How to magnify the screen in Windows Vista

This page explains step-by-step how to use Magnifier, the built-in magnification feature in Windows Vista.

Note: The 'Ease of Access Center' has replaced 'Accessibility Options' (which was used in earlier versions of Windows) in the 'Control Panel' of Windows Vista. For more information, read the Introduction to the Ease of Access Center.

Video how to guide

Text version

Magnifying the screen in Windows Vista

Turn on and customise Magnifier

Step 1: Use Magnifier now

Open the 'Ease of Access Center' window by pressing the Windows key + U, or by clicking the 'Start' button, followed by 'Control Panel', then 'Ease of Access', then 'Ease of Access Center'.

Under the 'Quick access to common tools' header, click 'Start Magnifier', as shown in Fig 1, or press Alt + G. This will start the magnifier for current use.

Fig 1Detail from 'Ease of Access Center' window

Step 2: Set Magnifier to start every time

Follow these steps to make Magnifier start automatically when you log in.

Open the 'Ease of Access Center' window as in Step 1. Under the 'Explore all settings' header, click on 'Make the computer easier to see', or press Tab until it is highlighted and then press Enter.

Under the 'Make things on the screen larger' header, tick the box next to 'Turn on Magnifier', as shown in Fig 2, or press Alt + N to tick it. Click the 'Save' button or press Alt + S, to finish.

Fig 2Detail from 'Make the computer easier to see' window

Step 3: Customise the settings for Magnifier

When you start Magnifier, the 'Magnifier' window shown in Fig 3 appears, allowing you to customise the settings. If you don't want to change the settings, you can minimise this window by clicking on the 'Hide' button, or press Tab until it is highlighted and then press Enter.

Fig 3'Magnifier' window

If you don't want the settings window to appear each time you start Magnifier, tick the box next to 'Minimize on Startup' by clicking on it, or press Alt + N to tick it.

Step 4: Tell Magnifier where to focus

Under the 'Tracking' header, shown in Fig 4, you can set where you want Magnifier to focus.

Fig 4Detail from 'Magnifier' window

To magnify the area where your mouse is pointing, tick the box next to 'Follow mouse cursor', or press Alt + M to tick it.

To magnify the area where the pointer moves when you press the Tab or arrow keys, tick the box next to 'Follow keyboard focus', or press Alt + K to tick it.

To magnify the area in which you are typing, tick the box next to 'Follow text editing', or press Alt + T to tick it.

Step 5: Change how Magnifier appears on your screen

To increase the magnification, click the 'Scale factor' drop-down button under the 'Presentation' header (shown in Fig 5) and select the magnification level you want (up to 16x). Alternatively, press Tab until the drop-down button is highlighted and then use the arrow keys to scroll through to the magnification you want.

Fig 5Detail from 'Magnifier' window

If you want to reverse out the colours in the magnification window, tick the box next to 'Invert colors' by clicking on it, or press Alt + I to tick it.

To change the position of the magnification window, tick the box next to 'Docked' by clicking on it, or press Alt + D to tick it. You can select the position of the magnification window by clicking on the 'Dock position' drop-down button, or press Tab until the drop-down button is highlighted and then use the arrow keys to make your selection.

When you are finished, minimise the settings window by clicking on the 'Hide' button, or press Tab until it is highlighted and then press Enter.

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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