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Relief for Tired QuickBooks Eyes

| September 18, 2008 | 83 Comments

As I get older I find that my eyesight, which didn’t start off all that great, is declining. Larger monitors help, but they tend to crowd in more information rather than make the text larger. I prefer to set larger font sizes in the programs I use. Today I’ll give you a tip on how to make some adjustments in QuickBooks.

Please note that this isn’t a perfect solution, and that you should use caution when making these changes. I’m using the 2008 release for this, and there could be variations in other years of product.

This article was updated on 9/20/2012

What we are going to do is to edit a configuration file named “QBW.INI”. This contains a number of settings, and you should be careful to only change those that you are absolutely sure about. BE CAREFUL!

Finding and Editing QBW.INI

There are several ways of doing this, I’ll use the simplest. Run QuickBooks and open a company file. Press the F2 key, and you will see a window similar to the following:

Lots of interesting information here (particularly the list information box on the right), but that’s a discussion for another day.

When this window is open, press the F3 key, and you will see the following:

Select the Open File tab, scroll down the file list and click on QBW.INI, and click the Open File button.

This should open the file with Windows Notepad, as it is a simple text file. Your file will probably vary from what I’m showing here, but it will be close.

DO NOT change anything that you aren’t sure about!

You should see a line that says “[Fonts]“, near the top. If you do not, you can add it in the location we show here. In the “Fonts” section, before the next line that starts with a square bracket, add two lines exactly as follows:

FontName=Arial
FontSize=12

Select File and then Exit and tell the program to save the file.

Exit QuickBooks, then restart it. Many but not All fonts will be changed. If you don’t like the results you can follow the same procedure and just delete the lines we added.

Changed Appearance

Here are some “before” and “after” screen shots.

As you can see, some of the fonts have changed, others have not. In some cases you may find that a window becomes hard to work when the fonts are larger.

It isn’t a perfect solution (we often seem to be saying that with QuickBooks), but for some people it can help.

Update for QuickBooks 2013

QuickBooks 2013 has been announced (see my article on this in QuickBooks and Beyond) and there is some good news, and bad news, as far as the subject of THIS article.

Good news: The QuickBooks User Interface is changing and they are focusing on improving the user experience. This includes, in some cases, increasing the font sizes that they use.

Bad news: People who have trouble with their vision, like me, will find some of the changes hard to get used to, particularly the use of soft gray fonts and icons.

Good news: The user interface is more consistent than before, so we don’t have so many different visual styles.

Bad news: The font trick that this article talks about doesn’t work as well, it has less impact than before (although it might make SOME difference for you).

Category: General Tips

About the Author (Author Profile)

Charlie Russell is the founder of CCRSoftware. He’s been involved with the small business software industry since the mid 70′s, focusing on inventory and accounting software for small businesses. Charlie is a Certified Advanced QuickBooks ProAdvisor. Look for Charlie’s articles in the QuickBooks and Beyond blog, as well as his California Wildflower Hikes blog.

Connect with Charlie at Google

Comments (83)

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  1. Donna Rodriguez says:

    Thanks for this tip! I’ve been looking for something like this for a while. I had to adjust and rearrange the windows on my Home Page a little, but it works GREAT – my old tired eyes thank you!

  2. Tammy says:

    THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! I’ve been looking for this for four years. I’ve had eye surgery and a lot of eye problems and struggled with working with Quickbooks item list. I really appreciate you sharing your knowledge!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Sonya says:

    What is the line to make the text bold?
    Thanks!

    • Charlie says:

      Sonya, I don’t believe that you can set the attributes like that (although I could be mistaken). You could play with using a bolder font if you have one installed in your computer, like Arial Bold or Arial Black. I’ve not tried that specifically.

  4. Angee says:

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  5. Cindhi says:

    That SO worked. Thank you.

  6. belinda says:

    Hello,

    This is exactly what I am after, the only problem is that I am running QuickBooks on Parallel on a Mac!!
    When I pressed on F2 nothing happened!!

    Can you help me with this as the text is soooo small I can hardly see it!!

    Any help would be greatly appreciated, you have no idea!

    Thanks,

    Belinda

  7. Charlie says:

    Search for the INI file, you should be able to find it. It is just a file in the appropriate folder…

  8. Mattie says:

    My tired eyes are so happy; THANK YOU!!

  9. Mona Bauer says:

    Thank you it worked perfectly!

