Windows 10: How to configure DPI scaling on a multi-monitor PC setup

Automatic DPI scaling per-monitor is now supported in Windows 10, and today we take a look at how it works and how you can configure multiple displays with their own independent DPI (dots per inch) scaling levels. Automatic scaling in Windows is nothing new, previous versions of the operating system offered the functionality, but it wasn’t until the time of Windows 8.1 that we started to see more high-DPI displays on different devices.

Today, even our smartphones and tablets offer more pixels than our desktop monitors. This introduced a new challenge for the operating system, while Windows 8.1 offered good automatic scaling there was one big issue: if you had a multi-monitor PC setup, you could only apply a DPI scaling percentage to all your monitors.

This meant that if you had a laptop with a high-resolution display (e.g., 4K or QHD+) and a secondary full HD 1080p monitor, the content will not appear at the same scale.

However, now Windows 10 runs on many screen sizes and devices, as such the software giant isn’t just adding visual changes, it’s also fixing many features under-the-hood. One of these changes is the ability to automatically handle scaling on computers with multi-monitor setup. Windows 10 will not only adjust the DPI settings on your main display, but also on every other monitor you connect to your computer or laptop.

Of course, if you have different visual needs, you can always change the Windows 10 DPI settings on each monitor separately, something that wasn’t possible before.

Windows 10 DPI scaling settings

If you need to change the default DPI scaling settings, you’ll need to open the Settings app and go to System. (Alternatively, you can simply right-click on an empty space on the Windows Desktop, and select “Display Settings”.)

Under “Customize your display”, you will be shown all the monitors connected to your system, select the display you want to change DPI setting, and use the slider under “Change the size of text, apps, and other items” to pick your DPI scale level. You can go as low as 100% or as high as 300%, always jumping on increments of 25%. (If you want to disable scaling on high-DPI displays simply leave the settings on 100 percent.)

In addition, you can also configure orientation per monitor, but you can only control the brightness level in your primary monitor. On the same page, you can change how to handle your multi-monitor setup, you can extend, duplicate, or show content on one display, and you’ll see an option to set a monitor as your main display.

Once you have selected your preferred options, click Apply, the changes will apply immediately, but you will be asked to sign out and sign back in to apply the new scaling settings correctly.

Changing specific DPI scaling settings

In case the predefined scaling levels aren’t sufficient, you can click the “Advanced display settings”, and then click “Advanced sizing of text and other items”. This will open Display setting in Control Panel, then click the “set a custom scaling level” to set your specific scale level.

After you complete the process, you’ll notice the change immediately, but there is only one issue that still remains. That is that some applications will not look good, because of the fact what weren’t designed to support high-DPI scaling settings, but Windows apps from Store and other desktop applications will look fantastic. However, you can make traditional desktop apps look better on high-DPI displays, just follow these instructions.