Access 2016 navigation pane on high DPI display: Yikes! RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • This really compromises usability of the navigation pane when you can see about 1/3 as many objects at one time. 225% scaling:

    Saturday, November 21, 2015 2:24 AM

All replies

  • Hi. Not sure I understand the issue. Are you saying you don't want to "drag" the vertical bar to make the Nav Pane wider?
    Saturday, November 21, 2015 4:28 AM
  • The problem isn't horizontal. It's vertical. This is the same proportion window at 100% scaling. Look at the spacing from object to object vertically. And how many more objects are shown in the same vertical real estate.

    Saturday, November 21, 2015 8:52 AM
  • well that's weird... have you more than one 2016 install to check it on?
    Saturday, November 21, 2015 4:42 PM
  • One of those was from my regular DPI desktop, one from my new high DPI laptop, both Access 2016.
    • Edited by Dick Watson Sunday, November 22, 2015 9:00 PM clarify response
    Saturday, November 21, 2015 5:07 PM
  • so those are both Access 2016?....meaning then it is not the app - and must be either a hardware option or an option within the Access installation.....

    and the next question is that if you whipped up a new app....one presumes for that single PC that the nav pane display is always super high def for all apps...

    Sunday, November 22, 2015 8:14 PM
  • They are both Access 2016, via Off365Home, current via
    Windows/Office Update, and are both running on Windows 10 Pro x64 November Update.

    There is absolutely a different Windows setting because of the different hardware, specifically the high DPI display. The different setting is the 225% scaling on the high DPI display. (Settings | System | Display | Change the size of text, apps, and other items: 225%) Without this setting, the fonts/icons are so small as to be unreadable.

    I don't understand your next question, so cannot answer it. Can you restate? I take it you are not familiar with Windows on high DPI displays?

    Sunday, November 22, 2015 8:24 PM
  • well 2016 is very new - and so some bugs are surfacing...and it wasn't clear if both your examples were using 2016.....

    really one is trying to isolate the cause; is it the hardware, is it Access generic installation or is it the custom Access .accdb database file.....

    but it works ok on 1 machine but not another then one rules out the .accdb file - and it is either the hardware or an option in the Access installation.....

    Sunday, November 22, 2015 8:34 PM
  • There's zero doubt in my mind it's an Access problem.

    Many Windows apps are goofy on high DPI displays. Some much worse than others. Office is *generally* pretty good but far from a perfect example for other developers to follow. The check boxes on Outlook Today tasks, for instance, don't scale at all and are barely visible on high DPI displays. Their splash screens don't scale, so good luck reading the messages about loading add-ins, etc. Lots has been written about the issues Windows apps face in high DPI and how developers need to respond.

    My understanding is that this goes back to an original sin in how Windows APIs worked from Day 1 in that they assumed, and let the developers assume, that DPI of the display would be a constant over time and so worked in pixels for sizing not some device independent, i.e., DPI independent, unit of measure. MacOS/OSX never assumed this. It forced developers to specify how big they wanted something to be displayed in device independent ways. And that's why Mac apps have no problem displaying as desired on the Retina displays. People have been violating this hardware assumption in Windows environments for more than a decade now, but not all apps handle it well, some not at all well. As I said, Office generally does pretty well. The most glaring example of it not handling it well I see so far is the Access Navigation Pane, which is why I started this thread.

    Sunday, November 22, 2015 8:54 PM
  • For another example of how Access has, and has not, reacted to high DPI, look at and compare, in my first screenshot, the ruler icons and the object icons, or the expand/contract chevrons, in the navigation pane. They've made the ruler icons high res or res independent. The navigation pane icons are still a low res bitmap but at least they are being scaled somewhere along the way to a screen-appropriate size.
    Sunday, November 22, 2015 8:57 PM
  • Another example of Access 2016 working poorly in high DPI environment:

    Friday, November 27, 2015 2:37 AM
  • MSFT is aware of this issue and it is on their radar screen. No promises, but they are aware of it.

    If you feel strongly about this, open an item for it in the Access UserVoice: http://access.uservoice.com/

    -Tom. Microsoft Access MVP

    Friday, November 27, 2015 2:50 AM
  • I would hope they are at least aware. Not like high DPI displays were just introduced or anything. I'm seeing issues in all the Office apps. Outlook Today task check boxes are microscopic, for instance. Access seems to have more of these issues than the other Office apps.
    • Edited by Dick Watson Friday, November 27, 2015 2:57 AM
    Friday, November 27, 2015 2:56 AM
  • Have exactly the same issue, and for the same reason (high DPI).  Similarly running 2016 on two different PCs, and only the high DPI one is impacted with the same DB.

    Aside from using your alternate PC, did you find any workaround.  It is almost unusable in this format! 

    The linked tables font also shows horribly small, and I'm assuming that there are a few other areas I don't use so often!

    Tuesday, February 9, 2016 12:32 PM
  • I know it's been quite some time, and Microsoft still has not addressed this issue. However, I've found a fix by modifying the msaccess.exe.manifest file.