  10. Heather says:

    Charlie,

    Let me know when you’re in town. I’ll buy you a beer. Really, this has helped me so much.

    Shame on QuickBooks for not taking Accessibility into mind with their program. There should just be a button you click to enlarge the font, or a thing in the preferences.

    Again, Thanks.

  11. Kate Timko says:

    Charlie,

    You are the very BEST….it worked like a charm.

    Kate

  12. jacquie says:

    HERE IS A DILEMMA. I’M USING QUICKBOOKS ON MY MAC THRU PARALLELS…SO THE F2 KEY DOESN’T WORK..HOW DO I GET TO THE INI FILE THRU PARALLELS? I TRIED ONE WAY THAT I READ ABOUT BUT IT ONLY BROUGHT UP CODE, NOTHING THAT I COULD CHANGE..IF YOU HAVE ANY IDEA, PLEASE HELP. THANKS!

  13. Charlie says:

    Jacquie, an alternate key (in Windows, can’t say in your environment) is to try ctrl-1 to open the info window, then ctrl-2 to open the support window.

    In any case, qbw.ini is just a file in a folder – you can find it and edit it with Notepad. I don’t know what version of Windows you are emulating, so the location may vary, but it could be someplace like C:\Users\All Users\Intuit\QuickBooks xxxx, where the “xxxx” is the year of QuickBooks you are using.

  14. Patti says:

    I simply can’t thank you enough for this fabulous tip! I was so unhappy with QB especially after getting Window 7. I was driving myself crazy trying to get a screen resolution to suit me. This has been the perfect solution.
    Thank you!

  15. Jim says:

    Sir, you are a genius! I have been using Quickbooks for almost 12 years. My eyesight used to be darn near perfect, but over the years of staring at QB tiny fonts (that I could NEVER figure out how to change) my sight has rapidly declined. I experience eye pain and bad headaches EVERY DAY now. I stumbled across your blog here (googled “quickbooks eye pain”), and at first I was skeptical – afraid maybe I shouldn’t be messing with it something I wasn’t sure about. But I decided to take a leap of faith and try it, an VOILA, it worked!! I hope this change helps ease my tired eyes. Thanks a bunch for your tips on this!!

    Jim

  16. Charlie says:

    Jim, thank you – I can’t take full credit for this one, it is very likely that I was told about this by someone else. I don’t recall who – I gather up little things from many places. Glad it worked for you!

  17. Youli James says:

    This was great. I used FontSize=16 and the the fonts were nice and bold. I have very bad vision and this was very very helpful. Now if I could change the fonts of the names under the icons on the top bars that would be great.
    Thanks so much,
    Youli

  18. Sydney says:

    YES! Thank you SO much! I’ve been looking for something like this for quite some time now and I have been so frustrated until now. Thanks again, this is great!

  19. Sam says:

    Just FYI – The font Name does not need to be changed. You can just change the size only (in the tip above, two lines are added, so you can ignore the first one and just change size.

    Default size appears to be 10, I just added FontSize=11, and wow. Brilliant!

    Thanks!

  20. Tad says:

    Just wanted to say thank you as well….I really appreciate you sharing this information!

  21. Sonya Finkey says:

    Hi all,

    There’s a way to “bold” ALL Quickbooks text for easy viewing in Windows. You just increase the DPI, dots per inch. The steps below work in Windows XP Pro, no doubt your version will be similar.

    Right click on the desktop.
    Select Properties to open the Display Properties window. Choose Appearance tab.
    Choose at “Font Size” Large Fonts. Click Apply.
    Next Choose the Settings tab.
    Click the Advanced button.
    At “DPI Setting”, choose Custom.
    A box with a ruler will appear.
    Click and hold on one of the ruler lines, drag it to the right.
    The sample text will turn bolder and darker.
    Stop dragging, when you are satisfied with the appearance. (For example, mine is good at 132 pixels per inch). Click OK. Then Apply, OK to save the new setting.
    If the fonts now appear too big, they can be downsized at the Appearance tab.

    submitted 02/23/2011
    Sonya Finkey, tech support
    country-cabins.com

    • Charlie says:

      Thank you, Sonya. Lots of ways of changing everything on your system, but sometimes people don’t want to change sizes for EVERYTHING on the monitor, just those fonts inside of QuickBooks, which is where this tip comes in.

