How to Zoom the Steam Client

Are you trying to use the Steam Client but find that the text and controls are too small to read and use easily?  Are you dumbfounded why there are no settings or keyboard shortcuts to make everything bigger?  If so, then today is your lucky day…

Before

The above screenshot is what the default skin looks like when you use the Steam Client on a 1920×1080 display.  If you have your face mashed up against the screen then you can read the text no problems.  If, however, you are seated back a bit from the screen, or have a high-resolution screen, or just don’t have eagle-eyed vision, then the text can be really, really hard to read.

There is no setting in the Steam Client that lets you simply make everything bigger.  The community has been asking for one for years, and years, and years but Valve doesn’t seem to care that much.  They ‘recently’ let you, kinda, sorta, make some things bigger in the Library, but that’s of limited value to most people who spend far more of their time exploring their Discovery Queue (or using other parts of the Steam Client).

If you’ve got a couple of minutes of time you can apply a zoom to the body of the interface that turns the above into this:

After

A much better use of space — and much easier to read.

Everything (except the chrome) can be scaled or zoomed up by as much as you like.

On Linux you merely have to issue five commands on the command line to zoom everything a bit larger.  This is all it takes on Ubuntu 18.04 (Windows/MacOS instructions at the end of this post):

cd ~/.local/share/Steam/
mkdir -p skins/bigger/resource/styles
cp resource/styles/steam.styles skins/bigger/resource/styles/
cd skins/bigger/resource/
echo ':root { zoom: 1.5; }' > webkit.css

I chose to name the new skin “bigger” — change it to whatever you like.  A zoom of 1.5 (150%) is what I, personally, prefer — also change it to whatever you like.

In the Steam Client…

  1. Steam » Settings » Interface
  2. change the skin from the default to the “bigger” one
  3. click OK and restart the Steam Client

That’s it.  You’re done.

Enjoy!

PS: If you’re anything like me, and spend most of your Steam Client time exploring your Discovery Queue, then you may want to consider improving that experience further by adding a bit more style to the webkit.css file. Mine looks like this:

:root {
  zoom: 1.5;
}

.breadcrumbs, #application_root, .store_tooltip, 
.queue_reason_description, .queue_btn_ignore_menu, 
.mature_content_notice, .queue_controls_description {
  display: none !important;
}

#store_controls {
  position: fixed !important;
  top: 0px;
  right: 0px;
}

#store_nav_area {
  top: 0px !important;
}

div#store_header, div#store_header .content {
  height: 40px !important;
}

.html5_video_overlay {
  zoom: 0.666;
}

The extra styling gets rid of annoying stuff that long-time users simply don’t need, and it sticks the wishlist in the top-right corner.  I like it.  You may like it too.

Note that the way Valve have coded their video volume slider means that it gets more and more flakey the higher your zoom level.  The only way to make it function normally is to restore it to a normal (effective) zoom of 1.0 — thus .html5_video_overlay has its zoom set to 0.666.  The :root zoom of 1.5 multiplied by 0.666 gets us back to 1.0.  If your chosen :root zoom is giving you problems with the volume slider, set the .html5_video_overlay zoom to:  1 / :root zoom.  Alternatively, control video volume using your keyboard and the system volume.

PPS:  Although the above instructions are for Linux, because the Steam Client’s directory structure is the same on all platforms, you can easily do the same thing on Windows and MacOS.  You just need to make a few directories, copy the default steam.styles file into one of them, and create a webkit.css file in another.  Edit the latter with whatever text editor you prefer.

  • In Windows:
    • The path to the Steam directory should be:
      • \Program Files\Steam\
    • Create all missing directories up to and including:
      • \Program Files\Steam\skins\bigger\resource\styles\
    • Into that last directory, copy the default Steam styles file from:
      • \Program Files\Steam\resource\styles\steam.styles
    • And create the text file for your custom CSS:
      •   \Program Files\Steam\skins\bigger\resource\webkit.css
  • In MacOS:
    • The path to the Steam directory should be:
      • ~/Library/Application Support/Steam/
    • Create all missing directories up to and including:
      • ~/Library/Application Support/Steam/skins/bigger/resource/styles/
    • Into that last directory, copy the default Steam styles file from:
      • ~/Library/Application Support/Steam/resource/styles/steam.styles
    • And create the text file for your custom CSS:
      • ~/Library/Application Support/Steam/skins/bigger/resource/webkit.css

12 thoughts on “How to Zoom the Steam Client

  1. Thanks bro, I’am only having an issue with my wishlist, I have 54 itens in there and as I scroll down the page everything starts to.. how I can say.. like disappear ?

