Scaling In Mate

So I know this topic has come up many times. However, the typical solutions I have seen are forcing a font dpi, however, this does not work since some apps require a ridiculously high font dpi to look correct and this places the rest of the desktop in disarray. I tried modifying the Ubuntu scale setting in dconf to {'e-DP1':12}, with no noticeable effect. Does mate have any other settings for UI scaling? The release notes seem to indicate so for mate 1.20. All suggestions welcome, I'm getting tired of windows + cygwin :frowning: .

MATE has support for GTK and QT scaling, open the MATE Tweaks tool and you'll see some options there. Also, the default for fonts is to auto-detect the DPI and multiply it by the scale factor. Is this what you're looking for?

I am looking for something similar to font scaling like what is available in gnome or kde, since I dont have to force the dpi. E.g. if you go to gnome tweaks -> fonts->scaling-factor

Did you try the MATE Tweak tool? Does it work?

Yeah there doesn't seem to be much options, because from here I would go to fonts->dpi.

Wait, did the HiDPI scale factor not work for you? Maybe I don't understand what you're trying to accomplish :confused:

My laptop monitor is 1920x1080 15.6-inch FHD , not a 4 k monitor, but the default size is too small, so it has to be scaled up a bit. In windows, this is by 125%, in gnome adjusting for the font scaling to 1.4 works also. Im currently looking for a mate solution as I'd like to have ubuntu mate as my daily driver.

Ah, okay, I understand. To be honest, MATE and GNOME use similar algorithms to detect the font DPI, which almost always ends up being 96 or very close to it.

In GNOME's case, when you set it to 1.4 it just multiplies 96 x 1.4 and uses the result as your new font DPI. Windows does the same as they hard-code the default to 96 (Windows started the whole thing about 96 DPI, if I recall correctly).

In MATE we just decided to leave it as a specific value, but the functionality should be the same. So if 1.4x works for you on GNOME, set it to 134 on MATE and it should have a similar effect.

However, you might notice differences in things like window decorations, this is partly because MATE and GNOME use different window managers and different way of applying element styles. So you might need a different theme too?

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Thanks for shedding light, interesting tidbits :slight_smile: . So in the end it will be dpi? I notice the menu bars and panels don't seem to follow suit, but there should be something right? Since its similar to gnome.

Ah no, I rescind that statement, the menu bars are following suit, I just have to set variables for qt applications it seems. Also, for sake of completeness, is there something for the greeter as well? Thanks again.

Yes, it also has font DPI settings. You can use the terminal to set it:

gsettings set xft-dpi 134

(Where 134 is the font DPI value that you want to set)

You can also use dconf-editor:

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Ok, great. Thanks for all the help!

Doesn't seem to be any OS-wide scaling option.

You can change the Font DPI from 'MATE Tweak' window by selecting the "Windows" button-thing on the left, then the "Fonts" button on the right, which opens the 'Appearance Preferences' window. Select the 'Fonts' tab, then click on the "Details..." button (bottom right), which opens the 'Font Rendering Details' window, that has a "Dots per inch (DPI)" selection.

If you are using Plank, it has its own scaling settings.


The HiDPI scale factor needs a 'fractional scaling' fine-grained selection. There's only 'Regular' and 'HiDPI', which is too big on regular PC monitors. It needs a percentage/value selection option between those two values, to scale EVERYTHING seen, not just the fonts.

Yeah, fractional scaling is not possible in GTK. It needs to come from X11 (you can do this using xrandr --scale 1.5x1.5, for example), or Wayland (which MATE doesn't support).

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The great advantage of MATE is that it supports older and slower hardware and works fast. The price is that it skips most computing expensive or complicated features and uses older, more simple and fast libraries (e.g. GTK).

If you want more features, you could probably try out the latest Gnome.

I use a 27 inch, 4K (3840x2160) display. At scaling factor 1 the window titles are a bit too small, at factor 2 they are bit too big. But I can live with it, enjoing the stability and speed of MATE over the years, being able to focus on my work on computer instead of trying to follow a moving target like Gnome user interface, where they seem to move and reorder settings with each release.

My current settings (hope it helps for people with typical 4K display):

xrandr --output DP-2 --mode 3840x2160 --scale 1x1
gsettings set org.mate.interface window-scaling-factor 1
gsettings set org.mate.font-rendering dpi 128
echo "For firefox open about:config, set layout.css.devPixelsPerPx to 1.4"

I apologize if this is a bit of a thread dig, but I am trying to figure out what (if anything) has changed regarding fractional scaling for 20.04. Specifically, does the new release change anything said in this thread? I am a software developer and would be happy to help if help is needed on fractional scaling.

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As far as I am aware nothing has changed and although not a developer I do keep loose track of MATE development and I haven't seen any changes, but I'm sure they would be more than happy if you would want to work on it

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My laptop monitor is 1920x1080 15.6-inch FHD

I have a monitor with same characteristics and same problem (fonts and windows too small).

Changing the font dpi in Mate Tweak options does not completely solve the issue because the windows and program text did not scale together.

I ended up using xrandr --output eDP-1 --scale 1.5x1.5 and got good results

Using Ubuntu Mate 20.04, fresh install

I have someone with failing eyesight that has a Lenovo T450 and they find the resolution too fine.

I believe the resolution is 1600 x 900 on that machine.

With the commands that you recommend here, do they make a permanent change on the machine when run?