A customer I was recently working with was complaining that the fonts on his computer screen were too small.  If you have a similar problem, and don’t want (or cannot) set the fonts larger on your system, check these tips out.

On Mac OS X Systems

  • Press option + command + 8 to turn on the Zoom feature.
  • Press option + command + = to zoom in.
  • Press option + command + – to zoom out.

You can set the zoom factor by going to System Preferences -> Universal Access.  Click on the options button in the Zoom section of the dialog box.  You can also enable other features, such as VoiceOver.

On Windows XP Systems

Universal Access is not available on Windows XP systems, however you can use “Magnifier.”  While it does not zoom the whole screen, it will enlarge text.

  • To Start Magnifier click on Start, then All Programs, then Accessories, then Accessibility, then Magnifier.
  • You can minimize the settings box and drag the magnifier around the screen to use it.

On Windows Vista

You can utilize the Universal Access Center in Windows Vista to access the Magnifier and other functions such as narrator.

  • Click on Start, then Control Panel, then Ease of Access, then Ease of Access Center (or press Windows + U)
  • From there you can enable the magnifier and set it to start when the computer starts.  The magnifier will be at the top 1/4 to 1/3 of your screen and will track your mouse.
  • You can hide the settings dialog box by minimizing it.  The settings box allows you to set magnification levels and more.

On Windows 7 Systems

  • Click on Start, then All Programs, then Accessories, then Ease of Access, then Magnifier.  A window will pop up and the magnifier will start.
  • You can set magnification levels and modes in the “Views” menu.  There is even a full screen mode!

Hardware Options

Some manufacturers such as HP and Lenovo offer a shortcut to screen magnification.  On Lenovo (and IBM ThinkPad) laptops press Fn + Space.  Check your user guide for details.

To learn more about accessibility in Apple products click here.  To learn more about accessibility in Microsoft products click here.