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Apple Mac OS X tips and tweaks

Date: 28th December 2010

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Increase the font size with a keyboard shortcut

Computer screens are getitng bigger and with Apple Mac display sizes of up to 27in you might think that this would make text easier to read on the screen. However, the resolution of displays is also increasing too and this means more pixels on the screen packed closer together. This enables applications to squeeze more text into the window. The net result is that text isn't that much easier to read on a big screen than a small one. You can just fit more on it. At the other end of the scale, screens are decreasing in size too and the new MacBook Air has an 11in screen. This means small text. If your eyesight isn't perfect you might be struggling to read it, especially when an application uses a small font size. Fortunately, you can increase the font size and make text on the screen more readable with a simple keyboard shortcut. It doesn't work in all apps, but it is useful when it does.

To access the keyboard shortcut, hold down the Command key, then Shift, and then the plus key all together. The font size will step up a size. Press it again and it grows even more. Try it in Safari - it works well. To shrink the text back down to normal size, hold down Comand and Shift and press the minus key.

This is not a system shortcut provided by OS X and it is implimented by applications. It means that an application can choose to provide this service or not, which means it sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. It works in Apple applications though and if you are viewing a website in Safari or a message in Mail you can press Command+Shift+Plus to increase the font size.

Sometimes it works, but not in a global way as in Safari and Mail. For example, in a word processor like TextEdit for example, it doesn't increase the size of all text. Instead, it increases the font size of the currently selected text. Select something and then hit the hotkeys to see the effect. In iWeb it will increase the font size of the currently selected text box.

It is a useful shortcut to learn, but you do need to experiment in each application to see if it works and what item or object it works on.

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