How to use Accessibility's zoom feature on MacSource: iMore

You can zoom in on apps using the trackpad on your Mac laptop or gestures on the Magic Mouse, but with the Zoom accessibility feature, you can zoom in on the whole screen. You can do it with keyboard shortcuts or by using your mouse's scroll function along with modifier keys.

Here's how!

How to enable shortcuts for Accessibility zoom

  1. Open System Preferences from your Dock or Applications folder.
  2. Click Accessibility.

    Enable zoom shortcuts showing how to open System Preferences then click AccessibilitySource: iMore

  3. Click Zoom in the menu on the left.
  4. Click the checkbox next to Use keyboard shortcuts to zoom to enable the feature. The shortcuts are:

    • Toggle zoom: Command-Option-8
    • Zoom in: Command-Option-=
    • Zoom out: Command-Option- -

    Enable zoom shortcuts showing how to click Zoom, then click the Use keyboard shortcuts to zoom checkboxSource: iMore

  5. Click the checkbox next to Use scroll gesture with modifier keys to zoom.
  6. Click one of these options from the drop-down:

    • Control
    • Option
    • Command

    Enable zoom shortcuts showing how to click the checkbox next to Use scroll gesture with modifier keys to zoomSource: iMore

How to change the style of zoom

  1. Open System Preferences from your Dock or Applications folder.
  2. Click Accessibility.

    Change zoom style showing how to open System Preferences then click AccessibilitySource: iMore

  3. Click Zoom in the menu on the left.
  4. Click on one of these options from the Zoom style dropdown:

    • Full screen
    • Split-screen
    • Picture-in-picture

    Change zoom style showing how to click Zoom, then click an option from the drop-down menuSource: iMore

How to manage Zoom appearance

In macOS Catalina, the settings for zoom appearance apply to all three zoom settings: Full screen, split-screen, and picture-in-picture, with one small exception.

  1. Open System Preferences from your Dock or Applications folder.
  2. Click Accessibility.

    Managing Zoom appearance in Catalina, showing how to open System Preferences then click AccessibilitySource: iMore

  3. Click Zoom in the menu on the left.
  4. Click Advanced…

    Managing Zoom appearance in Catalina, showing how to click Zoom, then click Advanced...Source: iMore

  5. Click a movement option under When zoomed in, the screen image moves:
    • Continuously with pointer
    • Only when the pointer reaches an edge
    • So the pointer is at or near the center of the screen
  6. Click the checkboxes to enable the following options:

    • Inverting colors
    • Smoothing images
    • Flashing the screen when a notification banner appears
    • Following keyboard focus
    • Keep zoom window stationary (picture-in-picture and split-screen only)

    Managing Zoom appearance in Catalina showing how to click a movement option, then click any of the available checkboxesSource: iMore

  7. Click Adjust Size and Location if you're using the picture-in-picture or split-screen styles.
  8. Click and drag the corners of the window to change its size.
  9. Click on and drag the window around the screen to change its location. Wherever you leave it, it'll stay.
  10. Click OK in the center of the window when you're satisfied.
  11. Click OK when you're finished.

    Managing Zoom appearance in Catalina showing how to click Adjust Size and location, then click OKSource: iMore

How to customize zoom controls

Just as with appearance, the settings for zoom controls apply to all zoom styles in macOS Catalina.

  1. Open System Preferences from your Dock or Applications folder.
  2. Click Accessibility.

    Customizing Zoom controls in Catalina, showing how to open System Preferences then click AccessibilitySource: iMore

  3. Click Zoom in the menu on the left.
  4. Click Advanced…

    Customizing Zoom controls in Catalina, showing how to click Zoom, then click Advanced...Source: iMore

  5. Click the Controls tab.
  6. Click the checkboxes to enable the following options:

    • Holding Control-Option/Alt to temporarily toggle zoom
    • Holding Control-Command to temporarily detach the zoom view from the pointer.
    • Pressing Option/Alt-Command-F to toggle between full screen and picture-in-picture zoom
    • Using keyboard shortcuts to adjust the zoom window
    • Using a trackpad gesture to zoom

    Customizing Zoom controls in Catalina, showing how to click the Controls tab, then click any of the checkboxesSource: iMore

  7. Click and drag the sliders next to Maximum Zoom and Minimum Zoom to set each. You can start at 0 and magnify as much as 40x. If you hit the hotkeys to zoom in, you'll immediately zoom in to the Maximum Zoom you've set.
  8. Click OK when you're finished.

    Customizing Zoom controls in Catalina, showing how to drag the sliders for Maximum and Minimum Zoom, then how to click OKSource: iMore

How to enable and manage Hover Text

Hover Text is a feature the lets you enlarge in a small pop-up window when you hover over text while holding down the Command key with this option enabled.

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  1. Open System Preferences from your Dock or Applications folder.
  2. Click Accessibility.

    Enable Hover Text, showing how to open System Preferences then click AccessibilitySource: iMore

  3. Click Speech in the menu on the left.
  4. Click the checkbox next to Enable Hover Text.

    Enable Hover Text, showing how to click Speech, then click the checkbox next to Enable Hover TextSource: iMore

  5. Click Options...
  6. Click an option from the drop-down or enter a custom text size.

    Enable Hover Text, showing how to click Options..., then click an option from the drop-down menu or enter a custom text sizeSource: iMore

  7. Click a font option from the drop-down menu. You can use any of your installed fonts for this.
  8. Click on of these text entry location options:

    • None
    • Near current line
    • Top left
    • Top right
    • Bottom left
    • Bottom right
    • Custom

    Enable Hover Text, showing how to click a font from the drop-down menu, then click a text entry location from the drop-down menuSource: iMore

  9. Click on one of these activation modifier options to select the key that activates Hover Text:
    • Control
    • Option
    • Command
  10. Click Colors...

    Enable Hover Text, showing how to click an activation modifier option from the drop-down menu, then click Colors...Source: iMore

  11. Click the drop-downs to choose the colors for the following:

    • Text
    • Insertion-point
    • Background
    • Border
    • Element-highlight

    Enable Hover Text, showing how to click the drop-downs to select color optionsSource: iMore

How to manage speech options for zoom

In macOS Catalina, the speech options for Zoom have moved out of the Zoom menu, and into the speech menu.

  1. Open System Preferences from your Dock or Applications folder.
  2. Click Accessibility.

    Manage speech options showing how to open System Preferences then click AccessibilitySource: iMore

  3. Click Speech in the menu on the left.
  4. Click the checkbox next to Speak items under pointer to turn that feature on.

    Manage speech options showing how to click Speech, then click the checkbox for Speak items under pointerSource: iMore

  5. Click Only when zoomed in the drop-down.
  6. Drag the slider left or right to shorten or lengthen the delay between hovering the pointer over a word and when that word should be spoken.

    Manage speech options showing how to click Only when zoomed from the drop-down, then drag the sliderSource: iMore

Questions?

Got a question about Zoom on Mac? Let us know in the comments below!

Updated May 2020: Updated for macOS Catalina.

macOS Big Sur

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