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To See Or Not To See

Having just bought my first pair of reading glasses, I am newly sympathetic to my students who have asked me how to make the print on their computer screens larger.

I hear you.

Enlarging print (and images) is a function of the “Zoom” command, which on most programs is located under the “View” menu at the top of the screen. Click “Zoom” and select a new magnification from the fly-out menu. Or, if the View menu has separate “Zoom In” and “Zoom Out” choices, click one or the other.

Choosing a setting greater than 100% (Zoom In) will make the content on your screen appear larger. Choosing a setting less than 100% (Zoom Out) will make the content appear smaller.

Some programs also have a zoom slider bar in the lower right hand corner of the window; by clicking the slider and dragging it to the left or to the right, you can change the screen magnification in small increments.

When changing your screen’s magnification, please note that:

  • Increasing the magnification (Zoom In) will typically reduce the amount of overall content on your screen, requiring that you use the vertical and horizontal scroll bars to navigate around the page.
  • Your new screen magnification may or may not stay at that size when you close that program and re-open it later.
  • You will need to change the magnification for each individual program; magnifying your internet browsing screen will not also magnify the content on your Microsoft Word screen.

Please — and this is really really important — do not confuse changing screen magnification with changing font size; these settings can appear to have the same effect but they are vastly different. “Zooming In” is like putting on reading glasses to see fine print. Changing the font size — which will alter the look of the finished document — is like changing to a large-print book.

To see or not to see? See!

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