. on Win7 I could change the background color of Excel and Word or Outlook to light Grey from White. I need that color as sometimes I type text in white and it helps working with Excel or Word as it doesn't print the white text. Need to do the same in Win8. is there any way to do it? or should I just drop win 8 and go back to 7?

  • found the answer to my earlier question. lots of people will find it useful. came from a publication called "Wall Street Training", which is kind of where they teach you to use grey background in excel so that you can write down notes to yourself that will not show up on the printed document:

    When building financial models, analyses and spreadsheets, it is common to hide cells in white so that they do not appear on a print- out. Likewise, sometimes, a cell needs to be shaded so as to distinguish it from other cells, but again without the shading printed out – simply shade the cell with white fill. However, in order to see the white cells and white shaded cells, it is necessary to change the background of Excel and your computer to a color other than white.

    Windows 8
    * From the Metro UI (or press the WINDOWS key on your keyboard), search for regedit (be sure to type the entire word!)
    * Press CTRL + SHIFT + ENTER to run this program with administrator privileges, or right-click the regedit application that appears as a search result on the left and select "Run as administrator" on the bottom panel
    * Using the navigation panel on the left, click into HKEY_CURRENT_USER -> Control Panel -> Colors
    * Scroll down on the right panel to the "Window" entry and double-click on it
    * Change the "Value data" to the RGB values for a gray color, such as 192 192 192 or you can go higher all the way to 216 216 216 which will give you a lighter shade of grey (you may adjust to your preference)
    * Save all your work and restart your computer

  • So, how to change COLOR of the text on the screen?
    You named your page "How to Access “Advanced Appearance Settings” Option and Change Font Size, Color in Windows 8?"
    So, how to change COLOR of the text on the screen (not font size and not background color)?

  • I experimented with your suggestion
    To be cautious I started with one element of a windows component
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\Colors
    Name:= ActiveBorder
    Type:= REG_SZ
    Value:= was 212 208 200
    - I assume this is RGB
    - I trialed 250 0 0 (RED)
    made no difference to WinExp nor Control panel windows
    - my custom values remained but made no effect

    What am I doing wrong ?
    Thanks for all your articles.

  • VG

    ^^ ActiveBorder will not work as Windows Explorer windows use pre-defined image resources stored in msstyles file to create borders. This key was used to effect classic theme only.

  • What is the registry value for the white text in win8 active/inactive title bars???

  • I still cannot figure it what do I put for the FONT SIZE to be 14pt everywhere? Is it GRZDKLM? Is it 20125 32518? What's the damned Microsoft code / cipher / press-mark or whatever it is for the FONT SIZE in registry?

  • Help, Help, Help! I have read every trick to get my icons in Windows 8 back from gigantic to the right size. The problem is that the text in Control Panel is also so large now that the resolution is off and I cannot access the 100% button. At some point I guess I accidentally made the text and icons at 500% and now everything is too large to see and fix. The settings says I have made the text too large for the resolution on my computer. I KNOW that but I cannot find a way to change this back. I cannot even find a way to go back to the Default settings that came with the computer. Thanks.

  • Does not work for me. Under XP when you changed Window background it affected everything - including the background colour in file Explorer. With this method, the Explorer background still comes up as a glaring (and tiring) white...

  • "Personalization"
    "High Contrast" Theme
    "Color custom"
    there you have the ability to change windows background color and more

    daft that MS does not point this out on the personalization page - big money and spybusiness took away deference to mature non-genius customers' comfort

  • My problem is the exact same as Amy Clark's. I set size of all items to 500% through the custom sizing screen and now everything is so big that many options aren't even displayed anymore. I can see the screen to set the size back to 100% or 125% or 150% and I can click the button to do that BUT the "ok" (save?) and "apply" buttons are not on the screen so I can't fix it. The regedit method is too scary because I can only see about 2 words per screenfull and I am afraid I'll cause major damage/changes to my computer that way. Is there some CTRL-? method of shriking things? I tried Ctrl +/- and Ctrl mouse wheel to no avail. Thanks for any help!!!

  • Why do you make everything so complicated. Did you not hear of the phrase "simplify, simply" All I want to do is make the font smaller in one easy step. Not such a difficult request.

  • Thank you for the great information! I'm on Windows 8.1 and all I'm trying to do is change the Window Title Bar from Black text to White text... Which registry key would I change to do this? Thanks again for all your help and good work!

  • VG

    ^^ Thats possible only by modifying theme.

  • Why all the problems and not any answers?

  • Thats OK if you are confident in knowing what you are doing but to us amateur users it creates another hurdle . Wouldn't it be easier if Microsoft did an update to Windows 8 to install the advanced appearance settings. Why would they omit that option when you consider the fact that every persons eyes are different. To me our eyesight should be one of the fundamental issues to be considered when developing a new computer system. My eyes can not handle the white background and i want to change it to a web safe colour.
    Thanks anyway for your article and i will have a try at it.
    If it fails i can do a system restore.

