From time to time we have users reporting that the text in PDFsam Basic looks too small, the lettering is hard to read, and the application generally difficult to use due to this issue. This happens especially on high density monitors.

How to change the scale of PDFsam Basic

PDFsam Basic is an open source application written in Java and its user interface is built using JavaFX. JavaFX allows to create multi platform rich client applications and it takes care of scaling the user interface on HiDPI screens by automatically detecting the screen resolution and scaling the UI elements accordingly. Sometimes this isn’t enough or doesn’t happen has expected or the user simply needs bigger buttons and labels. To cover these cases JavaFX allows developers to manually set the scaling factor to ensure that the UI looks crisp and clear regardless of the display resolution.

How to manually scale PDFsam Basic on Windows

To manually set the scale you need to start the application setting the glass.win.uiScale system property to a value higher then 1, something like glass.win.uiScale=1.25 if you want to set the scaling to 125%.
To do that you need to modify the configuration used to start the application, here is how:

  • Locate your installation directory, usually something like C:\Program Files\PDFsam Basic
  • Open the C:\Program Files\PDFsam Basic\app\pdfsam.cfg file with a text editor
  • Add a JavaOptions java-options=-Dglass.win.uiScale=1.25

This is how the configuration file should look like after your edit:

[Application]
app.mainmodule=org.pdfsam.basic/org.pdfsam.basic.App

[JavaOptions]
java-options=-Djpackage.app-version=5.0.0
java-options=-Dprism.lcdtext=false
java-options=--module-path
java-options=$APPDIR\mods
java-options=-Dglass.win.uiScale=1.25

How to do that for PDFsam Basic version 4.x

  • Locate your installation directory, usually C:\Program Files\PDFsam Basic
  • Open the C:\Program Files\PDFsam Basic\pdfsam.l4j.ini file with a text editor
  • Add a line -Dglass.win.uiScale=1.25

This is how the configuration file should look like after your edit:

# add here runtime options, one per line
-Dprism.lcdtext=false
-Dglass.win.uiScale=1.25

How to manually scale PDFsam Basic on Linux

Similarly to the Windows version, to manually set the scale you need to start the application setting the glass.gtk.uiScale system property to a value higher then 1.
To do that you need to modify the script used to start the application, here is how:

  • Locate your installation directory, usually /opt/pdfsam-basic/
  • Open the /opt/pdfsam-basic/bin/pdfsam-basic script with a text editor
  • Add the line -Dglass.gtk.uiScale=1.25 \ as one of the latest lines

This is how the bottom of the script should look like after your edit:

exec "$JAVACMD" --module-path "$MODULEPATH" --module org.pdfsam.basic/org.pdfsam.basic.App $JAVA_OPTS -Xmx512M \
  -splash:$BASEDIR/splash.png \
  -Dapp.name="pdfsam-basic" \
  -Dapp.pid="$$" \
  -Dapp.home="$BASEDIR" \
  -Dbasedir="$BASEDIR" \
  -Dprism.lcdtext=false \
  -Dglass.gtk.uiScale=1.25 \
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How to set the font size on PDFsam Basic

In PDFsam Basic version 5 the ability to change the font size used in the application has been added. In many cases this should be enough to tailor the application to your needs.

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