Zoom in quickly on part of the screen in Lion
Mac Tip #501, 31 August 2011
Lion’s virtual magnifying glass is one of my favourite features. Zoom in on a portion of the screen with a simple keystroke. Here’s how.
It seems screen capture can’t get an accurate representation of the Zoom in window. I eventually had to take a photo of my screen (see below) to capture it correctly. In the video the Zoom in window displays as a grey box, and fails to show the actual text or images you’d see in real life.
Turn on Zoom in window
- Click on
Universal Accesson the first line. The Universal Access settings pane opens.
- Select the
Seeingtab. Settings for screen colors, zoom and other visual options appear.
- Check the
Zoomradio button. This enables zooming.
- Check the box beside
Zoom in window. This turns on the virtual magnifying glass.
- Click the
Options…button. A sheet appears where you can customise the behaviour of the Zoom in window.
- Check the box beside
Enable temporary zoom.
- Select other options if you wish, then click the
Donebutton and close the System Preferences window.
Now you’re ready to zoom in on portions of the screen.
If you find that experimenting with settings has given you an ‘out of control’ screen go back to Step 4 and disable Zoom then enable it again. Your screen should return to normal.
Use the virtual magnifying glass
If you want to zoom in on part of the screen move the cursor over the part you’d like to enlarge.
Hold down the
Control (⌃) and
Option (⌥) keys. The portion of the screen around the cursor is enlarged. Release the keys when you no longer need the zoom.
Customise the Zoom in window
You might have noticed after Step 7 above that there were many options for how the Zoom in window behaves. It’s probably best to experiment to see which settings you prefer.
On my machine I changed these:
- Magnification — slide the slider to a magnification that suits you. I selected
Speak items under the mouse after a delay— I like a chatty computer so I turned this on, and set the delay to slightly longer than
Adjust Size and Location— this was an important one for me as I found the magnifying glass too small. See the instructions below.
Adjust Size and Location of the Zoom in window
At Step 8 above click on the
Adjust Size and Location button. The virtual magnifying glass appears on the screen with an
OK button in the middle of it.
- Drag inside the box to move it. I have mine set to
Follow the cursor, but if yours is set to be
Tiled along edgethen you can drag it to place it where you like it.
- If you hover over the edge or a corner of the Zoom in window the cursor changes to a double-headed arrow. Drag to change the size and shape of the virtual magnifier.
OKwhen you’re happy with the changes you’ve made.
I love this new feature and use it many times each day. If you have Lion give the Zoom in window a try!
Comments and guest Tips
Do tell us in the Comments how you’ve used the virtual magnifier on your Mac.
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Credit where it’s due
This Tip was written by Miraz Jordan, http://mactips.info, and is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.