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Zoom zoom zoom

Today’s tip is simple, yet for me, critical—it’s one of the first things I do when I set up a new Mac or user on an existing Mac, as it solves a vexing issue: Small fonts that can’t be modified within an app’s preferences. As my eyes get older, these small fonts get more and more annoying.

Thankfully, there’s a fix in the Accessibility section of System Preferences, specifically on the Zoom tab: Easily zoom the screen via keyboard or gesture shortcut. Here’s the setup screen:

You can choose to use keyboard shortcuts to zoom (top section of the full screenshot), or (my preference) a scroll gesture with a modifier key. There are also some useful options in the “Zoom style” section.

The “Zoom style” pop-up can be set to either full screen (how I use it, despite what the screenshot shows) or picture in picture, which just zooms a small portion of the screen around the cursor. The Options button is worth a click,as it offers control over how the zoomed screen behaves as you move the cursor around:

I find the zoom experience best with the third option, keeping the pointer near the center of the screen. Experiment with all three, and use the one that feels best to you.

Once setup, it’s a simple matter of holding Control and scrolling my trackpad to zoom the screen. I not only use this for small text, but sometimes I use it to zoom within image editors, or on web pages. When I’m done zooming, Control and scroll again brings things back to normal.

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  1. I do something similar on iOS. The accessibility settings allows a double-tap with THREE fingers to zoom in and out. You can also double-tap and swipe with the three fingers to set the magnification level.

    1. Great tip – I do that on my iOS devices, too. (Well, not so much the iPad, but definitely the iPhone.)

      -rob.

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