  2. SilverLightPony, it’s been many, many years… Still waiting for Valve to fix their broken client. /sigh

  3. I didn’t try in Ubuntu 18.04, so idk if the literal steps in this webpage work. But the following steps are for Ubuntu 20.04:

    mkdir -p ~/.steam/steam/skins/bigger/resource/styles
    cp ~/.steam/steam/resource/styles/steam.styles ~/.steam/steam/skins/bigger/resource/styles/steam.styles
    echo ‘:root { zoom: 1.5; }’ > ~/.steam/steam/skins/bigger/resource/webkit.css

    Greetings.

  4. Style, the commands you listed are functionally the same as the ones I gave. I just broke them up into shorter ones so that WordPress wouldn’t line-wrap them and they would be easy to ready and copy. 🙂 I haven’t made the move to 20.04 yet, but good to know nothing on that front has changed. Cheers.

  5. @Tim: Yes and no.
    Yes: The commands are the same as you say (in fact, I extracted them from you), and yes, you broke them to make them shorter.
    No: The folders (and hence, paths) are not the same; in short: from “~/.local/share/Steam/” to “~/.steam/steam/”. At least in my case.
    I could have just point it out, but I guess, it’s easier and clearer if I just write the whole commands, so you anyone can just copy and paste.
    Greetings.

  6. Style, on my 18.04 system ~/.steam/steam is a symlink to ~/.local/share/Steam/. So both end up at the same place (~/.local/share/Steam/). Is it different on your 20.04?

  7. @Tim: In my system, there’s no “Steam” folder, so no ~/.local/share/Steam/ path.
    I have to add, just in case, that I installed Steam app from Ubuntu repository, not from Steam webpage. So idk if that makes some difference.

  8. Style, that’s interesting. The Steam website directs me to download steam_latest.deb from repo.steampowered.com. One would think that would be the same thing as gets installed by issuing the command sudo apt-get install steam-installer in the terminal. If you don’t have ~/.local/share/Steam/ then could it be that you installed Steam without sudo? If so, then you may have installed steam for single-user use only, and not for multi-user use, which would explain the absence of something in ~/local/share/. I’ve written and use software that launches and interacts with the Steam client — and prefer to do that as a different user with restricted privileges — so I always install Steam with sudo. Can’t remember the last time I installed it any other way. 😉

  9. @Tim: Installed with sudo. Well, actually I installed it from Software Center “Discover” (I’m using Kubuntu). But, it obviously asked for my password to install. Would that make a difference?
    Plus, I want to add that I’m the only user in my system. I guess it shouldn’t ‘matter’ in the subject, but I’m still saying it, just in case.

  10. Try using only this in your new custom webkit.css …works great to make the video much bigger on the game pages. few hours of noodling with studying the elements on the steam pages and experimenting with the css…..Enjoy…Nick

    —–webkit.css snip start——-
    #game_highlights {
    width: 1600px;
    /* This sets the width of the entire highlights section,
    video and image on the right */
    }

    #game_highlights .leftcol {
    width: 1276px;
    /* This set the width of the left side column that holds the video
    The video will scale up to fit.
    leftcol.width + rightcol.width needs to be less than game_highlights.width */
    }

    #game_highlights .rightcol {
    width: 324px;
    /* This sets the width of the right side column that holds the image
    and user feedback info. The width of this in the sample page
    that I worked from was 324 pixels = 324px, reference page “Roki” */
    }

    —–snip end——-

  11. Nick, personally I don’t “Autoplay videos” when exploring my Discovery Queue. Since 99.99% of the games are not to my liking, 99.99% of the videos are of no interest either, so there’s no point me playing them, wasting bandwidth and decreasing the responsiveness of Steam in the process. If something looks interesting I prefer to play the video full screen. So, the game_highlights changes are not something I want to make to my setup, but perhaps something others will be interested in. Thanks for sharing!

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