Magnification Software

An Introduction to Screen Magnification Software

If you have difficulty seeing what's on your computer screen, then you may have to consider some form of magnification. The main operating systems now incorporate magnification capability and so do most web browsers. However, when those offerings are still not enough, then you may have to resort to others means.

A number of programs such as word processors allow the user to considerably increase the size of the text in the window where the document appears. This does not affect the size in which the text is printed out. Most buttons on the toolbar (the row of small pictures at the top of the screen that can perform an operation when clicked with the mouse) can be enlarged also by choosing the right option within the program..

A number of products are available that produce an enlarged image on the computer's screen. The sizes of enlargement possible the image quality and the method of control vary.

Enlarging characters in this way always means that only a portion of the whole screen is visible at any time. Use of such software is relatively simple and is available for DOS and Windows 95/98/NT as well as other operating systems.

There are also a number of word processing packages specifically designed for use with large characters.

Magnification within operating systems and web browsers

  1. Using a mouse with a scrollwheel between the buttons such as the standard microsoft ergonomic mouse. Hold the Ctrl key on the keyboard whilst moving the scrollwheel backwards or forwards.
  2. Using a mouse with a trackball such as the Kensington Expert Pro. Hold the Ctrl key down on the keyboard whilst turning the scrollwheel ring surrounding the trackball.
  3. Using the percentage resizer in Microsoft Word 2003. Either select one of the default % or type the desired % and then press the enter key.
  4. Using the percentage resizer in Microsoft Word 2007. Select the 'View' tab and choose the 'Zoom' section. Use either the magnifying glass or go into the % sub menu.
  5. Using the scrollbar at the bottom right hand side of the program page (Microsoft Word 2007 only).
  6. Using the % magnifier at the bottom right hand side of the Internet Browser (IE 7).
  7. Enlarging the screen contents in IE 6. Unless you can 'Zoom' using the mouse as described in 1 and 2 above you only have the option of increasing the text size. Select 'View' on the main toolbar and then choose 'Text size' from the drop down list. Choose the desired size.
  8. In Vista, just hold the Ctrl key and press the + key. Press - (minus) to decrease the size again.
  9. The Firefox Web browser now has full page zoom so web page text and images are zoomed. Use the 'Ctrl' key with '+' to increase size ' ' to decrease or '0' to reset. Mouse zooming is also provided with Ctrl + mouse wheel as above.
Windows 7 magnification

More about Windows 7 Accessibility

Windows XP magnifier

Mac OS X full screen zooming feature

Point N See target magnification for Mac OS X

Point N See lets you magnify a portion of the screen to read fine print or magnify an image.

Point N See magnifier screenshot
(image source: Macupdate)

More information about Point N See . . .

Independent review of Point N See . . .

Commercial magnification packages

MAGic. Magnification with Speech. From the makers of JAWS screenreader. MAGic is fully compatible with JAWS and uses many of the same reading commands. This makes MAGic easy to use for those who already use JAWS for screen reading. Also adds visual enhancements when used in conjunction with JAWS. Read more about MAGic . . .

Offering all the benefits of a screen magnifier LunarPlus also offers added speech output to provide extra support for partially sighted computer users. For people with low vision or deteriorating sight at home at work and in education.

Key Benefits:

  • Includes supporting output to speech which can read documents web pages menus and button prompts and talk as you type.
  • Access complex websites with ease by choosing to list links headings or frames.
  • Reduce eye strain and increase the magnification during the day as your eyes become tired or to suit levels of visual impairment.
  • Choice of magnification style with many options such as split screen whole screen lens and window so you can set it up to suit you.

SuperNova. Supernova offers magnification speech and Braille support. More about SuperNova . . .

  • It includes a full screen magnifier with features such as variable magnification multiple screen management styles and a variety of colour replacement options to overcome partial sight impairments.
  • It also includes a full screen reader for people who are blind which can cope with text and Braille input together with speech and Braille output.
  • SuperNova case studies (Source:Dolphin UK website)
SuperNova V12 Introduction

SuperNova speech features

More SuperNova videos . . .

