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Disability Resources & Educational Services

Mac OS X: Zoom

Mac OS X Snow Leopard Zoom is a built-in screen magnifier for Mac OS X. It can magnify a screen up to 40x its normal display size. Zoom will benefit users who require the contents of the screen to appear larger.

Turning On Zoom

Zoom may be turned on by pressing or by pressing Option + Command + 8. Zoom may also be turned on in the Universal Access panel of System Preferences:

  1. Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, and click Universal Access. (Alternatively, click on the System Preferences icon OS X System Preferences icon in the dock.)

  2. Click on the Seeing tab.

  3. Check the radio button labeled On in the Zoom section (Figure 1).

  4. If desired, click on the Options... button to configure zoom options, such as how the screen follows the cursor or to set a scroll-wheel zoom modifier (See Zoom Options).

Screenshot of OS X Universal Access Seeing options

Figure 1. OS X Universal Access Seeing options. Check the On radio button (circled above) to enable Zoom.

How To Know That Zoom is Working

By default, OS X does not give any indication that Zoom has been enabled.  If the option to Show Universal Access status in the menu bar is enabled in the Universal Access system preferences, a marquee will appear next to the Universal Access icon in the menu bar stating that Zoom is on (Figure 2).

Screenshot showing the Zoom marquee in the  menu bar

Figure 2. Zoom Marquee.

Turning Off Zoom

To turn off Zoom, check the Off radio button in the Zoom section of the Universal Access system preferences or by pressing Option + Command + 8. Note: The scroll-wheel modifier specified in the Zoom options will continue to function even if Zoom is turned off.

Zoom Options

Zoom has several options that may prove useful, including setting rapid zoom, configuring how the screen will follow the mouse, and what modifier key to use with the scroll-wheel to manipulate the zoom level (Figure 3).

Screenshot showing the Zoom options panel

Figure 3. Zoom options.

For More Information

To read more about Zoom for OS X, click on the following links: