How to change your fonts in Windows XP

This page explains step-by-step how to change the system fonts used by Windows XP for menus, toolbars, titles and other text.

Change your fonts

Step 1: Open the 'Advanced Appearance' window

Open the 'Start' menu by clicking on the 'Start' button, or by pressing the Windows key or Ctrl + Esc.

Click on 'Control Panel', or press C until it is highlighted and then press Enter if necessary. (Note: in earlier versions of XP, you will need to click on 'Settings' or press S first.)

You need to be in Classic view. If you see the text 'Pick a category', as shown in Fig 1, click on 'Switch to Classic View' or press Tab until it is highlighted and then press Enter.

Fig 1Detail from 'Control Panel' window

Double-click on 'Display', or press D until it is highlighted and then press Enter, to open the 'Display Properties' window shown in Fig 2.

If it is not already selected, click on the 'Appearance' tab, or press Ctrl + Tab to cycle through the tabs until it is selected. Click on the 'Advanced' button, or press Alt + D, to open the 'Advanced Appearance' window shown in Fig 3.

Fig 2'Display Properties' window showing the 'Appearance' tab

Step 2: Change your fonts

In the 'Advanced Appearance' window (Fig 3), click on the drop-down list under the 'Item' header or press Alt + I, then use the mouse or arrow keys to scroll through the list of items that can be changed.

Fig 3'Appearance Settings' window

If it is possible to change the font for a particular 'Item', the second row of drop-down lists (below the 'Font' header) will become active. For example, if 'Menu' is selected in the list. You can change the fonts for the following 'Items'.

  • Active titlebar
  • Icon
  • Inactive titlebar
  • Menu
  • Message box
  • Palette title
  • Selected items
  • Tooltip

To change the font used for 'Menu' (as the example in Fig 3 shows), click on the drop-down list under the 'Font' header or press Alt + F, then use the mouse or arrow keys to scroll through the list of fonts to choose the one you want.

To change the size of the font you have chosen, click the drop-down list below the 'Size' header or press Alt + E, then use the mouse or arrow keys to scroll through the list of font sizes. Alternatively, type the font size you want in the box.

When you've made all your changes, click the 'OK' button or press Enter to return to the 'Display Properties' window (Fig 2). Click the 'Apply' button or press Alt + A to see how the changes look. If you are satisfied, click the 'OK' button or press Enter to finish.

Note: If this does not work it could be because your computer settings cannot be changed due to local IT policies - contact your local IT support for further help.

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