  • Try Linux (Mint, openSUSE, and Ubuntu are the easiest to start with. Distrowatch is a good place to start).

  • On my students computers I would like to limit the size of their video displays to less then full screen. (Full screen interferes my monitoring of the open web sites they have when using a program called Interclass) Can I limit the size they can open a video up to?

  • In answer to the two people who were unable to restore a lower screen DPI setting due to the Apply button being off the bottom of the screen: After selecting the desired DPI setting, simply press the [Apply] button's keyboard shortcut, which is [Alt]+[A].

  • I would like to change the font face (instead of having the Segoe UI font I would like another one)

  • How can I change my icon font to Times of New Roman Italic???????

  • For the people who have the gigantic icons, Just hold CTRL and use the scroll wheel on your desktop, that will make them either larger or smaller
    As for my problem, Im wanting to change the font colors for the title box's, I want to run "black" as my folder box's and all over theme color, but the stupid font is in black too.... So needing to change it to a brighter color. Its looking like this isn't a option in windows 8, (I wish i never installed the damn OS) but that's what came with this laptop.. To whom wrote Microsoft should put out a add on for these preferences i agree

  • This is a dealbreaker for me. I've been working hard to learn to live with this dammed W8 but I see as they get more and more narcissistic and control freaky, the more they take away what I rely on.

    If I MUST have something different forced down my throat, I'll go to a Mac.

    MS stupidity has caused me to go 100% to Firefox (IE is intolerable) and now will push me to Apple. But first, I will downgrade to W7.

  • Groupthink.

  • This falls into the "OMFG are you effing KIDDING ME?" category.
    Seriously, you're joking right? You can't change the font? I want a monospaced serif font. Maybe tomorrow I'll want a monospaced terminal font. Maybe I want Times Roman. I do this all the time in Windows 7. Are you seriously telling me the only font choice is the default? This is a prank right? Because you can't be serious.

  • That good contribution, but enter the address of the Windows Registry 8.1, seeking to modify the fonts and did not know how. Can you help ?. download the fonts that I want to default, but not how to apply for registration.

  • Thanks VG. I Have a question I would like the title font instead of Segoe UI would be Calibri for example, which value do I should change?

  • Please help. I am dyslexic and have changed my back ground colour in 'windows appearance and colour' box in personalise setting since using Windows 95. I have tried to understand and customise the new way of trying to do this through the 'high contrast' options in personalization in Windows 8, but it changes the whole of the look of office applications. I just want the back ground page in word, excel, access to be the lilac colour las I can set in Windows 7 and earlier. I can no longer do this without the whole look of office changing. Also the 3 options of white, light gray and Dark gray in the office tool bars are not dark enough or the contrast is still to similar to the white page. It appears too 'flat' and is very hard on the eyes. As a person who relied very much on being able to change the background colour of the page I am typing on, I feel discriminated against with windows 8 and office 2013. I have emailed Microsoft for support and to complain, but have had no response. Thankfully it is only my work computer that has windows 8. I still have windows 7 at home.

  • VG

    ^^ Try following:

    Open Registry Editor as mentioned in the above tutorial and go to following keys one by one:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Colors
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\Colors

    In right-side pane, change value of Window to 200 162 200

    Restart your system.

  • I have Windows 8.1 and this doesn't work to change title bar color.

  • Why the heck would you want to remove that nice clear white UI?! Oh I get it, it's the geeks hidden in their moms basement that require dark grey interfaces, the darker the better, just as their souls... What a bunch of whiny dorks.

  • As a programmer, you have to remember that some programs use default settings, but many programs control their own colors. For example many web pages have an HTML setting for the background color. Good programs will use the GetSysColor operating system call to determine the user's choices and then pick their own colors in concert - if possible. However most programs don't do this.

    These registry settings and GetSysColor have worked on all versions of Windows NT from at least NT3.5, to Windows 2000, to current Windows 8.1. It's just how the Windows front end chooses to expose it to you.

    The proper way to change a system color is with the SetSysColors op system call. This changes the registry and notifies all other running programs to examine color settings and change. When you manually change the registry, this notification is not done.

    And Rebecca K - I like to change the white backgroud from "255 255 255" to "248 248 248" to reduce glare.

  • Rebecca K - some people (including some with dyslexia) have problems reading black text on a white background, especially on a computer screen. I have this problem and even wear tinted lenses much of the time because the administrator blocks on my work computer won't allow me to make the changes I want to make the screen easier to read.
    Please keep your prejudice assumptions and rude comments to yourself. And for the record I colour my background blue, a nice postal light blue.

  • Thank you, this help me a lot,
    The only question is why M$ removed this feature?

  • Haha thanks! Some people keep changing it on the school computers :|

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