Additional scaling options


I recently was given a Dell business laptop with a 1080p display. But I've noticed the scaling/dpi is not quite right.
Everything looks tiny, and when I go to the Display / Mate Tweaks settings, I only see options for 100% or 200% scaling. Both options aren't quite right.
Would it be possible for more values to be added? 125, 150, 175, etc?
For me Ubuntu MATE has always been the best Linux distro out there, and this is the first time I've found myself uncomfortable using it.

A fantastic OS all in all though.


Welcome @tomthetaffer to the community!

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What are your resolution options? It sounds like the resolution chosen isn't exactly native to the screen.

System -> Preferences -> Hardware -> Displays


It is a known problem. It is solved by tweaking font size, though.

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Hi, I have a long list of resolutions, right up to 1080p, non are indicated as native in the Display menu. However it's a Dell Latitude 5480, which apparently has three models - one with a 1366x768 res, the other two with 1080p.
I tried the lower resolution, but it didn't look right at all.

Hi, thanks for the suggestion. I have improved things by increasing the font size, but I don't feel like this fixes the issue completely. Thank you for helping me improve things though.

Hi tom,

I also have a laptop with a 14" 1920x1080 display.
I just switch it to 1600x900, thereby pushing the scaling problem from the software domain to the hardware domain.
Same quality as software scaling but more energy efficient :slight_smile:

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Sadly lowering the resolution just looked wrong. I never seemed to feel happy with the configuration overall.

I ended up getting a new laptop partly due to this issue (and the desire to play better games).

I still think this scaling issue should be looked into a bit more. If we have 100% and 200%, it'd be great to have some options in between.

One of the main areas I notice the issue when using Firefox.

Although my cheap-ass laptop (Acer Swift One) scales without getting blurry, I can imagine that not all laptops are equal in that field.

The reason why scaling MATE can get blurry is this:

  1. Mate themes are bitmaps.
  2. Most themes are build for 96dpi pixeldensity which used to be the standard.
    This is why it is not so simple to "implement fractional scaling on the fly" without losing sharpness,

BUT: You can try if xrandr scaling is more to your liking. Read this, especially the part below "Scaling the desktop with Xorg X11"

You could probably use the 200% HiDPI setting and then downscale with xrandr.
This would theoretically give a sharper image than upscaling with xrandr alone.

The other way, which seems to be the choice of several users, is to enlarge the default font sizes in "appearances" in mate-control-center and pick a XXL theme for bigger windowdecorations like buttons and titlebars, for example:

This will probably give superior results.

However, you probably need to do some extra work for GNOME applications because, contrary to the rest of the linux ecosystem, they use Client Side Decorations thereby completely sidelining central theme settings