How to magnify the screen in Windows 7

This page explains step-by-step how to use Magnifier, the built-in magnification feature in Windows 7. You can choose whether you want full-screen magnification or to just magnify part of your screen.

Note: The 'Ease of Access Center' has replaced 'Accessibility Options' (which was used in earlier versions of Windows) in the 'Control Panel' of Windows 7. For more information, read the Introduction to the Ease of Access Center.

Video how to guide

Text version

Magnifying the screen in Windows 7

Turn on and customise Magnifier

Step 1: Use Magnifier now

You can start Magnifier at any time by pressing the Windows key and '+' (plus), which is also the shortcut for zooming in.

Alternatively, 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, shown in Fig 1, click 'Start Magnifier', 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, shown in Fig 2, tick the box next to 'Turn on Magnifier', or press Alt + N to tick it. Click the 'Apply' button or press Tab until it is highlighted and then press Enter.

Fig 2Detail from 'Ease of Access Center' window

Step 3: Change how Magnifier appears on your screen

When Magnifier starts, a magnifying glass icon appears on the screen, as shown in Fig 3.

Fig 3A magnifying glass on the desktop

Click on the magnifying glass icon to open the Magnifier toolbar shown in Fig 4. You can also open this by clicking on the Magnifier icon on your taskbar, or by pressing the Windows key + T and then using the arrow keys to highlight 'Magnifier' and then pressing the Spacebar.

Fig 4'Magnifier' toolbar

To decrease the magnification, click the 'Minus' button on the Magnifier toolbar, or press the Windows key and '-' (minus). To increase the magnification, click the 'Plus' button, or press the Windows key and '+' (plus).

Magnifier features three forms of magnification, which you can choose by clicking on the 'Views' drop-down menu on the toolbar, as shown in Fig 5, or press Tab until it is highlighted and then use the arrow keys to select one of these options. Alternatively, use the keyboard shortcuts listed below.

Fig 5'Magnifier' toolbar showing 'Views' drop-down menu

Click on 'Full screen', or press Ctrl + Alt + F, to have the entire screen magnified. However, you may not be able to see the whole screen at one time; click on 'Preview full screen', or press Ctrl + Alt + Spacebar, to see which portion of the screen is being shown.

Click on 'Lens', or press Ctrl + Alt + L, to have just the area around the mouse pointer magnified. The magnification window will move to follow where you move the mouse.

Click on 'Docked', or press Ctrl + Alt + D, to have only part of the screen magnified. The magnification window will appear along the top edge of your screen.

Note: You need to be using an 'Aero' theme to use Full-screen mode or Lens mode. For instructions on changing your theme, see the How to change the colours in Windows 7 guide.

Step 4: Tell Magnifier where to focus

In Full-screen and Dock modes, you can set where you want Magnifier to focus. If you are using Lens mode, go to Step 5.

Click on the 'Options' button (the gear icon to the right of 'Views'), or press Tab until it is highlighted and then press the Spacebar, to open the 'Magnifier Options' window shown in Fig 6.

Fig 6'Magnifier Options' window in full-screen mode

To magnify the area where your mouse is pointing, tick the box next to 'Follow the mouse pointer', 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 the keyboard focus', or press Alt + K to tick it.

To magnify the area in which you are typing, tick the box next to 'Have Magnifier follow the text insertion point', or press Alt + T to tick it.

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

When you are finished, click the 'OK' button, or press Enter.

Step 5: Change the size of the magnifier lens

In Lens mode, the focus is always set on where the mouse pointer is on the screen. You can, however, change the size of the magnifier lens.

Click on the 'Options' button (the gear icon to the right of 'Views'), or press Tab until it is highlighted and then press the Spacebar, to open the 'Magnifier Options' window shown in Fig 7.

Fig 7'Magnifier Options' window in lens mode

Under the 'Magnifier Lens Size' header, click and drag the sliders to make the magnifying lens taller or shorter, and narrower or wider. Alternatively, press Tab until the slider you want to adjust is highlighted and then use the arrow keys to change the height and width. You can also do this by pressing Ctrl + Alt + R at any time.

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

When you are finished, click the 'OK' button, or 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.

Step 6: Keyboard shortcuts in Magnifier

The following keyboard shortcuts are available when using Magnifier.

  • Windows key and + (plus) - Zoom in.
  • Windows key and - (minus) - Zoom out.
  • Ctrl + Alt + F - Switch to 'Full-screen' mode.
  • Ctrl + Alt + Spacebar - Preview the desktop in full-screen mode.
  • Ctrl + Alt + L - Switch to 'Lens' mode.
  • Ctrl + Alt + R - Resize the lens.
  • Ctrl + Alt + D - Switch to 'Docked' mode.
  • Ctrl + Alt + I - Invert the colours in the magnification window.
  • Ctrl + Alt + arrow keys - Move the focus in the direction chosen.
  • Windows key + Esc - Exit Magnifier.
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