Microsoft apps are blurry? Here’s how to fix them

5 minute read
microsoft apps are blurry

If you’ve ever tried a monitor of a newer built or multi-display modes on any Windows OS,  you’ve probably run into issues with display scaling and third-party apps. In most cases, the interface is either too small or visible but blurry. However, some users report issues with Microsoft’s own UWP apps, as well. Even though those are much better optimized for Windows 10 workflow, sometimes the scaling is wrong and they come out blurry.

We made sure to give our two cents on this topic, along with the 6 possible solutions. If even the Store apps look blurry, check the steps we provided below.

How to fix blurry Microsoft app in Windows 10

  1. Enable built-in troubleshooter
  2. Change the DPI in Compatibility mode settings
  3. Manually regulate display scaling in Display settings
  4. Enable ClearType for blurry fonts
  5. Check display drivers
  6. Lower the resolution

1: Enable built-in troubleshooter

From the beginning, there were issues with Windows and DPI scaling on large-resolution monitors. Especially when the screen size is on a lower side. For example, on the 15.6-inch monitor with Full HD resolution, the displaying interface will get blurry. This especially targets standard desktop (win32) programs which are outdated. Outdated in a sense that the developer hasn’t optimized them for Full HD or even 4K UHD resolutions at the time. Reasonably, since those were introduced in the last couple of years and lot of common applications are out of support for ages.

Albeit, all new UWP apps mostly regulate DPI and avoid blurriness, older apps (developed for Windows 8) still have issues on high-res screens. For that reason, with Creators Update, Microsoft introduced a special troubleshooter which tackles this issue. It fixes blurry apps by automatically scaling the interface.

It’s to be found in Display settings and this is how to enable it:

  1. Right-click on the desktop and open Display settings from the contextual menu.
  2. Click on Advanced scaling settings.microsoft apps are blurry
  3. Under the “Fix scaling for apps” section, toggle on “Let Windows try to fix apps so they’re not blurry“.microsoft apps are blurry
  4. Restart your PC and look for improvements.

2: Change the DPI in Compatibility mode settings

Some users tried to replace the blurry UWP app with a Win32 alternative. But, if the app fits the ‘legacy’ tag, you can be almost certain that it won’t work as intended on newer displays with ultra-high resolutions. Besides the aforementioned built-in fix, we can also recommend tweaking the compatibility mode settings. This opposes the previous solution, as the Compatibility mode overtakes the screen DPI scaling. Also, UWP apps can’t be tweaked this way, so this applies only for Win32 apps.

Here’s how to access Compatibility mode and resolve scaling issues within an app:

  1. Right-click on the blurry application and open Properties.
  2. Choose the Compatibility tab.
  3. Select the “Change high DPI settings” option.microsoft apps are blurry
  4. Now, you can either stick with the fix from the previous solution or check the “Use this setting to fix scaling problems for this program instead of the one in Settings” box. You can select whether the optimization applies after the system boot or when you open the app in the drop-down menu.
  5. Additionally, in the same dialog box, you can override the high DPI scaling. You can enforce app’s scaling or system scaling. Just check the box and experiment with the options.microsoft apps are blurry

3: Manually regulate display scaling in Display settings

The issue is self-explanatory, but the solutions might differ. Basically, all of them are just workarounds, and only certain resolution would be a better-coded display scaling. And even Microsoft can’t do that with its native Office applications. With that said, more times than not, you’ll need to trade the visibility for quality and vice versa. The built-in values include 100% and enlarged 125% scaling. However, maybe the 125% is too blurry and, say, 115% is just a right fit. You can tweak this manually.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Right-click on the desktop and open Display settings from the contextual menu.
  2. Click on Advanced scaling settings.microsoft apps are blurry
  3. Under the ‘Custom scaling’ section, insert any value from 100 to 125 and apply changes.microsoft apps are blurry

4: Enable ClearType for blurry fonts

Sometimes the blurriness mostly affects fonts, making reading much harder. Yes, you can enlarge the fonts and they’ll just be larger, but this will probably lack any aesthetic. What you can do, on the other hand, is use the Ease of Access settings and enable ClearType mode. This should make letters much more legible and reduce the blurriness in the legacy app.

Here’s how to tweak the font looks in a few simple steps:

  1. Type ClearType in the Search bar and open Adjust ClearType text.microsoft apps are blurry
  2. Enable it and follow the further steps until you successfully configure everything.microsoft apps are blurry
  3. Restart your PC and look for changes.

5: Check display drivers

This is rarely the case, but the faulty display drivers might cause the in-app blurriness. Thing is, Windows 10 and its generic drivers provided via updates are too often subpar. They just won’t cut it. What you’ll need to do is to get the official driver for your GPU. Those can be found on the official support website, provided by the OEM.

Here are the 3 main GPU OEMs:

Just navigate to one of those links and download the official display driver for your graphics card. If your GPU is older, there’s a chance that the support for Windows 10 is discontinued. In that case, look for legacy drivers. They should perform better even if they originate from Windows 7 or 8.

6: Lower the resolution

Finally, even though this isn’t a solution, we must mention it. By lowering the resolution on your small-sized screen, you’ll reduce the blur in apps. The DPI will drop and the look of the interface should improve. That’s just something we users need to deal with, as the legacy apps are just not adjusted for high-resolution displays.

Some of them might get updated and optimized, but only Microsoft’s UWPs (Store apps) will always fit perfectly. Sadly, they’re still far from perfect and the majority of users still favors win32 applications over them.

With that said, we can wrap up this article. In the end, we encourage you to share your ways to deal with screen scale causing blurriness in apps. The comments section is below so feeling free to post your thoughts or inquiry.

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