How to enable and use screen zoom on your Mac

By , Jun 30, 2016

Zoom on Mac picture-in-picture mode

There may be scenarios where you can’t see something on your Mac’s screen very well and having the ability to zoom in just a little bit closer to get a better look at something might be very useful.

Fortunately, OS X comes with built-in zoom features that can be enabled by the user, and in this tutorial, we’ll walk you through how to get to them and talk about what you can do with them.

Whether you see something very small in an image that you want to get a closer look at, or there’s some text on your screen that is just too small to see, you might find your Mac’s zoom feature to be an invaluable tool.

As you age, your eyes aren’t going to get any better, and the ability to zoom in will get you a closer look at something without having to strain your eyes any more than you have to.

Your Mac’s zoom feature packs a number of different keyboard shortcuts and even has more than one zoom mode, so we’ll talk a little about that in this post.

How to enable zoom on your Mac

To enable zoom on your Mac, you’ll need to go to your Accessibility settings. To do that, follow these steps:

1) Launch the System Preferences app and open the Accessibility preferences pane.

Accessibility Settings on Mac

2) Now click on the Zoom option in the sidebar, and this will bring you to all of your Mac’s zoom options.

Enable Zooming on a Mac

3) Put a check mark in the Use keyboard shortcuts to zoom checkbox so that zoom becomes enabled on your Mac.

Now that you have zoom enabled on your Mac, you’re free to try it out.

Using zoom on your Mac

There are a number of keyboard shortcuts you can use to play with zoom on your Mac. We’d suggest trying it out first on some kind of image on the web.

Some of the keyboard shortcuts you’ll want to familiarize yourself with are:

  • Toggle zoom on and off: Option + Command + 8
  • Zoom in: Option + Command + =
  • Zoom out: Option + Command + –
  • Toggle smooth image loading: Option + Command + \

For laughs, I chose to test the zoom feature on a where’s waldo image I found on Google and I zoomed right into where I found Waldo.

How to Zoom on a Mac Where's Waldo

There are also more than one zoom modes in OS X, and while I used fullscreen mode in the example above, which essentially just blows everything on on your entire Mac display, there’s also a picture-in-picture mode that works more like a magnifying glass, like this:

Zoom on Mac picture-in-picture mode

No matter the zoom method you prefer, both will get you a closer look at anything you want to lay your eyes on without having to move your head any closer to your Mac’s display.

Wrapping up

Despite the clarity of Apple’s Retina displays, when it comes to wanting to get a closer look at something, OS X’s zoom feature is a useful feature that more people really need to take advantage of.

Useful for both text and images, those with bad eyes are going to find that this tool is a god-sent feature.

Also read: How to zoom in and out of your iPhone 6s with 3D Touch

Do you use zoom on your Mac? Share in the comments!

  • Share:
  • Follow:
  • wasn’t there another shortcut?
    CTRL + Mouse Wheel afair…

    • :D

      There is – it’s the check box just under the orange box in the screenshot.

  • :D

    There is – it’s the check box just under the orange box in the screenshot