Windows provides a very useful tool called Magnifier which allows you to enlarge different parts of the screen. You will be able to see the whole screen more easily by using different magnification levels and types of views. In this article you will learn how to open this tool, how to use it, configure it to fit your needs and, finally, how to set it to start at your computer startup.
NOTE: Magnifier is available in all editions of Windows 7 with the exception of Windows 7 Starter. In Windows 8, it is available in all editions.
How to Open the Magnifier in Windows 8
In Windows 8, go to the Start screen and type the word magnifier. Then, click or tap Magnifier.
You can also use the Control Panel and go to Ease of Access -> Ease of Access Center. There, click or tap Start Magnifier.
If you are interested in learning the location of its executable, look for the Magnify.exe in the "C:\Windows\System32" folder.
How to Open the Magnifier in Windows 7
One way to open the Magnifier is to go to "Start -> All programs -> Accessories -> Ease of Access-> Magnifier".
Another way is to type the word magnifier in the search box of the Start Menu and choose Magnifier.
Last but not least, you can also use the Control Panel. There, go to Ease of Access -> Ease of Access Center and click Start Magnifier.
How to Use the Magnifier
When the application opens, your screen is automatically zoomed in by 200%.
The Magnifier in Windows 7 looks similar to the screenshot below.
In Windows 8, the screen is set to high-contrast and, as a result, the Magnifier looks a bit different.
However, the buttons and options displayed are identical in both operating systems.
After you've open the Magnifier, if you don't use it for 5 seconds, its interface will change to a magnifier, as you can see below. Click on its center to go back to the previous form.
You will notice that two buttons are available to adjust the level of magnification("+" for zoom in and "-" for zoom out). Adjust the zoom to fit your needs.
Next, choose the type of view you want to use. Click or tap Views and select one of the three types: Full Screen, Lens and Docked.
In the Full Screen view, your entire screen is magnified to the zoom level you have set. This is the default view type.
In the Lens view, the region around the mouse pointer is magnified. You will notice that, when you move the mouse pointer, the region of the screen that's magnified moves along with it. See the picture below to get a better understanding.
The Docked view enables you to magnify only a portion of the screen, leaving the rest in a normal state. You can control the region of the screen that is magnified with the mouse or with your finger (on touch devices).
NOTE: In Windows 7, the views Full screen and Lens are available if only Aero is enabled and you used a theme that supports Aero. Otherwise only the Docked view will work. This limitation does not apply to Windows 8.
How to Customize the Magnifier
To customize the Magnifier, click or tap the Options button.
Then, choose what you want to modify:
- Turn on color inversion - increases the contrast between the items on the screen, which can help make your screen easier to see. This setting is enabled by default in Windows 8 and disabled in Windows 7.
- Follow the mouse pointer - displays the region around the mouse pointer in the Magnifier window.
- Follow the keyboard focus - displays the area around the pointer when you press the tab or arrow keys.
- Have Magnifier follow the text insertion point - displays the area around the text that you're typing.
The slider allows you to set how much the view changes while zooming in or out. The minimum is 25% and the maximum is 400%.
When you are using Lens view, the Options window allows you to move the slider to adjust the size of the Magnifier Lens, as shown below.
When done making your settings, click or tap OK, so that they get applied.
How to Set the Magnifier to Start at Startup
If you need to use the Magnifier on a regular basis, it is best to set it to run at each Windows log on. To do this, open the Control Panel and go to "Ease of Access -> Ease of Access Center".
In the "Explorer all settings" section, click or tap the "Make the computer easier to see" link.
In the next window, scroll down until you find a section that says "Make things on the screen larger". There, check the box next to "Turn on Magnifier" and click or tap OK.
When you restart the computer, the Magnifier starts automatically. To disable it from starting up automatically, follow the same procedure and uncheck the box for "Turn on Magnifier".
Useful Keyboard Shortcuts
If you are a fan of keyboard shortcuts, I would like to share a list of useful shortcuts for the Magnifier:
- Windows logo key + Plus Sign(+) or Minus Sign(-) - zoom in or out;
- Ctrl+Alt+Spacebar - show the mouse pointer;
- Ctrl+Alt+F - switch to full-screen view;
- Ctrl+Alt+L - switch to lens view;
- Ctrl+Alt+D - switch to docked view;
- Ctrl+Alt+I - invert colors;
- Ctrl+Alt+arrow keys- pan in the direction of the arrow keys;
- Ctrl+Alt+R - resize the lens;
- Windows logo key + Esc - exit the Magnifier.
As you can see from this article, the Magnifier is a friendly and easy to use application. It is very useful for PC and tablet users with sight deficiencies or for the elderly. If you have other tips to share about using this application, don’t hesitate to share them via the comments form below.