The Personal Blog of Lennart Koopmann _

How to Make a Small Raspberry Pi Display Look Better

A whole ecosystem of additional hardware around the popular Raspberry Pi platform has formed over the recent years. One popular type of add-on is small displays that cover the size of a Raspberry Pi, often even featuring touch-screen functionality. These displays significantly improve your Raspberry Pi for many use-cases and have become very affordable, like this one for just about $30.

A problem I encountered was that my display was working very well when used for the Raspberry Pi desktop mode but did not produce very readable text when in console mode.

Hard to read font on a Raspberry Pi HDMI display

In this post, I am describing how to adapt the terminal font settings to look good on a Raspberry Pi running Raspbian.

The fix

We can change the command line font settings by changing the configuration of the console-setup package:

$ sudo dpkg-reconfigure console-setup

A GUI wizard will guide you through five steps:

The configuration wizard

Choose the following options:

  • Encoding to use on the console: UTF-8
  • Character set to support: Guess optimal character set
  • Font for the console: TerminusBold
  • Font size: 16x32 (framebuffer only)

The new settings will apply after you complete the configuration wizard and terminal text on your display should now be much easier to read:

htop on the calibrated display settings
vim on the calibrated display settings

Feel free to play around with the different font options offered in the configuration wizard to find a configuration you like the most.

The settings are saved and survive a restart.