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Windows 7 magnifier

Monday, December 6th, 2010 by | Filed Under: Uncategorized

Nick, from Chicago asks:

I have a Microsoft Wireless mouse. It has a magnifying glass feature, however its orientation is vertical. I don’t read text up and down and was wondering if there was a way to change the rectangle orientation to the horizontal view?

The Magnifier – A Fully Configurable Magnifying Glass Solution

Among some of the best items Microsoft puts out, their wired and wireless mice are typically of very good quality, with an extensive list of features to accommodate the much more than the two button layout that comes standard with many a Microsoft Mouse. One of the most common features is a button, usually accessible with your thumb, which enables a small, rectangular, drag-able “magnifying glass” which, as the name implies, enlarges a portion of the screen for easier viewing; particularly for those of us with high resolution monitors but low resolution eyeballs. However, many versions of Microsoft’s bundled mouse control software (which enables the magnifying glass button shortcut on your mouse) have just one standard setting for the size and magnification level of the magnifying glass available; leaving many to simply avoid using the feature as the lack of customization options leaves much to be desired from this otherwise handy tool.

Luckily, especially for those with Windows 7, there is the highly configurable “Magnifier” tool.

Found right in the start menu, under Start > All Programs > Accessories > Ease of Access > Magnifier


or by tapping the Windows Key + U to bring up the Ease of Access Control Center and selecting Start Magnifier


The Magnifier tool is built right into Windows as part of the standard Accessibility features for those who may have difficulty using certain features of a PC for whatever reason.


Under Windows 7, the Magnifier tool has added numerous options to the standard magnifying glass tool to make this a truly versatile little program.

Accessing these great features is quite simple, here’s how:

1. Zoom in/ Zoom out


After starting the Magnifier, you will see a magnifying glass area where your mouse pointer used to be, and a small rectangular box with plus (+) and minus (-) symbols atop two shiny blue buttons. Press the plus (+) button to zoom in with the magnifying area (up to 16 times percent zoom or the normal view) , and the minus symbol to zoom out. Your current magnification amount will be displayed to the right of the plus (+) button, with 100% representing no zoom, up to 1600% or 16x zoom.


To the right of the magnification amount is a text button marked Views. Press it and a drop down menu will appear with three magnification area viewing options:


Full Screen – Will stretch the magnification area across your entire screen area. Moving your mouse along the screen borders while in full screen mode will bring into magnified focus areas placed outside of the screen by this Magnifier mode; essentially making your screen one big magnification area.


Lens – This is the default view option that you will see when first starting Magnifier.


Docked – A very interesting view mode whereby a portion of your screen where your mouse is located will be duplicated on the top of the screen, in magnified form. Default size for this view mode is about a fifth of your screen, however, you can drag the magnified area edge up and down to increase or decrease the magnified area display as needed.

3. Options

Finally, to the right of the Views button is the Magnifier Options button (represented by the image of a gear.)


These Magnifier Options allow for fine tuning of the Magnifier tool, via the following options:


Set how much the view changes when zooming in or out:

This option allows for fine tuning of the magnification amount when pressing the plus (+) and minus (-) buttons. From 25% magnification to 400% magnification at each button press.

Turn on color inversion

Selecting this check box will cause anything shown within the magnifying area to be displayed with inverted colors (i.e. black areas will appear white and vice versa.) For the most part this is a novel little option which can be fun to play around with, but has little usefulness unless you prefer to read all your text in white on a dark background.

Magnifier Lens Size

Possibly the most useful option available, manipulating the two Magnifier Lens Size sliders allows for complete control of the magnifying area size; letting you adjust the magnifying area from a tiny box only large enough to hold a few words, to an area which encompasses, and magnifies, nearly the entire screen.

Those looking for a way to change the size and orientation of their mouse software magnifying glass have just found a much more robust alternative in the Microsoft Magnifier tool.

Now all that’s left to do is to change the button mapping on your mouse to start up the Magnifier, instead of the old mouse software magnifying tool, when the corresponding mouse button is pressed. You will typically find the option to re-map your mouse button controls under your mouse options found in the Control Panel in your Start menu, or in your mouse software folder usually found under Start > All Programs

Once everything is re-mapped you are ready to roll with your “new and improved” Magnifier tool!

~ J. Conboy

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