Command Prompt & PowerShell Presentation Settings

Fonts

CC 2.0 image courtesy Marco / Zak on Flickr

As a public speaker and someone who helps run a user group, I see a lot of presentations by developers. One thing devs sometimes forget is that their everyday settings are not always suitable when projecting to a crowded room. One of these settings is the font and window size of both Windows Command Prompt and Windows PowerShell.

This article shows you how to bump up your fonts in these tools.

Command Prompt

I often see developers use the default settings when using Windows Command Prompt in a talk. This means a small black screen background with white screen text including Raster Fonts with the default 8 x 12 font size. The selected window size is typically 80 x 25. These default dimensions are too small when presenting to a large crowd.

To increase your font size, open the Command Prompt. Right-click the title bar of the Command Prompt window and select Properties.

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In the Command Prompt Properties dialog window, click the Font tab. The preselected font is Raster Fonts which is similar to Bitmap fonts. If you want to keep the default font then I recommend you upgrade the Size to 12 x 16. This will make the screen easier to read for your attendees.

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Alternatively, if you want a lighter font, you can try Lucida Console with the Size set to 16. The font is not as thick and can make it a little easier to read from further back.

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You can also try different colour combinations by using the Colors tab in the Command Prompt Properties dialog window. Leaving the Screen Background set to black and changing the Screen Text to bright green can make the text pop.

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When changing the font size you should also be aware that you may need to adjust the Window Size as well. Since you are now placing larger font characters on each line, commands have a tendency to wrap. Raising the default width from 80 to 100 solves most line wrapping issues.

To change the Window Size, use the Layout tab in the Command Prompt Properties dialog window. Set the Window Size > Width to 100. Click OK.

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The Command Prompt window should now be large enough so that people can see what you are demonstrating.

PowerShell

Windows PowerShell also defaults to smaller fonts so if you presenting with PowerShell change these settings as well. It has the same preselected options as Command Prompt to choose from. You can set the Font, Font Size and Window Size from both the Font and Layout tabs.

To access these settings, right-click the title bar of the Windows PowerShell window and select Properties. You can choose the same size fonts as you did for the Command Prompt or you can experiment with size and colour.

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Summary

Thinking about the little things like font and window size when presenting technical material can make it easier for your audience to follow along. Updating these settings now before your next conference or user group presentation means you will be ready to demo all the cool stuff you are working on.

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About Ken Cenerelli
I am a Programmer Writer, .NET Developer, Microsoft MVP - Visual Studio and Development Technologies, Public Speaker, Blogger, and Microsoft Azure Nerd. I blog regularly at kencenerelli.wordpress.com and can be found on Twitter via @KenCenerelli.

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