I have a 24" monitor with a resolution of 1920x1080. Mostly I'm working on printable maps in QGIS. The size of some labels is sometimes smaller then 5mm on the final printed map. At my monitor this labels are not readable (as you can (not) see on the screenshot below).

Screenshot from canvas in scale 1:75000:

Screenshot from canvas in scale 1:75000

Is there a (software-)way to enlarge the view on my monitor or do I have to buy a monitor with a better resolution? Which one would you recommend?

  • You can't zoom in and pan for more detail? Commented Nov 15, 2014 at 16:33
  • Of course I can, but I would have to change the scale. If I have a map I want to print in 75k, I also have to use the same scale in the canvas. The screenshot is in 75k.
    – MartinMap
    Commented Nov 15, 2014 at 17:28
  • I meant zooming and panning on the layout in print composer, leaving the map at the same scale. On trying it, it doesn't appear to update the quality of the map canvas. Commented Nov 15, 2014 at 18:00
  • 1
    How about KMag?
    – nhopton
    Commented Nov 16, 2014 at 12:34
  • Are you defining your font label sizes in 'points' instead of 'map units'? If so, try using 'map units'.
    – dakcarto
    Commented Nov 18, 2014 at 3:12

3 Answers 3


What OS are you running? Windows, Mac OS and Linux all have ways of optimizing the display, which can sometimes make a huge difference to text rendering. Your OS will likely have a way of temporarily enlarging the display to view detail. It sure beats using “Zoom Previous” all the time on a complex QGIS map.

If you can borrow or buy a screen calibrator, that can make a helpful difference to screen contrast. Most displays have a very cold blue colour cast, and calibration will pull some extra shades out of the murk.

Update: For Ubuntu:

  • For better text rendering, try Infinality.
  • Compiz has zoom functions under Accessibility; I can never remember where the Compiz Config Manager lives these days, though.
  • For screen colour calibration, I have had great success with a ColorHug.
  • I'm running Ubuntu.
    – MartinMap
    Commented Nov 15, 2014 at 17:30
  • I already use the compiz zoom function with my mouse wheel. Its helping but not exactly what Im looking for.
    – MartinMap
    Commented Nov 17, 2014 at 7:12

I think, buying big monitors are not a solution for this kind of problem. If you are serious about the quality of printed map I suggest you to use any graphics or design software (ie. Abobe Illustrator). Assign each set of lebels to different layers according to their font size.

Try Avenza's Map Publisher sometime.

  • Just how does using the QGIS Print Composer qualify as not being 'serious' enough about map quality? In order to be serious, one has to buy Adobe software and also purchase a $1,400 (USD) plugin? This in no way helps the poster with their question. I stopped using Avenza's software and became a QGIS developer specifically because you can create serious cartography now in QGIS, which also happens to be a full GIS application.
    – dakcarto
    Commented Nov 18, 2014 at 3:27
  • The message 'using Ubuntu' wasn't there when I wrote this answer. The question seemed to be inclined towards graphics performance for vector elements and rendering, so I suggested something similar. If it is so, I will suggest Inkscape again if you feel right. :) Commented Nov 18, 2014 at 6:19

In my opinion no amount of screen calibration will help with this issue.

After some testing, it seems like the only way to see these small labels in more detail before exporting the map is by zooming closer in the Print Composer. Even 1pt sized labels become readable that way.

enter image description here

  • I would like to have the "final view" in the canvas, not just in the print composer where I have to switch to check the result. Something like a scale independent zoom function in the canvas would do the job.
    – MartinMap
    Commented Nov 17, 2014 at 7:11
  • That requires at least a feature request and if possible funding.
    – underdark
    Commented Nov 17, 2014 at 19:35

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