Developing DPI Aware Applications


As display technology improves, it is becoming possible to fit more pixels into the same area. This additional resolution can be used to fit more items on the screen, or it can be used to draw the same items sharply. When used for this latter application, the display is said to have increased in dots per inch (DPI), a logical value representing how densely packed with pixels a display area is.

Print media has taken advantage of high DPI technology for a long time. A document printed on a 1200-dpi printer prints the same amount of text as a 300-dpi printer, but the text is much sharper.

Windows® phones have traditionally used 96-DPI displays, but in the future they will run at higher DPI resolutions. Upgrading your application to support DPI awareness will not only ensure correct appearance on high-DPI devices, but will also prepare your application for these high-DPI advantages:

  • Sharper text – The most noticeable improvement that comes with almost no cost. Every application that is DPI aware and uses TrueType fonts inherits this improvement.
  • More detailed graphics – If steps are taken to provide high-resolution bitmaps, applications can use the increased resolution to display more detailed icons and graphics.

The following list shows the key issues to focus on when developing applications to determine the DPI of a device and take advantage of high-DPI displays:

  • Layout
  • Text and fonts
  • Images

The header file DeviceResolutionAware.h provides a series of functions that can be used to correctly display text, graphics and images on a variety of resolutions.

In This Section

  • User Interface Layout
    Describes how elements should be laid out using scaled positions and sizes, or relative to controls, fonts, or system metrics.
  • System Metrics
    Describes how to obtain system metrics that offer information about the user's system.
  • DPI Aware Text and Fonts
    Describes how OEMs should use points to specify the font size in order to create fonts for Windows® phones.
  • High DPI Images
    Describes how to manually recreate high-visibility graphics for high DPI images.
  • Multiple Images
    Describes how to scale the loaded bitmap, based on the actual DPI of the device.
  • Images in Static Controls
    Describes how Windows® phones automatically scale bitmaps in static controls on high-DPI displays.
  • High Resolution Legacy Support
    Describes how Windows® phones provide an emulation layer for backwards compatibility between older applications and devices with high-resolution displays.

See Also


High DPI Display