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Resizing a window may not be possible. It really depends on the state of the window and the requirements of its designer.

I'm unable to make the screen smaller with Alt spacebar. The box that pops up the left-hand corner has everything shaded out except Minimize and Close. I'm unable to activate "size" and typing "s" doesn't work. I run Microsoft Office 2003.

In this excerpt from Answercast #85, I look at some of the reasons why a window might not give the user a Resize function.

Resizing a window

So there are a couple of different things that could be going on here.

If this is specifically the Office application, it's possible that it's maximized. The maximize function will disable your ability to resize - because maximize, by definition, means "take up the entire screen."

There's no resizing your entire screen; it's just "take up the entire screen."

What you want to do is hit "."

Which screen?

Now if "Restore" is also grayed then I'm wondering if we're actually talking about the application itself.

Here's the issue: many dialog boxes, or other windows that applications pop up, are not designed to be resized. In other words, they're the size they are because the application designer made them that size.

They may still have this "context menu," the System menu in the upper left - but because the window is not designed to be resized, things like resize are not enabled. Maximize would not be enabled because that effectively would resize this window as well.

So, I'd have to know exactly which window it is that you are attempting to resize. It is possible that it simply is not designed to be resized. In which case, there's actually almost nothing you can do.

Too small to read?

If the window is too small to be readable, or whatever, adjusting the DPI setting of your screen will actually make everything on the screen bigger. I've got articles on that if you want to go down that path.

But if literally all you're trying to do is resize a window or a dialog box that an application designer has decided should not be resized - there's actually not much you can do.

(Transcript lightly edited for readability.)

Article C6213 - January 5, 2013 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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1 Comment
January 29, 2013 1:56 PM

With a nifty utility called Sizer, it's possible to re-size windows.

One exception: some Adobe applications...

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