Mac OS X screen zoom FAQ: Is there a way I can zoom in and zoom out my Mac screen (iMac, MacBook, MacBook Pro)?
Yes, you can "zoom in" or "zoom out" your Mac screen. I found this out by accident recently, and now I really appreciate this zoom feature, as many default font sizes on web pages are too small for me. I especially like this zoom feature for writing blog posts like this one, where I zoom in to make the font size very large, so I just focus on what I'm writing, without any other distractions.
If you're using a Mac (iMac, Mac Pro, whatever) with a “normal” keyboard and a mouse with a mousewheel, just press and hold the
[control] key, then scroll the mousewheel up and down, and you'll see what I mean. The entire Mac screen zooms in and out, just like the "software zoom" on a digital camera.
To summarize, here are the Mac screen zoom commands:
Zoom In: Press the
[Ctrl]key and scroll up with the mouse.
Zoom Out: Press the
[Ctrl]key and scroll down with the mouse.
You can also zoom in and zoom out your screen on a MacBook Pro (or MacBook). Again, hold down the
[ctrl] key, but this time take two fingers and swipe upwards on the trackpad area to zoom in, then use your two fingers to swipe downwards to zoom out.
This is very cool. A lot of times I'll find myself making text larger in Firefox by changing the font size (
+ to make the font larger,
- to make it smaller), but I prefer this Mac zoom-in/zoom-out approach.
As one note related to this, my old MacBook Pro is still running Mac OS X 10.5 ("Leopard"), and this Mac zoom in/out feature isn't implemented as well as it is in Mac 10.6 ("Snow Leopard"). It still works okay, but it behaves a little differently when you want to scroll a page.
I just bought an Apple Magic Mouse for use with my iMac, and you can use it to zoom in/out just like you can use a mouse with a scrollwheel. Just hold down the
[control] key, then slide your finger to the top or bottom of the mouse, and you'll zoom in and out just like you would with a mouse scrollwheel.
If this tip doesn't work for you by default, take a look at your System Preferences settings. On Mac OS X 10.9 (and possibly 10.7 and 10.8), I find it easiest to search for the word “zoom” inside of the System Preferences dialog, then go to the Accessibilities option that lets you click the checkbox that needs to be clicked.
In the following image, the “1” indicates that the first step in the process is to search for “zoom”, and then the “2” shows the checkbox that needs to be clicked:
Once you click the “Use scroll gesture with modifier keys to zoom”, you should find that the zoom-in, zoom-out feature works as I’ve described here.
On Mac OS X 10.6.x, follow these steps to set this preference:
In that panel there will be a setting that says, "Zoom using scroll wheel while holding ...", and then you can select which key to use. Mine shows the "^ Control" key. This preferences panel is shown in the following image:
This screen may be a little different on newer Mac OS X systems, but I've loaned my new MacBook Pro to a friend, and can't look at it at the moment.