  22. Sonya Finkey says:

    Hi again,

    You’re right. I don’t mind having everything high contrast. Some people might. Note: I forgot to mention on changing the DPI above, that inside qbw.ini, change the font=12. Any less than that and it won’t bold.

    Thanks again to you all for such a helpful and interesting blog.

    Sonya Finkey, tech support
    Country Cabins
    submitted 02/24/2001

  23. Emilio says:

    Thank-you for the help to make the fonts larger that’s was very ease thank-you so much for your help

  24. Angie says:

    THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! I’ve been looking for something like this for awhile.

  25. Steve says:

    Worked great!!! Only issue I found was PC with XP SP3 did not react weel to changing to large fonts via chaning the display setting and chaing the font per you method to 12 point. Any thoughts?

  26. Alice says:

    God Bless you! Great tip

  27. Carol Stokely says:

    Thank you very much,we’ve been trying to get the text larger for sometime. Much easier on my eyes. Your instructions were easy to follow and worked great

  28. LINDA BUZZELL says:

    THIS WORKED GREAT THANKS FOR YOUR HELP.

  29. Chuck Imken says:

    FANTASTIC SUGGESTION–I’m cancelling my eye appointment!

  30. Karen Long says:

    GOD BLESS YOU CHARLIE RUSSELL

  31. Charles Levinson says:

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANKS YOU!!!

    Ever since I upgraded to QuickBooks 2010 and purchased a 27″ monitor I have struggled with the display font size. I knew how to change it in printed reports – but needed larger fonts for the program itself. I am thrilled I found your post and can’t wait to look through your other tips. If you have an entry for how to set QuickBooks to self reconcile accounts, I will owe you dinner! :)

  32. Betsy Larkin says:

    Thank you Charlie, this will make a big difference for my husband and I both!! Bless your heart!!

  33. Carolyn Brown says:

    God Bless you, what a world of difference. Thank you so very much. These tired old eyes love it.

  34. Jon Muir says:

    Many thanks for the help – much appreciated. I have an old lady who does the QB, and she’s going to love you.

  35. Jeff says:

    This is great… however, doesn’t seem to to be the same for QB 2012. Is there a different ini file to configure? Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.

    • Charlie says:

      Jeff, I just tested this with Enterprise V12 (the 2012 release) and it worked fine. Note that in my QBW.INI file there wasn’t a “FontName” or “FontSize” attribute already – but I was able to add them (you have to format them exactly as shown above) and save the file, and restarted QB, and it worked. I didn’t try Premier 2012, but it should perform the same.

  36. Sally says:

    Thank you soooo much! My eyes sooooo happy today and for the rest of my bookkeeping/accounting days. =)Bless your heart.

  37. Kathy says:

    I love you–and I don’t even know you! What a huge help this has been. I can move a little more quickly on budget work. Thank you. Thank you.

  38. Cindy says:

    Thank you so much!!! Eyes are much HAPPIER!!!!

  39. Wil says:

    This is a wonderful tip! Have been looking for this for a while, especially now with a large monitor attached to my laptop. Using the magnification in Windows 7 also works, but isn’t helpful on a 15-inch screen, so this tip was perfect. Also works with other fonts, so you don’t have to use Arial (I’m using Calibri, as it’s a bit nicer to look at)

  40. Nikki says:

    Thank you so much! I was so glad to see this, however I am on a network and it adjusted everyone’s Quickbooks and some were ridiculously larger than others. They made me change it back and now mine is tiny again. Is there any way to individualize this change or no way since I’m on a network?

  41. Jessica says:

    Thank you so much for posting this! I just started using quickbooks yesterday and ended up with a headache after 2 hours because the font was too small. Now I’ve changed the font and its a big difference from 10 to 14 :) Thank you very much Charlie!

  42. Cyndi says:

    Genius! Thank you! You are an eyesaver!!

  43. waelectric says:

    THANK YOU SOOOOOO MUCH!

  44. JAIME ROSS says:

    i thank you and my eyes thank you

  45. Cindy from Canada says:

    Brilliant! Thank you soooooo much for the very easy instructions! The larger fonts have taken away a daily stress from my life.

  46. Craig says:

    Thanks, Charlie

  47. Charlie says:

    Well, folks, QuickBooks 2013 has been announced (see http://www.sleeter.com/blog/2012/09/quickbooks-2013-released/) and there is a big user interface change. Unfortunately, I’m not sure that it helps as far as the issue that THIS article talks about…

  48. Teresa says:

    I can’t get the function keys on my wireless keyboard to work, so can’t get to the Product Information screen to get started. Is there an alternative to F2 and F3?

