With one notable exception, Mac OS X Lion is a hit here in paradise. Once downloaded, Lion installs in less than half an hour (in less than 10 minutes on a freshly wiped disk drive).
The new iPad and iPhone-inspired gestures take some getting used to. One near casualty from Apple’s new found love of touch is one of my absolute favorite keyboard and mouse combos. Zoom.
Where Did Screen Zoom Go?
In Snow Leopard, a full on screen zoom could be accomplished with a simple Control-key and mouse combination. Press the key, swipe up or down, and the whole Mac screen zoomed in on the mouse pointer.
Lion brings a bunch of new swipes and gestures for Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad and MacBook notebook trackpads, some of which are fun and all, others not so much.
Someone at Apple made it difficult to use Lion for the simplest and easiest way to zoom into a spot on the Mac’s screen. If you upgraded to Lion, your settings may have made the transfer. If you did a fresh install of Lion, you may have to turn those zoom settings back on.
With Lion we’re given a number of new ways to zoom in (and out) on a screen, none of them easy, few of them memorable (unless you enjoy remembering painful keystroke combos) on Apple’s new magical swipe and pinch devices.
For example, the Finder has a nice zoom feature built in to the Menubar.
It’s called Zoom. Try it, if you dare.
That’s not the zoom you’re looking for. Move along.
Open up System Preferences and click on the Universal Access button in upper right corner. This is Apple’s new fangled zoom.
These zoom options are relatively easy to implement, but not to use. Click the Zoom button to on. Now you have additional keystroke options to invoke zoom in and zoom out.
Option-key, Command-key and the plus or minus buttons. Three keys. In concert. Worse, the zoom isn’t smooth. It’s jerky and jumps in and out. Options give you more zoom capability, but difficult to find is the simple, elegant Control-key swipe up or down to zoom in and out.
What if you want to view just a small portion in a close up mode? Lion’s Zoom in Window will do that, but it’s all or nothing. So, here’s the trick. Open System Preferences, click Universal Access, click the Seeing tab, then click the Options in the Zoom section. At the bottom of Options is Use Scroll Wheel With Modifier Keys To Zoom. Click it on and you’re good to go, the old fashioned way.
Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad don’t have scroll wheels, of course, but they’ll still zoom in when you turn on that option.
Another way to zoom in is Iconfactory’s Xscope, which we recommend for graphic designers. But it’s not a casual loupe and a bit convoluted for simple zoom in and out. For free, there’s Point N See, a simple Mac app that pops up a small window which lets you zoom into a point on the screen.
This zoom works nicely, comes with extra controls including a Control Panel to accompany the larger Display Window, which shows a magnified and moving view of the screen area around your mouse pointer.
You can even add crosshairs to the Display, show or hide the Display Window, and choose four levels of magnification.
And, of course, the Display Window can be dragged anywhere around your Mac’s screen.
But instead of an easy to find and use Control-key swipe to zoom in on your Mac’s screen, Lion brings us a convoluted, multi-step process with more keys, and a less elegant function (to be fair, Lion supports a simple zoom function called Smart Zoom for Magic Mouse, and a two-fingerd Smart Zoom for the trackpad, though the zoom is less useful than the older method, which you have to dig around to find).
While Point N See is handy, and free, it’s many extra steps beyond an elegant zoom solution. It’s better to dig into System Preferences and turn the old zoom back on.