3 Ways to Zoom in Your Screen on a Mac
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3 Ways to Zoom in Your Screen on a Mac

Having trouble making out the tiny details on your Mac’s screen? Or maybe your eyes aren’t what they used to be? Whatever, the reason, it seems that you are in need of the Mac OS X’s screen zooming feature. This feature allows you to “zoom in” or “zoom out” your Mac screen. There are several ways of doing this depending on the type of Apple machine you are using.

1. iMac and Mac Pro zoom in/out commands

If you are running Mac OS X on a Mac desktop system such as a Mac Pro or an iMac and using a “normal” keyboard and a mouse equipped with a mouse wheel. Simply press the [Control] key and hold, then proceed to scroll the mouse wheel up and down and you will see the entire screen zooming in and out, similar to the “software zoom” feature on a digital camera. To summarize, here are the desktop Mac zoom commands:

zoom in out mac  

Zoom out: Press the [Ctrl] key then scroll down the mouse wheel.

Zoom in: Press the [Ctrl] key the scroll up the mouse wheel.

2. Zooming in and out on a MacBook

You can also zoom your screen in or out when using a Mac Book Pro (or Air). This time, you won’t be using any mouse, so press and hold down the [Ctrl] key, then take two fingers on your trackpad and swipe upwards to zoom in or swipe downwards on your trackpad to zoom out the screen.

zoom in out mac

Some people prefer changing the text size in Firefox on a Mac Book by using the [Command] - to make the font smaller or [Command] + to make the font larger, but the aforementioned zoom-out/zoom-in approach is a lot easier.

3. Using a magic mouse to zoom in and out

If you bought a magic mouse to use with your iMac, then it is easy to use it to zoom in or zoom out the screen just as you would with a scroll wheel. Simple press the [Control] key and hold, then slide your finger to the top or the mouse to zoom in or zoom out the screen contents.

Using the Preferences options

If any reason none of the above methods don’t work, then you need to take a look at the System Preferences in you Mac OS. In the latest versions of the OS (Mac OS X El Capitan 10.11 and possibly 10.8 and 10.7), it is a lot easier to accomplish this by simply looking for the word “zoom” inside the System Preferences dialog box.

zoom in out mac

Next, go to the Accessibility option then check the checkbox that comes before “Use scroll gesture with modifier keys to zoom.”

zoom in out mac

Once you enable this feature, you can now start using the zoom in/out features described above.

The process of activating this feature is a little different on older Mac OS X such as 10.6 and 10.5. Here are the steps you need to follow.

Step 1: Open Preferences by clicking on the Apple icon in the menu bar

Step 2: Select the Mouse icon, in the subsequent panel, you will come across a setting that says, “Zoom using the scroll wheel while holding…”, then select what key you want to use to zoom in/out.


There are also several zoom options to choose from. These include zoom style, which lets you choose between zooming the entire screen, or picture-by-picture, where you are given a window that acts like a magnifying glass to zoom any portion of the screen you select.

Sources and Citations

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    Solomen is Editor of OMG!Howto who covers technology news, how-to guides and more. Solomen uses an iOS and Android devices as well as Mac and Windows. In his free time, he often listens to Baroque music and goes swimming. Follow him on Instagram: @solomen1992


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