How to Zoom In (and Out) on Mac

A magnifying glass.

Crisp, high-definition screens mean we want to be able to see everything in the finest detail. Even so, despite the impressive quality of modern displays, you may still have an issue with some visuals. You’ll often want to zoom in and out on Mac to get a closer look.

As such, this post shows you a few ways to zoom in and out on Mac. We’ll talk about native options and whether third-party tools can get you there.

Using the Native Options within macOS

It will come as no surprise that macOS includes many zooming options. In fact, the system is flexible, depending on your needs, and you can tailor a setup to suit your personal requirements. First, let’s take a look at the trackpad.

Trackpad Gestures

Of course, Apple’s Trackpad is a monster when it comes to navigation. Its combination of swipes and gestures to invoke actions is second to none. As such, there are also plenty of gestures for zooming.

The most straightforward way to zoom in and out on Mac is to pinch and expand as you would on your iPhone. This gives you an intuitive control over your zoom and works well enough that you don’t realize you’re making the actions most of the time.

If you try this and it doesn’t work, you may need to head to the trackpad screen within the System Preferences.

The Scroll & Zoom page in the System Preferences.

Within the “Scroll & Zoom” section, you can toggle the zoom functionality along with a number of other gestures. Another feature that will help you is Smart Zoom. Once you toggle this, you can carry out a quick double-tap to zoom in 100 percent. Another double-tap will zoom you out again.

This works for PDFs, images, within the browser, and many other places. However, it won’t work everywhere – for example, on preference panes and other system screens.

Accessibility Options

The Mac also has many accessibility options, many of which focus on zooming. This is obviously for those with restricted eyesight, although they can be handy for all users.

To find them, head to the Accessibility pane within the System Preferences.

The Mac accessibility options.

The first panel to head to here is Zoom. This gives you three options to help zoom in and out on Mac, centered around keyboard shortcuts.

The Zoom Panel within the Accessibility screen.

For example, you can toggle zoom functionality using keyboard shortcuts. You can also combine gestures with modifier keys to achieve your zooms in and out. A cool feature here is the zoom style: a way to view your zoomed element in different presentations.

Choosing a Zoom style.

There’s also hover text, which enlarges whatever you mouse pointer runs across.

Invoking hover text on Mac.

Regardless of whether you’re a user who needs extra accessibility or have a desire to take in the fine details of an image, the Mac has many ways to zoom in and out. The great news is you don’t need a third-party tool to get the job done.

In Summary

Modern displays are pin-sharp. Because of this, some users want to see everything an element has to offer. In other scenarios, it may be important for work or there’s may be an accessibility need. The great news is there are many ways to zoom in and out on Mac using native functionality. Trackpad gestures are fantastic, while the dedicated accessibility options provide useful and enhancing features too.

If you have a need to forgo the trackpad on your Mac, we have an article to help you. Will you implement any of these ways to zoom in and out on Mac? Let us know in the comments section below!

Tom Rankin
Tom Rankin

Tom Rankin is a quality content writer for WordPress, tech, and small businesses. When he's not putting fingers to keyboard, he can be found taking photographs, writing music, playing computer games, and talking in the third-person.

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