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Scale Telegram Desktop’s Interface to Below 100%

Telegram desktop has a setting that allows users to scale the size of its interface. This is a very useful feature as it allows one to enlarge the default interface size, for example, so that it is more readable on larger screen displays or for accessibility if one has impaired vision.

Similarly, decreasing the size of the interface can be very useful where one is instead using smaller screen displays, e.g. netbooks. This way the app can be resized to fit on the screen without having to move the window or scroll unnecessarily.

Unfortunately, the slider scale available in Telegram’s Preferences only goes to a minimum of 100%.

Screenshot of Telegram desktop interface scale slider.

Nevertheless, it’s possible to override this by using the scale command when launching the app.

Using the Scale Command

1. Through Command Prompt / Terminal

You can override the scale by launching Telegram from the Linux terminal or Windows command line as follows: telegram -scale 90. Change 90 with scale you want e.g. 95, 80, 70, 50 etc.

On Windows you’ll first have to navigate to the directory where Telegram is installed, then use the command e.g.

cd C:\Users\Username\AppData\Roaming\Telegram Desktop
telegram -scale 90

The custom scale will now automatically override the default scale and the new scale will be added to the available preset scales in Telegram preferences.

Screenshot of custom scale in the telegram scales slider
90% interface scale in Telegram preferences

As such, you don’t have to launch Telegram using the command again. The custom scale setting will be kept even if you exit the app and will likewise remain available in the list of presets.

Enabling the Default interface scale toggle will however restore the 100% scale and remove the custom scale.

2. Through Application Shortcut

You can also apply the command through the default Telegram shortcut that you use to launch the app with. Otherwise, you can also create a new shortcut from the executable and use it.

There’s no difference between this method and the command based one other than the fact this uses the graphical interface to achieve the same thing. Still, it’s more permanent as it will always override the scale as long as Telegram is launched using the shortcut.

In Microsoft Windows, the default shortcut is located in: C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Telegram Desktop\ where username is your Windows’ account username.

Right-click the Telegram shortcut inside that folder and in the Target box add -scale 90 after the quotation marks so that it now reads "C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Telegram Desktop\Telegram.exe" -scale 90.

Change 90 with scale you want then click the Apply button to save the shortcut.

Screenshot of Telegram shortcut properties window.

You can replicate the above on Linux distributions. To do that, edit the Telegram desktop application shortcut or launcher to include the command, e.g. /opt/Telegram/Telegram -scale 90 -workdir /home/user/.local/share/TelegramDesktop/ -- %u

Screenshot of a Telegram launcher settings on Linux XFCE desktop
Telegram desktop launcher settings in XFCE4 panel with the scale command
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Kelvin Kathia

Kelvin Kathia is a writer based in Kenya that's passionate about sharing solutions to everyday tech problems. He's the founder and editor of Journey Bytes, a tech blog and web design agency. Feel free to leave him comments or questions regarding this post, or by leaving him a message on the contact page. If you found his content helpful, a donation is much appreciated.