    1.Navigate to the containing folder. Depending on your install, it may be in various locations. Hit the start button and type msaccess.exe. Right click and select "Open File location."

    2. Find "msaccess.exe.manifest" and append the extension *.txt. It should read "msaccess.exe.manifest.txt" (you may need to disable the "hide extensions for known file types" property under File > Change Folder and Search Options > View > uncheck "Hide extensions for known file types")

    3. After appending the manifest to a .txt file, open the file in notepad or another word editor.

    4. Use the Ctrl+F feature to find the string <dpiAware> and change the following value from "True" to "False." This portion of the string should read " <dpiAware>false</dpiAware> "

    5. Save and close the .txt file. Rename the file to remove the .txt extension. If you do not see the .txt extension, you must enable file extensions using the method in step 2.

    There is no need to restart your machine, as this should work fine. If it doesn't, you may need to enable manifest files in your registry.

    1. Right-click on the start button and select "Run" and type regedit and hit Enter.

    2. Using the pane on the left, navigate to

    3. Right-click on a blank space and select New, > DWORD (32-bit) Value

    4. Change the name to PreferExternalManifest.

    5. Right click on this new DWORD, select "Modify" and change the value to "1" and type to "Decimal." This may store it as hexadecimal, but it will still work.

    6. Press OK and close out of the registry.

    Your machine should not need to be restarted. Enjoy.  

    • Edited by SashiMurai Tuesday, June 7, 2016 1:40 PM
    Tuesday, June 7, 2016 1:39 PM
  • thank you so much!!! i'm very happy to have found your workaround.  access not only looked bad on my 200% dpi scaling (microsoft surface pro 4), but also acted poorly and was very hard to work with.  your workaround sure saved me a lot of headache, having to come up with weird solutions.  thanks alot!!
    Tuesday, August 16, 2016 4:35 PM
  • I'm investigating this workaround as I type. Thanks for posting. I'm hoping it doesn't have the side effect of completely undoing the things that do look high res. But that's still a trade I'd make to make Access usable on my laptop.

    In the interim, here's a reminder that things can always get worse. The Forms Controls Toolbox from VBA from CURRENT Office 2016, almost into 2017. The thing takes a magnifying glass to use. And the targets are almost impossible to hit from a trackpad. It's as though high DPI is a bleeding edge display technology:

    Wednesday, August 17, 2016 6:37 AM
  • Every single Office developer at Microsoft, heck, every developer at Microsoft, period, should be given a high DPI machine to work on. Bet that would get the message across.
    Wednesday, August 17, 2016 6:41 AM
  • Thanks a lot for this workaround. It makes all of Access look like low-res crap. But at least now it's usable low-res crap instead of semi-high-res gorgeous looking but chock full of the kinds of usability problems documented in this thread. Sigh.

    I wonder why/how they decided that making Office 2016 66% high-DPI aware was Good Enough?

    Wednesday, August 17, 2016 6:55 AM
  • Double the Thnx. Having recently purchase an HP laptop with Hi-Res was surprised and dismayed that Office 2010 (I know, I'm slow) had this issue.

    Hated to downgrade the display but better to work with Access app.

    Thanx again SashiMurai....c

    Sunday, November 27, 2016 5:14 PM
  • This is an old thread with recent activity, so the original problem may no longer be relevant, but I wanted to chime in and say that I use Access 2016 frequently on my Surface Book with desktop scaling set to the default 200% and rendering is fine in Access Version 1612 Build 7466.2038 (current). Even the VB IDE works well. 

    Access may have been fixed since this original post, but I suspect the OP's 225% scaling level may have been part of the problem. Windows scaling is never guaranteed, but especially so at intermediate or custom scaling levels.

    In any case, Office handles high DPI better than almost any other classic desktop application suite FWIW.  Creative Cloud has only recently been improved across the board, and some apps, such as Photoshop, support only 100% or 200% scaling, with nothing in between.

    • Edited by Gary Voth Sunday, November 27, 2016 7:09 PM
    Sunday, November 27, 2016 7:08 PM
  • 19th December 2016

    New HD laptop. New Office 2016. New Access 2016. Same problem.

    Many thanks for this fix

    Monday, December 19, 2016 8:36 AM
  • I had an Office update this evening (I am using Office 365). And ... suddenly my navigation pane looks normal in my HighDPI setting :) On a desktop and on a notebook.

    The update must have been in the update of 22.02.2017 (1609 / 1701, depending on the channel), although it has not been mentioned in the update log (while HighDPI fixes for other office programs are mentioned), probably they just forgot it.

    Sunday, March 12, 2017 10:24 PM
  • Man you are awesome! I was about to give up and felt like it was a bad choice to change my laptop only for that reason...

    Your explanations could not have been more clear. Bravo & merci!


    Sunday, July 9, 2017 8:39 AM
  • Well, it's June 2018, and I had to use this on my new Lenovo Yoga with a new install of Access 2016. Worked great.

    -- Roger Carlson
    MS Access MVP 2006-2012

    Wednesday, June 13, 2018 2:46 AM