A FREE Screen Zoom and Annotation Tool

Windows 7 (and XP and Vista) has a display utility available, called ‘Magnifier’, that you can use to make the screen more readable. I recently needed such an utility to zoom in on my HTPC (Home Theater PC) screen when browsing the internet. You can get to this utility from the Start Menu (Start>Accessories>Ease of Access) or by typing “magnify” in the “Run” box on the Start Menu or by hitting the “win+plus button” on your keyboard. You have option of various zoom levels available and you can perform a full screen zoom, a region (or lens) zoom or a docked zoom.

Windows Magnifier

The Windows version of the zoom tool is nice; however, my preference for the Home Theater setup is a portable app called ZoomIt.

ZoomIt is 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.

ZoomIt works on all versions of Windows and you can use pen input for ZoomIt drawing on tablet PCs.


The feature I like the most about ZoomIt is the customizable hot keys. In my Home Theater setup where you need to quickly enlarge the screen, you can zoom in and zoom out, by hitting a few keys on the keyboard. I especially like the ‘LiveZoom’ feature where the screen can be magnified and the screen will move with the mouse. ZoomIt is a great visual aid and enhancement tool for computer users.


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4 thoughts on “A FREE Screen Zoom and Annotation Tool

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  1. I have grown to hate the Win 7 magnifier in my lab. Somehow, the students activate it (there must be a keyboard shortcut that’s close to one we use alot like Shift+Alt+D) and I don’t know how to deactivate it. Right click doesn’t work, escape fails, double click the margin–no go. The dialogue box is nowhere to be found. I end up rebooting. How does one get out of it?



    1. Jacqui,

      This may be helpful. In Windows 7, to exit from the magnifier, hit the “Windows Logo + Esc” keys. I do not know if that works for other versions of Windows or not. Also, here is the full set of hotkeys for the magnifier:

      Press this key To do this
      Windows logo key + Plus Sign or Minus Sign Zoom in or out
      Ctrl+Alt+Spacebar Preview the desktop in full-screen mode
      Ctrl+Alt+F Switch to full-screen mode
      Ctrl+Alt+L Switch to lens mode
      Ctrl+Alt+D Switch to docked mode
      Ctrl+Alt+I Invert colors
      Ctrl+Alt+arrow keys Pan in the direction of the arrow keys
      Ctrl+Alt+R Resize the lens
      Windows logo key + Esc Exit Magnifier


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