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Windows 7 tips and tweaks

Use the Magnifier to zoom in on the screen

Each version of Windows has had a Magnifier tool and it has been around for ages. It can be used to magnify a portion of the screen and zoom in to make it bigger. There are two obvious reasons why you might want to do this and one is if your eyesight is poor. You can enlarge the screen, or a portion of it, so you can see what you are doing.

The other reason for using the Magnifier is if you want to work on something very small in a program that has a limited zoom facility, or if you need pixel-perfect accuracy. The Magnifier in Windows 7 is the best yet and it is worth trying out.

Hold down the Windows key and press the plus key on the numeric keypad at the right of the main keyboard. That's just one way to invoke Magnifier and you can, of course, click the Start button, select All Programs, Accessories, Ease of Access, Magnifier.

Once Magnifier is started, you can hold down the Windows key and press plus on the numeric keypad to zoom in further or the minus key to zoom out. (If you start Magnifier with Windows + Plus Key, you have to let go before you can use Windows + Plus Key to zoom in futher.)

Windows 7 MagnifierThe Magnifier program alternates between a window with a toolbar and menu and a magnifying glass icon.

Click the icon to switch to the window. If you can't see the Magnifier window or icon, it'll be hidden underneath a window, so minimise the other windows on the desktop to see it.

Magnifier can operate in a window that is like a magnifying glass that you move around the screen, or it can work full screen.

When it is in full screen mode you will only see part of the screen because you'll be zoomed in. Move the mouse to the edge of the screen to scroll it and see the rest.

The Magnifier window has plus and minus buttons for zooming in and out. On the Views menu you can choose from Full Screen (Ctrl+Alt+F), Lens (Ctrl+Alt+L), and Docked (Ctrl+Alt+D).

Try each option by pressing the shortcut keys and see which one suits you best.

Windows 7 MagnifierThe Gear icon in the toolbar accesses the options dialog. The slider at the top is for adjusting the amount of zoom in and out when either the hotkeys or the plus/minus buttons are clicked.

Colour inversion switches colours to the opposite and it could be useful if the contrast isn't suitable - try it and see.

There are options for the zoom window to follow the mouse and so on.

You may have seen a different options dialog to the screen shot and the options are different for each view.

Set the view to full screen and the magnification to 1:1, in other words, no zoom to see the options dialog here.

To see the alternate options dialog, select Lens on the View menu and then click the gear icon. You'll now see controls that enable you to adjust the size of the magnifier window.

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