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Become a Master of the Windows Magnifier – Helping You Tame Your Access Technology

Become a Master of the Windows Magnifier

Become a Master of the Windows Magnifier

The Windows Magnifier allows you to magnify items on the screen. It is part of the ease of access settings in Windows 10.

Start Your Magnifier!

The quickest way to start the Windows Magnifier is to press WINDOWS+EQUALS. Repeatedly pressing this will increase magnification. Pressing WINDOWS+DASH will decrease the magnification level. These two keyboard commands can be performed from anywhere. You can also get to the windows magnifier by searching for it in the start window. Just type … you guessed it, “Magnifier”! Once open, you can click on zoom in or zoom out to increase or decrease magnification respectively.

Those are the basics, but there is a lot more to change in the settings if you want or need to.

Windows Magnifier Settings

From the Magnifier window, you can click on “Views” or “Options”.

The views menu has three options: Full Screen, Lens, and Docked. Most prefer the Full Screen view.

  • Full Screen is the default view and magnifies the entire screen. You cannot see the entire screen with this option enabled. You will move your mouse around to see everything. I generally recommend moving in a grid pattern, left to right, top to bottom, especially if you are new to an application. Remember the larger your magnified level, the more you will need to move your mouse around to find everything you want.
  • Lens View is like a little magnifying glass. Here you have a bubble of magnified screen. You can change the size of the lens in settings—more about that later.
  • Docked View anchors the Magnifier to the desktop. When you move your mouse around, part of the screen is magnified, but only at the bottom, leaving the rest of the screen in normal unmagnified view.

The main area for magnification settings can be accessed by clicking on “Options” or by pressing CONTROL+WINDOWS+M. Remember that these settings are saved automatically—you do not need to click on any save or OK buttons.

  • Zoom level: Change the default amount of magnification when you turn on Magnifier. This is also the same as clicking on the zoom in/out buttons in the Magnifier window.
  • Zoom level increment: Change the amount by which Magnifier zooms in and out. I recommend setting this to .25. This means that as you raise or lower your level of magnification, you will move by a quarter magnification power (1.25, 1.5, 1.75 …), rather than by a full magnification level (1x, 2x, 3x …). Hey, I don’t think I could have used magnification more in one sentence if I tried—sheesh!
  • Start Magnifier after sign-in: Turn on Magnifier automatically after you sign in to your PC.
  • Start Magnifier before sign-in for everyone: Turn on Magnifier for everyone before they sign in to your PC.

 

 

  • Invert colors: Reverse the colors on the screen (i.e., from white background with black text to black background with white text). Note that this is based on your color settings and may vary from application to application. Sometimes reversing colors can make text easier to read or reduce glare. You can also press CONTROL+ALT+I from anywhere, so you don’t have to enter settings just to change this one option.
  • Image and text smoothing: Make the edges of magnified text appear smooth when you zoom in.
  • Collapse to magnifying glass icon: Collapse the Magnifier toolbar to a magnifying glass icon. To show the Magnifier toolbar, click on the magnifying glass icon.
  • Choose Magnifier view: Select the default view that Magnifier uses when you turn it on. If you select lens view, you can also change the size of the lens.
  • Have Magnifier follow:
    • Mouse cursor
    • Keyboard focus
    • Text insertion point
    • Narrator cursor

These four options magnify the surrounding area if they are on when these items are in use. As an example, if insertion is checked, the magnified view will focus more on the text insertion cursor’s area as you are typing.

  • Keep the mouse cursor:
    • Centered
    • Within the edges of the screen.

By default, the mouse is kept in the center to make it easier to locate, but you can change this drop-down box to “edges” so that the mouse cursor will just be kept within the boarders of the window in focus.

  • Pin magnifier to start: This allows you to pin the magnifier icon to the start window for quicker access, though if you are using the keyboard to turn on the windows magnifier, this should not be needed.

Use Magnifier with a Touch Screen

Here’s a quick list of tips and tricks for using windows magnifier on a touch screen.

  • To zoom in and out, tap on the PLUS (+) and MINUS (-) symbols on the corners of the screen.
  • To move around the screen, drag along the borders of the screen in full screen view.
  • To instantly zoom out and see where you are on the screen, tap with one finger on opposite borders of the screen simultaneously.
  • To close Magnifier, tap the “Close” button.

 

Windows Magnification Keyboard Shortcuts

I highly recommend you practice and memorize a few of these because it will prevent you from losing your place in whatever you’re doing just to change a setting or two. Remember that you can always get a complete list of shortcuts by clicking on “keyboard shortcuts” in the magnification settings.

Press this key To do this
Windows logo key  + Plus sign (+) Turn Magnifier on
Windows logo key  + Esc Turn Magnifier off
Windows logo key  + Plus sign (+) or Minus sign (-) When Magnifier is on, zoom in or out
Ctrl + Alt + mouse scroll wheel Zoom in and out using the mouse scroll wheel
Windows logo key  + Ctrl + M Open Magnifier settings
Ctrl + Alt + arrow keys Pan in the direction of the arrow keys
Ctrl + Alt + I Invert colors
Ctrl + Alt + F Switch to full screen view
Ctrl + Alt + L Switch to lens view
Ctrl + Alt + D Switch to docked view
Ctrl + Alt + M Cycle through views
Ctrl + Alt + R Resize the lens with the mouse
Shift + Alt + arrow keys Resize the lens with the keyboard
Ctrl + Alt + Spacebar Quickly see the entire desktop when using full screen view
Windows logo key  + U Open the Ease of Access Center
Windows logo key  + Ctrl + C Turn color filters on or off

 

We Made it!

I hope you found this interesting. I wrote this article because I have a lot of customers that are not familiar with the power that windows magnifier now has. Now you can wield it for yourself. Until next time… Say it with me… Qapla!

2 Comments

  1. WebFriendlyHelp
    6 Feb 2019

    So glad you got some good tips out of it! That makes it all worth it! 🙂
    Make it a great day!

  2. All this talk about wielding the power reminds me less of Star Trek and more of King Arthur, or Harry Potter or something, but I’m gonna echo that “Qapla!” anyway cuz you taught me a thing or two here – and I use Magnifier every day!

    I didn’t know about those Ctrl + Alt shortcuts, and a couple of those are gonna be a huge help! In particular the Ctrl + Alt + Arrow keys will be helpful on websites with menus that open on mouse hover. Moving the mouse around in the way you described tends to make a lot of those pop up and hide what you really wanted to see. So to be able to move the magnified area without using the mouse is a feature I’ll definitely be using. The Ctrl + Alt + Mouse wheel is pretty cool too!
    The Geek on Skates recently posted…Three weeks crammed into one…

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