I can’t hear you over the sound of how small your fonts are

I’ve had it.

I sat through *another* presentation where the screen fonts and icons were so small I couldn’t tell what was going on. No, it wasn’t a Microsoft presentation, it was on a Linux box. But presenters from colleges to conferences routinely get poor marks because THEY DON’T MAKE THE SCREEN ELEMENTS BIG ENOUGH TO SEE.

So send them this. With my compliments. I’ll make as easy as possible.


Step 1:

Open whatever tool you’re using, set the fonts to a large size. For instance, in Visual Studio/SQL Server Management Studio, etc, open Tools | Options | Fonts and set them to something you can see when you walk 7 feet from your laptop:

Step 2:

Hold down the Windows Key and the Plus Key (Windows +). This brings up the screen magnifier. Move your pointer, the screen follows. To exit, hold down the Windows Key and the Escape Key (Windows Esc):

or, Step 2:

Install Zoomit.exe from here (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897434.aspx) and hold down Control and 1 (CTRL+1). The screen freezes and expands wherever your screen is. Press the Escape key (ESC) to exit:

Here’s a video (http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/make-screen-items-bigger-magnifier#1TC=windows-7). Learn the tool. It takes like 2 minutes. Seriously, practice with this for two minutes and everyone will stop beaming hatred and fury at you.


  1. Click the Apple logo in the upper left corner.
  2. Click “System Preferences.”
  3. Click the “Universal Access” icon.
  4. Click the “On” button under the “Zoom” category.
  5. Click the “Options” button.
  6. Select the “Maximum Zoom” setting.
  7. Press “Command, “Option” and the “=” keys simultaneously to zoom the screen around the mouse cursor.
  8. Press the “Command, “Option” and “-” keys simultaneously to return to normal view.
  9. Press the “Command” and “Option” keys while moving the scroll wheel on the mouse to zoom in and out, as an alternative method.

You can also find pay-for magnifiers in the iOS store.


For Ubuntu, use the CompizConfig Settings Manager, look under Accessibility for Magnifier, click on it to configure, use the hotkeys there
If you don’t have it installed, you can install it from the Ubuntu Software Center, or press Ctrl+Alt+T on your keyboard to open a Terminal, and run this command: sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager

Comments (5)

  1. Aaron Bertrand says:

    On Mavericks and Yosemite, Zoom is under System Preferences > Accessibility.

  2. JK Wood says:

    Under KDE in Linux, you can enable the Zoom effect under System Settings -> Desktop Effects -> All Effects, under Accessibility (I believe it's enabled by default though.) Interesting shortcuts are Win+= (zoom in), Win+-(zoom out), and Win+0 (normal zoom) though there are several others related to refocusing the mouse and moving with the keyboard. Zoom follows mouse by default.

  3. lkh says:

    Time to up the magnification on those glasses 🙂

  4. Dandy Weyn says:

    wait – you don't use Zoomit?

  5. BuckWoody says:

    Dandy, did you read the "or Step 1:" part? 🙂