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. Earlier in 2017, Microsoft released fixes related to address PowerPoint and Skype for Business being the wrong size. See the Help article PowerPoint and Skype for Business appear the wrong size on external monitors for information about those fixes.

However, you may still experience blurry text in Office applications 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, and Office 2016 Click-to-Run installations.

  • Improvements for Word, PowerPoint, and Visio were released on March 27, 2018 for customers running version 1803 (build 9126.2116) or greater.

  • Support for Excel, Outlook, and Skype for Business is coming later this Spring 2018.

In the meantime, below are two workarounds that may help you:

  • Restart your computer:   If applications are not scaling correctly after connecting or disconnecting a monitor, docking or undocking a laptop, or changing your display scaling settings, this might be corrected by restarting. Some apps require a restart in order to respond to scaling changes.

  • Use the same display settings on all monitors:   If all monitors use the same scaling setting, this can help improve the quality of text, but applications that are not on the main display may feel bigger or smaller than expected. To try it out, open display settings (Settings > System > Display) and modify the setting for Change the size of text, apps, and other items so that it is the same for each monitor. You will then want to restart for those changes to take effect.

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 and Office 2016 Click-to-Run installations.

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.

Starting with Insiders Fast build 8628, Office apps have improved support for high definition displays, and this change will be coming to all Office 365 subscribers in the coming months.

  • This feature is available to both Insiders Fast and Insiders Slow. We recommend joining Insiders Fast to get the best experience on High DPI for Word, PowerPoint, Visio, and Skype for Business.

  • Support for Excel is available to Insiders Fast, but coming soon to Insiders Slow.

  • Support for Outlook is coming soon.

  • This feature requires Windows 10 Anniversary Update (version 1607) or higher.

For more information, see this discussion post.

More information

More information about this issue is in the following links:

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