How to make window fonts smaller (OS X)?

Asked by Zearin

The fonts for all Windows (menus, preferences, layer dialogs, etc.) are just a tad too big for my preference. How can I make them smaller?

* I'm using Inkscape 0.47 on OS X 10.6.6 (Snow Leopard)
* I am aware that similar problems have occurred with X11 on OS X due to a DPI setting. This is not the problem; my DPI is at 96 as it should be, and other UI elements are sized appropriately. I only want to tweak the font size, not the entire application. ☺

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Best su_v (suv-lp) said :

> I'm using Inkscape 0.47 on OS X 10.6.6 (Snow Leopard)

I recommend to upgrade to the latest version before changing the font size of the application:
<> [1]

There is no GUI to change the font size used in the menus and dialogs in Inkscape. Normally that size is picked up from global settings (on Linux desktops like Gnome or KDE). On Mac OS X, you have to edit a configuration file inside the application bundle. If you feel comfortable tinkering with an app in this way, follow these steps:

0) quit Inkscape
1) right-click the application icon of Inkscape in the Finder and choose 'Show Package Contents'
2) browse to 'Contents > Resources > themes > Clearlooks-Quicksilver-OSX > gtk-2.0'
3) open the file 'pre_gtkrc' in TextEdit (or any Plain-Text editor of your choice)
4) search for the string 'gtk-font-name'
5) change the font size
6) save the file (be careful not to change the file format (Plain Text) and not to add a (hidden) *.txt suffix, otherwise the file can no longer be found by Inskcape)
6) relaunch Inkscape and verify that the new size suits your needs

[1] Inkscape 0.48.1 has not been officially announced yet, but it has many bugs fixed - including the annoying one about extensions failing on Snow Leopard (bug #482993).

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Zearin (zearin) said :

Thanks for the quick response ☺

Yep, I'm comfy going into .app packages. In fact it's something I frequently investigate before I ask for help.

I'm glad to hear that 0.48 is out and fixing bugs on Snow Leopard! Unfortunately I tried downloading the source and I am getting all kinds of errors trying to build. :(

Here’s the result of that attempt:

amrogers @ Tonys-MacBook-Pro.local $ ./


Inkscape binary path not specified.

amrogers @ Tonys-MacBook-Pro.local $ ..

amrogers @ Tonys-MacBook-Pro.local $ ..

amrogers @ Tonys-MacBook-Pro.local $ ./config
-bash: ./config: No such file or directory

amrogers @ Tonys-MacBook-Pro.local $ ./configure
checking build system type... x86_64-apple-darwin10.6.0
checking host system type... x86_64-apple-darwin10.6.0
checking for a BSD-compatible install... /usr/local/bin/install -c
checking whether build environment is sane... yes
checking for a thread-safe mkdir -p... /usr/local/bin/mkdir -p
checking for gawk... gawk
checking whether make sets $(MAKE)... yes
checking how to create a pax tar archive... gnutar
checking for style of include used by make... GNU
checking for g++... no
checking for c++... no
checking for gpp... no
checking for aCC... no
checking for CC... CC
checking whether the C++ compiler works... no
configure: error: in `/Users/amrogers/Downloads/inkscape-0.48.1':
configure: error: C++ compiler cannot create executables
See `config.log' for more details

amrogers @ Tonys-MacBook-Pro.local $ which gcc

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su_v (suv-lp) said :

> Here’s the result of that attempt:
> (…)

I'm unclear what you are trying to do... Why don't you just download the DMG [1] as intended and install '' by drag&drop? Then you proceed with step 1) from my previous message.

To compile Inkscape as osxapp and build the package, you would need to have all dependencies installed (with MacPorts [2], which takes several hours or more, depending on the chosen variants) and have some basic knowledge about building such a ported (GTK+) application. That's why the Inkscape project provides prebuilt packages.

If you don't trusted those official pre-built packages, you could also install the command-line version via MacPorts (after installing XCode and Macports, install the port 'Inkscape' which will take care of the dependencies needed). Or have a look at the detailed (though possibly slightly outdated) information in the Inkscape wiki about building Inkscape for packaging on Mac OS X: <>

[1] filename: Inkscape-0.48.1-1-LEOPARD+.dmg
   link: <>

[2] <>
   (Note that having software installed in /usr/local/bin is not supported by MacPorts due to unavoidable conflicts).

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Zearin (zearin) said :

Oh! I'm sorry, I misunderstood your original instructions. I assumed that since the DMG was labelled “LEOPARD”, and you specifically mentioned a bugfix for SNOW Leopard, that this was not the download you intended.

Nope, I have no trust issues with DMGs. I’ll go ahead and download it now and give the font-size trick a try.


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su_v (suv-lp) said :

Sorry for having been unclear in my directions - I'll try harder next time to give more detailed instructions and provide proper links right from the beginning. ;)

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Zearin (zearin) said :

Thanks ~suv, that solved my question.