Recently, I was chatting with a user who mentioned that he needed to copy images
to his photo program so he could enlarge them because he has a vision problem.
I frequently work with blind users in several user groups I support and I'm
aware that most folks who have serious vision problems have more specialized
PC equipment, such as sophisticated screen reader programs that allow them to
use the computer by having actions and text read aloud to them.
However, some people with vision problems may not realize that there are some
features that come with Windows which might help them better use their computer.
My mother is 82 and she obviously has some trouble with small text. I showed
her how she can adjust the text size in Internet Explorer to help make the text
a little larger when she's surfing the net. By clicking View/Text Size and
selecting a size larger than the default size, she's now able to read web sites
much easier than she could before.
When I was talking to this user, who has the vision problem, I mentioned that
maybe the Windows Magnifier might help him out for those occasions when
he needs larger images. He had been copying some images to his photo program
to enlarge them. But with the magnifier, he could copy the enlarged item right
to the clipboard and paste it into a Word doc to print. I thought it might be
a little faster that way? But he wasn't aware of the Magnifier! So I told him
how to find more info and he planned to check into it further.
Allow me to pass along that same info here, as it might also come in handy
for you or someone you know.
What is the Magnifier
The Windows Magnifier is an Accessibility Tool that comes with Windows.
It allows you to create a magnified area of your screen that can move around
with either your cursor, keyboard or text editing movements.
In the image below, I have the magnifier turned on. You can modify the window
size and shape and place it anywhere you want. I had it running just above my
text. This way, although the text I was typing was in a regular sized font,
I could look above at the magnified image to see the live image of my document
enlarged by whatever magnification percentage I'd selected through it's Options
There are other ways you can change the size of your screen display. You can
click Start/Control Panel/Display or Right click a blank area
on your desktop and click Properties to call up the Display dialog.
From there you can select font sizes and colors that might better work with
your vision. However, if you prefer not to change all your settings, but occasionally
need a magnified view, the Magnifier might come in handy.
Even designers might find this useful if they're working on a laptop with a
smaller screen area and occasionally need to see a larger version of a particular
area of the screen.
Granted, you can experience some flakey behavior with the Magnifier, particularly
with graphic programs, as it generally seems to work best with text applications.
But if you need to enlarge your view, you might give it a shot.
How to Access the Magnifier
The Magnifier is part of the Accessibility Tools in Windows. If you didn't install
it originally, then you'll need to add it before you can turn it on.
To see if you have it installed, click Start/Programs/Accessories. If
you've installed any of the Accessibility Tools, you will see a listing
for the Accessibility group.
If you don't see it installed, you can install it by going to Start/Control
Panel. Open the Add/Remove icon and click the Windows Setup tab.
Choose the Accessibility option and click Details. From there
you can select or unselect items you'd like added or removed from your system
How it Works
The best way to find out all the details about the Magnifier is to check the
Windows Help Files. Click Start/Help (or Search on XP systems)
and type in Magnifier. There you'll see several listings with details.
Read through each short Help section to learn how the Magnifier works.
It may not be the best thing since sliced bread, but if you know someone who
could occasionally use a little help, I'm sure they'd appreciate knowing that
the Magnifier is available for them if they want to use it.