How to magnify the screen in Gnome 2.2

This page explains step-by-step how to use Orca, the built-in magnification and screen-reader features in Gnome for Linux.

Video how to guide

Text version

Magnifying the screen in Gnome 2.2

Turn on and customise Magnifier

Step 1: Set the Orca magnifier to start every time

Note: You will be required to log out and log back on to apply the changes here. Be sure to save and close any open documents.

Click on 'System' in the menu bar, then 'Preferences' and then 'Assistive Technologies' to open the 'Assistive Technologies Preferences' window shown in Fig 1. Alternatively, press Alt + F1 and then use the arrow keys to move to 'System', then 'Preferences', then 'Assistive Technologies', and then press Enter.

Fig 1Detail from 'Assistive Technologies Preferences' window

The box next to 'Enable assistive technologies' should be ticked. If it is not, tick it by clicking on it, or press Alt + E to tick it.

Click the 'Preferred Applications' button, or press Alt + P, to open the 'Preferred Applications' window, shown in Fig 2.

Fig 2Detail from 'Preferred Applications' window

Under the 'Visual' header, click on the drop-down button and select 'Orca with Magnifier', or press Tab until the drop-down button is highlighted and then use the arrow keys to select 'Orca with Magnifier'.

The box next to 'Run at start' should be ticked. If it is not, tick it by clicking on it, or press Alt + R to tick it.

Click 'Close' or press Alt + C to return to the 'Assistive Technologies Preferences' window shown in Fig 1.

Finally, click on the 'Close and Log Out' button, or press Alt + L, to apply the changes and reboot the desktop with the new settings. If the 'Close and Log Out' button is not enabled, click the 'Close' button or press Alt + C. If necessary, you may then need to log out and then log back on again for your changes to take effect.

Step 2: Turn the Orca magnifier on or off

Click on 'Applications' in the menu bar, then 'Universal Access' and then 'Orca Screen Reader and Magnifier', as shown in Fig 3. Alternatively, press Alt + F1 and then use the arrow keys to move to 'Applications', then 'Universal Access', then 'Orca Screen Reader and Magnifier', and then press Enter.

Fig 3'Applications' drop-down menu

When Orca starts, the Orca toolbar (shown in Fig 4) will appear on your screen.

Fig 4Orca toolbar

Step 3: Customise the settings for Orca

In the Orca toolbar, click on the 'Preferences' button, or press Alt + P, to open the 'Orca Preferences' window. Click on the 'Magnifier' tab, or press Tab until any of the tabs is highlighted, then press the left or right arrow keys until the 'Magnifier' tab is brought to the front, as shown in Fig 5.

Fig 5Magnified detail from 'Orca Preferences' window showing the 'Magnifier' tab

Use the mouse or press Tab and then use the arrow keys to adjust the various settings. For a detailed guide to all of the settings options, see the Gnome Documentation Library's Magnifier Page.

Click 'Apply' or press Alt + A to make your changes take effect. When you are happy with your changes, click 'OK' or press Alt + O to finish.

Note: If this does not work it could be because your computer settings cannot be changed due to local IT policies - contact your local IT support for further help.

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