Dolphin Tutorials . . .


Zoomware packagingZoomWare by AI Squared. Apparently a replacement for 'BigShot'. Screen magnification software that magnifies and enhances everything you see on your computer screen web pages email documents menus dialog boxes everything. It's designed for those who squint at their computer screen lean forward to read emails and view web pages or complain about eye fatigue. Provides up to 2 times magnification so that hard to read text is larger clearer and easier to see. You can also apply a soft tint to white areas of the screen or reverse all colours to eliminate that familiar blinding glare.

ZoomWare suppliers:

ZoomWare Demonstration

Dixerit Plus is a professional service for automatically speech enabling of web contents. As well as as text-to-speech, Dixerit Plus also includes screen magnification and colour contrast tools, all presented through an easy-to-use control panel.


  • No downloads or browser plug-ins required to listen to pages - just click and listen
  • Fully-featured screen magnification tool to help those who may find text too small to read
  • Fully-featured colour contrast adjustment tool which helps many people, including those with dyslexia, who have difficulty reading text on a bright background
  • Real-time conversion of content to speech
  • Uses the highest quality voices
  • User can listen to entire pages, hover and click to listen to paragraphs, highlight and click to listen to specific blocks of text or listen to a list of links on the page
  • Reads many formats including HTML, PDF, plain text
More information about DixerIT . . .

DixerIT Plus in action

Magic Lens Max. A screen magnifier and display filter to zoom rotate enhance filter and capture any area or the full of screen display. With built in highly optimized resampling and enhancing filters

Magic Lens Max boasts very clear and sharp display effects to suit individual visual needs in various situations. It is also able to greatly reduce screen glare with realistic anti glare texture filters.

More information about Magic Lens Max . . .

Open Source, Free, Freeware, Shareware Programs or Demos

  • Virtual Magnifying Glass V3.3

    Image of what virtual magnifier looks like when hovered over a pageA free Open Source screen magnification tool for Windows and Linux. It is simple customizable and easy to use. Once installed and loaded the magnifier can be activated in an instant either by using a hotkey combination or by clicking on the program icon in the Taskbar.

    The magnifier is controlled by the mouse cursor. Just drag it oround the page and over whatever needs enlarging. The magnifier is easily configured by right clicking on the Taskbar icon and selecting the appropriate settings to change. You can change the size of the magnifier amount of magnification and invert the colours.

    Virtual Magnifying Glass

    Using Virtual Magnifying Glass, ZZoom and MagicalGlass:

    As with anything which is free it has it's limitations. However if you have limited funds or want something simple this is worth a try. Downloadable from:

  • DeskZoom. Free magnifier

    DesktopZoom is a zoom/magnify program with lots of options :

    • Zoom an area around the mouse, zoom a fixed window or zoom the entire desktop
    • Use the mouse inside the zoomed window
    • Use the mouse wheel or arrow keys to adjust the magnification strength
    • View the entire screen as a thumbnail in the right-bottom corner
    • Follow the caret & menu items
    • Change the colors to grey or invers the color
    • Show a bigger mouse and/or a crosshair
    • Use Alt-keys to change the zoomvalue and to enable/disable tracking and the crosshairs
    • Basic speech support

    Screenshot of DeskZoom magnification

    Note: This program only works on "Windows XP", "Windows 2000" and "Windows Vista", because it depends heavily on "transparency", a feature that Microsoft has only supported since "Windows 2000". (Info Source)

    Download DeskZoom . . .

  • iZoom.

