Frequently asked question

Why does the ArcMap interface appear blurry when the screen resolution is changed to a resolution other than 96 dpi?

Last Published: April 25, 2020


ArcMap appears blurry after setting the screen resolution dpi (dots per inch) to other than the normal size (96 dpi), or changing the screen text size to 'Larger (150%)'. When the display settings are changed, the monitor pixels are scaled. This causes the text size to become larger.

This issue is a known limitation. The optimum screen resolution for ArcMap is 1024 x 768 or higher at normal size (96 dpi). Due to limitations imposed by third-party dependencies and some of the component technologies used in ArcMap, as well as the necessity of re-engineering many user interface (UI) components such as icons, dialogs, and controls, ArcMap cannot reasonably be made high-dpi compliant. The following workarounds can be used to address the display issue.

The workarounds listed below improve display clarity, but some UI elements (such as icons and toolbars) may appear smaller.
  • Set the screen resolution to the recommended screen resolution for ArcMap, which is a minimum of 1024 x 768 or higher at normal size (96 dpi).
  • Ensure the screen text size is set to small (The default is 100% on Windows systems.)
  • Change the Windows display theme.
  • Change the compatibility settings in ArcMap:
  1. Right-click ArcMap.exe from ArcMap's bin directory, for example:
<install location>\ArcGIS\Desktop10.x\bin\ArcMap.exe
  1. Select Properties.
  2. Click the Compatibility tab on the ArcMap 10.x Properties dialog box.
  3. Disable high DPI scaling:
    • In Windows 7, check Disable display scaling on high DPI settings
    • In Windows 10, check Override high DPI scaling behavior
  4. Click OK.

Esri’s new desktop application, ArcGIS Pro, which is included in the ArcGIS for Desktop licensing, is designed to work with high dpi displays, and scaling values higher than 100%. Consider migrating workflows to ArcGIS Pro to take advantage of the application's native support for high dpi displays.

Article ID:000012643

  • ArcMap

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