  49. Janna says:

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU !!!!!

  50. LGott says:

    Does the font sizing work on the Mac version of quickbooks?

  51. H. Watson says:

    Thanks for the info regarding font size. Though I would soon need a magnifying glass installed over my screen when working in Qb’s.

    This did the trick!

  52. Chris says:

    Thanks so much for the tip! As a Mac user, The little Windows fonts were driving me nuts, but this fixed it – I chose Arial BOLD – looks good to me.

    I have just switched from Quickbooks for Mac to Quickbooks for Windows, which I run under Parallels on my Mac. This is a big improvement – it works so much better than QB for Mac I think Intuit should just discontinue their lame Mac version and support Parallels usage. (If you do this and use QB Tech Support, don’t tell them you’re using Parallels or they won’t help you…)

    • Charlie says:

      The Mac and Windows versions are targeted to different types of users, according to Intuit. They feel that the Mac version serves its purpose in the target market.

  53. Chris says:

    I’d used the Mac versions from 1995 to this summer, but QB for Mac 2005 won’t run on OS 10.7. QB for Mac 2011 was much slower than QB for Mac 2005, and didn’t handle the iif file imports I’d been using for 15 yr on the older versions. So I guess the downgrade in product functionality moved me out of the target market. Fortunately Windows emulation on the Intel Macs seems to be fast and bug-free.

  54. Jim says:

    QBooks really needs to do something about the font size and style in QB2013.

    • Charlie says:

      Jim, we’ll see if they make any adjustments. “size” is larger, for the most part, so that shouldn’t be a big issue for most people. “style” – most people aren’t worried about the style of the fonts, they are more concerned about the color of the icons and various windows.

      • Deb Krumvieda says:

        Charlie. Font size if very important, to me more important than color of the icons. I am using 2011 & just got a new computer with windows 7. it is a Dell intel 7 no new monitor, but since new computer the font in QB has changed. some screens fine others so small can’t read them, & if you go to screen resolution to make bigger, then some of the screens are so big they don’t fit. This I think is a QB problem and they need to fix. That is more important than color!!!!

  55. Verina says:

    this was very helpful!
    Thank You

  56. Karen says:

    Oh Nooo!!!!! I just tried your trick in QB 2012, Where my font name and font size should be like in your sample it says “[AUTOPATCH]“.

    What is that? Please help, my eyes are about to go on strike!

    • Karen says:

      I’m sorry, I’m a complete MORON! Apparently constant squinting at the screen has changed my ability to read simple instructions.

      Thanks!! Hopefully, you at least got a chuckle out of my moron-ness.

  57. Linda says:

    THANK YOU!!! I chose Arial 14 – finally I can see what I’m doing – you have saved me from many a headache!!

  58. ZB says:

    This doesn’t seem to be working on Windows 8, though I tried it on a Windows 7 machine and it worked like a charm. Any advice?

  59. Elizabeth Hoy says:

    HI,
    I have just upgraded to QB2013. The icon bar is so tiny. I did go in and change to colored icons and it helped a little. I am on a 17″ laptop screen. Do you think your fix will work?
    Thank you, Elizabeth

  60. Carole Cuozzo says:

    My tired and sore eyes thank you immensely

  61. Indiana López says:

    Thank you, Thank you…… Thank you so much, you save my eyes. God bless you

  62. Ginger says:

    I’m using Quickbooks Pro 2011 with Windows 7. I’ve played with this all morning with no results. QBW.INI does not exist on my computer, Ctrl-1 or 2 do not work nor does F1 or F2.

    Help…..I’m going BLIND

    • Charlie says:

      QBW.INI exists, it just may be in a “hidden folder”. If neither Ctrl-1 nor F2 open the product info window, it sounds like you may have some other issue going on in your installation.

  63. Robin says:

    How can I get ALL of the check writing screen to show? We have several companies in our QB2014 and for some reason only one company is so large that I can not view my Class Column. I can enter the information, so I know that it is there. Just not viewable?? Can anyone help me? Is anybody else having this weirdness?
    Thanks !!

  64. Mary says:

    Thank you! WE just upgraded computers and I thought I would go mad trying to read our QB Company page. I find it hard to believe that QB does not give this solution or make a font size control!! They need to listen to us users. Thanks again, you saved our eyes!

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