    The iZoom Screen Magnifier & Reader. It makes viewing web pages and emails easier with SmartAlign, a technology which doesn't require you to scroll horizontally over and over to read paragraphs extending beyond the screen. You can carry your iZoom Screen Magnifier & Reader on a portable thumb drive and use it on any Windows compatible PC without administrative privileges or installation.

    iZoom screenshot

    Although most schools, libraries and public clusters prevent installation of any kind, most screen magnifiers require installation...which means you can't use a computer you want to. iZoom allows you to use any computer, anywhere without licensing or installation issues. iZoom works equally well on laptops and desktops. It's not free, but there is a 30 day demo.

  • Fatbits Magnifier

    A very fast compact easy to use and versatile FREEWARE (for non commercial use) screen magnifier for Windows 9x/ME/NT4/2000/XP/2003. It magnifies an area of the screen centered around the mouse pointer and paints the giant pixels into a small tastefully decorated window. This can be indispensable when you want to see something right down to the last pixel. Also useful as an accessibility tool. It can perform text smoothing and can modify the colors it displays to help those with color vision deficiency.
    More about Fatbits . . .
    Fatbits screenshot

  • ZoomIt.

    A screen zoom and annotation tool for technical presentations that include application demonstrations. ZoomIt runs unobtrusively in the tray and activates with customizable hotkeys to zoom in on an area of the screen move around while zoomed and draw on the zoomed image. I wrote ZoomIt to fit my specific needs and use it in all my presentations. This is Freeware. Download link to ZoomIt . . .

    ZoomIt How To Zoom In Like A Mac On Windows:

  • ieZoom.

    With febooti ieZoom it is possible to zoom in and out Internet Explorer contents change Internet Explorer window size to evaluate web page contents as they will be seen by end users in different screen resolutions. Color Picker allows to pick RGB value in decimal hexadecimal or percent format from any pixel on screen. Web page history provides basic and statistic data on web page visits.Requires 64 bit versions of windows and Internet Explorer 7 64 bit Edition. More information about ieZoom . . .

  • Lightning Magnifier with Speech.

    Image of Lightning toolbar
    (Image from ClaroRead)

    Lightning with Speech (formerly called Storm) is an integrated combination of the popular Lightning Magnifier and the Thunder Screenreader. Whatever appears on the computer screen can be magnified up to 36 times. It is easy to install and just as easy to use.
    With lightning you can magnify the entire screen or an area you choose, with a magnification strip or lens. Lightning works well with all Windows applications. You can even magnify video clips. Lightning with Speech . . .

  • NVIDIA QuickZoom. To assist with eye strain and enable ergonomic computing NVIDIA added the QuickZoom feature to ForceWare Release 60. QuickZoom allows users to zoom in on any part of their desktop by pressing a single hotkey. When enabled QuickZoom does not require an additional zoom window making it optimized for both single and multi display configurations. QuickZoom works by zooming in on either the entire display or the current grid. More information about QuickZoom . . .

  • Iconico magnifier. Free

    Version 2.4 Magnifier has the following features:

    * Totally 100% Free!
    * No popup adverts or spyware, it really is free
    * Perfect for visually impared or those with partial sight
    * Easy to use with any other program
    * Resizable magnification area
    * Auto-hide window edges allowing increased magnification area
    * Stay on top and Smooth display options
    * Choose to follow mouse or magnify as you move
    * Adjustable zoom factor, and NEW mouse wheel control
    * Overlay grid for quick alignment
    * Image capture with 10 second delay

    Magnifier runs on Windows systems: 98/NT/2000/Me/XP

    iconico magnifier screenshot

  • Lightning Express. Free magnifier

    Lightning Express is a completely free full screen magnifier for PC's running Windows XP and Vista. It is designed to offer an easily-accessible option for anyone needing screen magnification.

    Lightning Express runs directly from the internet. There are no files to install, making it ideal for use on computers that are in libraries and internet cafes or your home and work computers. After you run the program, there are some simple keyboard controls;

    Control Button on keyboard image and Plus Button on keyboard image = Zoom inControl Button on keyboard image and Minus Button on keyboard image = Zoom outPause Button on keyboard image = Turn off magnification
    More about Lightning Express . . .

    screenshot of XPscreenreader

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