How to improve the readability of Windows console windows

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 8, 2018
Updated • Nov 8, 2018
Windows, Windows tips

Windows console windows like the command prompt window use a default size and layout by default on all Windows PCs.

The command prompt window for example always opens up with a set width of 80 and a height of 25, and a default font size of 8 screen pixels wide and 12 screen pixels high.

windows console defaul

It happens frequently that input or output are broken up into multiple lines.

While you can change the size of the window manually by using the mouse to adjust the size and improve readability, you may want to make changes to the readability of console windows on Windows PCs permanently if you run into these issues regularly.

command output issue

Some Windows users may also want to increase the size of the font or other font-related settings to improve readability.

The layout and design of console windows -- the command prompt, PowerShell and Windows Subsystem for Linux all belong to the category -- can be adjusted.

Customizing console windows on Windows

You can modify several display related parameters:

  • Set a different window height and width that is permanent.
  • Specify a default window position.
  • Change the font size and font type.
  • Change text and background colors.
  • Adjust the opacity of the window.

Changing window parameters

window size position

Note: You need to select "defaults" to apply the changes that you make system-wide when you right-click on the title (explained below). The options are identical.

While you can make the adjustments manually in the window properties, a far better way to make the changes is to adjust the window manually first.

Resize the width and/or height of the console window and position it in a location that you want it to open from now on. These changes are temporary unless you open the properties and make them permanent:

  1. Right-click on the title bar of the console window and select Properties from the context menu.
  2. Switch to the Layout tab. You find new values for Window Size and Window Position there.
  3. You may want to uncheck "Let system position window" if you want the window to always open in the same location on the screen.
  4. A click on ok saves the values which makes them the new defaults on the system.

Changing text related parameters

windows console font size

The second option that you have in regards to improving readability of console windows is to modify font related settings; this is done in the properties as well.

  1. Open the Font tab of the properties.
  2. Font size: change the default font size of 8x12 to a larger or smaller size. Size values depend on the selected font.
  3. Font type: pick a different font from the list of supported fonts.

Any change that you make in the window is shown as a preview so that you know how it will look like immediately.

Note that font size changes may change the height or width of the console window as it is adjusted automatically.

Changing console colors

windows command prompt colors

The third major option that you have to improve the readability of console windows is to change colors.

  1. Switch to the Colors tab in the Properties window.
  2. Select one of the available elements (Screen Text, Screen Background, Popup Text, Popup Background).
  3. Adjust the color by selecting one of the available presets or by entering color values for red, green and blue manually.

A preview of the new selection is displayed automatically in the window so that you may adjust it accordingly.

Other console options

windows console customize

The Properties window includes other options that you may find useful when it comes to improving readability:

  • Options > Cursor Size -- Change the cursor size from small to medium or large.
  • Colors > Opacity -- Change the opacity level of the console window.

Closing Words

Windows saves layout settings for each console type, e.g. cmd or PowerShell, separately. You need to modify default settings for each console individually to adjust them all and improve readability in the process.

Now You: Have you modified the consoles in Windows?

How to improve the readability of Windows console windows
Article Name
How to improve the readability of Windows console windows
Find out how to improve the readability of console windows on computers running the Windows operating system.
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  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–Error-Message-of-Windows-11-Update-KB5029351-Preview-142215

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–caused-BSOD-on-MSI-s-Intel-700-and-600-Series-Motherboards-142277

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