Lion Zoom

Zoom in quickly on part of the screen in Lion

Posted: 28 Aug 2011 08:17 PM PDT


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.

Please subscribe to the MacTips channel. Or just visit this video on YouTube, leave comments and rate it, as that helps spread the word about MacTips.

Turn on Zoom in window

  1. Open System Preferences.
  2. Click on Universal Access on the first line. The Universal Access settings pane opens.
  3. Select the Seeing tab. Settings for screen colors, zoom and other visual options appear.
  4. Check the Zoom radio button. This enables zooming.
  5. Check the box beside Zoom in window. This turns on the virtual magnifying glass.
  6. Click the Options… button. A sheet appears where you can customise the behaviour of the Zoom in window.
  7. Check the box beside Enable temporary zoom.
  8. Select other options if you wish, then click the Done button 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.

Zoom in window - a photo.

Zoom in window. The photo shows how it really looks. Notice how much larger the text inside the magnifier is than the ordinary web page text beside it.

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 4.
  • 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 Short.
  • 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 Stationary or Tiled along edge then 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.
  • Click OK when you’re happy with the changes you’ve made.