As some of our readers have found out, there is an issue with the high-resolution, high-density screen of the Surface Pro 3. You see, the more resolution you pack into a small screen, the smaller the elements then appear – buttons, text, just about any content on the Internet. I am certain that the issue is temporary – as high-density screens spread and become common technology, these issues are bound to be resolved at some point. Still, if you are using Lightroom with the Surface Pro 3 now, waiting is not really an option. And I have some good news – there is no need to wait. An issue is only an issue if you can’t solve it. Luckily, there are at least two ways to make the user interface of Adobe’s popular RAW converter more friendly to both mouse and touch input, and both are as easy to set up.
Before we start, thought, let’s see what the issue is all about.
Because of Surface Pro 3’s high pixel density (216 ppi), here is how Lightroom looks on my tablet-laptop hybrid:
Right. Were you to look at this screenshot on a regular 24″ 1920×1080 screen, it would seem completely normal. Perhaps even more than that – very convenient. Lots of space for the actual image, still usable panels. But, no. See, I resized the screenshot and kept you from being able to enlarge it for a reason. If you are looking at it on a regular screen as described before, this is pretty much how it looks like on the Surface Pro 3. Yes. That size. Tiny font, absolutely minuscule sliders. Could you imagine trying to adjust them using the touchscreen? Admittedly, everything is better defined on the actual screen, but still, trust me, it can be tricky even with a regular mouse.
Now, before we go any further, I have to confess. I actually quite like it this way. More then that, I’ve kept it this way deliberately. Even more than that, by default, the interface is a little bit bigger. But I can easily understand how this is an issue for the majority of users who own the Surface Pro 3 and use Lightroom. Let’s fix it!
As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, there are two ways to fix the issue, one of which works for everything, not just Lightroom. So perhaps that is what we ought to start with.
1) Set Up Windows
Windows allows you to adjust how big the items are in pretty much any environment, be it Desktop or the Internet. To do that, right-click on your Desktop and select Screen Resolution. There, click on the “Make text and other items larger or smaller” option:
There, you will see a slider that adjust how big the items are:
By default, separate scaling level is specified for each screen you use. Even if you frequently connect an external display to your Surface Pro 3, only the tablet’s screen will be scaled, unless you select the “Let me choose one scaling level for all my displays” checkbox. Also, you can adjust the font size separately in the same dialogue. For all changes to take effect, restart the computer.
2) Set Up Lightroom
If you have issues only with Lightroom user interface scaling, there is no need to adjust how everything in the operating system is displayed – Lightroom has a very similar setting built-in. Firstly, click Edit->Preferences… There, select the Interface tab as shown in the screenshot:
Even though the drop down menu that you need to access says “Font Size”, it actually changes the size of everything, including adjustment sliders. Neat. Here is how Lightroom interface looks like with the Largest setting:
I know this might be a stretch too far (unless you want to use the touchscreen), but it illustrates the difference very well. The Large or Medium setting might work better for you, so you should try them all out and see which one is the most comfortable to stick with. You will need to restart Lightroom to see the changes.