Office apps appear the wrong size or blurry on external monitors

Work was done in Windows 10 to support high-resolution screens, such as the Surface Pro 3, Surface Pro 4, Surface Book, and third-party laptops and tablets with screen resolutions above 1080p.

However, you may still experience blurry text in an Office application when you have more than one monitor and the external monitor has a different screen resolution than the primary monitor.

Microsoft is aware of the problem and is actively working on improving this in Office 2016 for Office 365 subscribers. Earlier in 2017, it released fixes related to this problem for PowerPoint and Skype for Business. See the Help article PowerPoint and Skype for Business appear the wrong size on external monitors for information about those fixes.

Meanwhile, for other Office 2016 applications, the workarounds for this issue are limited. Below are two workarounds that may help you:

  • Applications do not scale well:   This might be corrected by logging out, and then logging in to your Microsoft account or Office 365 work or school account. You can determine if this is necessary by checking the display settings (Control Panel > Appearance and Personalization > Display) for each monitor. If it shows "Some apps won't respond to scaling changes until you sign out" you must sign out and then sign in to correct the scaling.

  • Change display settings:   You might be able to change the behavior by doing the following: Open Display settings and modify the setting for Change the size of text, apps, and other items for each monitor (Windows 10 only).

Upcoming improvements

Here are three terms that characterize how an application adapts to display resolutions on different screens:

Term

Description

Scaling unaware

The app can only scale itself on a low-resolution screen.

System-aware

When an application is opened, the app scales itself based on the display resolution of the primary screen. If there are additional screens (that have different resolutions) connected to the system, Windows stretches the display of the app to fit those screens.

Per-monitor–aware

The application dynamically scales itself to the display resolution of each connected screen.

Microsoft is working to make the Office 2016 applications per-monitor aware, so that text in those applications is crisp regardless of the monitor resolution. Due to the pervasiveness of the changes involved, Office will only be able to distribute the per-monitor-aware improvements to Office 365 subscribers.

To see these improvements as soon as they are available, become an Office Insider. Insiders are Office 365 subscribers who get an early look at the new features each month and help the Office team evaluate them.

More information

More information about this issue is in the following links:

Expand your skills
Explore training
Get new features first
Join Office Insiders

Was this information helpful?

Thank you for your feedback!

Thank you for your feedback! It sounds like it might be helpful to connect you to one of our Office support agents.

×