Mac OS X lets you zoom in and out on your screen with ease

By SteveJack

Ever want to peer at something a little more closely, but don’t want to stop, change display properties to a lower resolution, look at whatever it is, then change display properties back to your normal resolution? You don’t have to – if you have at least Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar.

Due to the amount of emails we continue to receive about zooming in OS X, we’re covering this zoom feature again today for those that missed our previous coverage.

Mac OS 10.2 introduced a lovely new Zoom feature designed for people who need the ability to zoom in and out at will, which covers pretty much all of us:

[Command,Option,8] toggles Zoom on and off. That’s “Apple, Option, Eight” in English.
[Command,Option,=] zooms in, centering on the cursor position when Zoom is on. “Apple, Option, Equal Sign”
[Command,Option,-] zooms out. “Apple, Option, Minus Sign”

That’s it! And it zooms waaaaaaaaaaaaay in. Try it. It will zoom out to your display’s current resolution, as you would expect. If you move the cursor while “zoomed” in, you will scroll around the screen. By the way, it’s a neat trick to play on a fellow Mac OS X user – just jump on his or her machine when they’re not looking and zoom really far in, leave it that way and watch them try to figure it out. More options for other accessibility capabilities are in the “Universal Access” pane of System Preferences.

SteveJack is a long-time Macintosh user, web designer, multimedia producer and a regular contributor to the MacDailyNews Opinion section.

[UPDATE: 3:08pm EDT: Fixed author byline and description. Thanks, Lou Grant.]


  1. Great for high def p0rn.

    Zoom right in for the details, makes it easier to work up your nerve if you know in advance it’s ugly and smells like dead fish.

    Now all we need is a “smello vision”

    La phew!

  2. I’ve played with this feature many times, but I just learned something new. If you have two monitors, the zoom of the one monitor spans both monitors. Kind of a cool effect.

    A more fun prank to play on your fellow Mac users is to hit Cmd-Opt-Ctrl-8, which turns on inverse colors. (Hit the same combo again to return to normal.) Fun, fun, fun.

  3. The best part about this feature is that you can assign mouse buttons to the keystrokes (if you have a mouse with too many buttons, like I do) My mouse has a button above and below the scroll wheel, which I’ve set to zoom in and zoom out. Effortless and incredily useful. If you have extra mouse buttons I suggest trying it. It’s much better than the uses that come as default, IMHO.

  4. This is news?

    Is this “MacDailyTips” now?

    So this is an MDN article? Don’t we usually get an attribution?

    Anyway, the tip is valid. I use zooming with a wireless keyboard: When I chat, I am halfway across the room. At my desk with a mouse, I simply make my chat window a small horizontally rectangular shape, then I zoom into it, centering and resizing as needed. Then I can go chat from my comfy TV chair, 15 feet away from my Mac, wirelessly.

  5. At work, i’ve often been heard saying “Fscking Windows” under my breath for no apparent reason…

    this is because there is no way to do this in Windows while i am constantly doing this on my Mac.

    also, no screen capture function worth a dogshit in Windows that handles video playback frame capture is another reason it happens.


  6. Speaking of this trick with the Mighty Mouse (just hold down the control and use the scroll ball to zoom in and out as mentioned above), you can also do this with other mice with scroll wheels once the new MightyMouse software is installed on your Mac. The only problem is… I haven’t been able to find the MightMouse software installer anywhere but with the MightMouse (the software that came with my wireless MightyMouse).

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