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Screen Magnification

Operating Systems | Magnification Programs | Magnification & Speech

Making the graphics and text on the screen larger can be helpful for students with learning disabilities and/or visual impairments. With total screen magnification, everything on the screen is enlarged: toolbars, menus, windows, etc. There are several ways to magnify items on the screen.


Operating Systems

One place to find screen magnification options is within your computer operating system. The following are suggestions as to where on your computer to find these "built in" enlargement options.


Windows Computers

Control Panel: Display Options
On a Windows-based computer system, the entire display interface is customizable. Sizes and colors of window titles, scroll bars, borders, menu text, icons, and other elements can be adjusted. High-contrast schemes and mode make it easier to see screen objects.

Display Options

To adjust the display:

  1. Choose Start
  2. Choose Settings
  3. Choose Control Panel
  4. Choose Display
  5. Choose Appearance
  6. Select a large print or high contrast scheme


Accessories: Accessibility Program: Microsoft Magnifier
Microsoft Magnifier is a display utility that makes the screen more readable for some individuals with low vision. It displays a magnified portion of the screen in a separate window. You can move or resize the Magnifier window, or dock the window by dragging it to the edge of the screen. You can also alter the color scheme and contrast of the magnification window.

Microsoft Magnifier Screen Shot

To start Microsoft Magnifier:

  1. Choose Start
  2. Choose Programs
  3. Choose Accessories
  4. Choose Accessibility
  5. Choose Magnifier



Download Closeview

Macintosh Computers

Universal Access Tools
Close ViewUniversal Access Tools are utility programs that come with every copy of Mac OS 8.5 and are designed to make the computer system more accessible to individuals with disabilities. While the current version of the operating system does not allow the user to increase the size of the menus, scroll bars or mouse pointer, it does provide a magnification program called "CloseView." CloseView enables users to magnify screen contents up to 16 times.

Once CloseView is installed, the following keyboard commands facilitate its use:

  • Turn CloseView On/Off Option Command O
  • Turn Magnification On/Off Option Command X
  • Increase Magnification Option Command ­
  • Decrease Magnification Option Command ¯


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Magnification Programs

Software programs are available that enlarge the size of the text and graphics on the screen, making them easier to see and read. Other programs offer partial screen enlargement of certain areas.

Arthur's software

This is page 1 from the Living Book entitled, "Arthur's Birthday."

Magified view of Arthur's software

This is the viewable area available to a student with low vision using a magnification program set to 3X.

ZoomText Trial

ZoomText Xtra 8.0 (AI Squared)
ZoomText Xtra software consists of two product levels: Level 1 is the most advanced screen magnifier on the market!


Lunar for Windows (LS&S Group)
Lunar provides 2x to 32x enlargement with five different viewing modes.


Web Resources

Screen Magnifiers Homepage


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Magnification & Speech

Although magnification alone may make text easier to see for students with visual impairments, by adding speech to the enlarged words, reading and comprehension improves for many other students! This can be very beneficial for students with cognitive impairments, learning disabilities and visual impairments when reading information on the screen. The following suggestions provide ways to combine enlarged text with speech output.


Talking Word Processors

One way is to use a standard feature of any TWP and enlarge the size of the font from 12 pt. to a larger font, such as 24 pt. Import any text into a talking word processor, enlarge it and even change the color of the foreground and background. Then select a voice and the rate at which you want the text to read.

Screen Shot at 12 pt. type 12 pt. type
Screen Shot at 24 pt. type 14 pt. type



ZoomText Xtra 7.0 (AI Squared)
ZoomText Xtra software consists of two product levels: Level 1 is the most advanced screen magnifier on the market! Level 2 offers a fully integrated magnifier and screen reader - designed specifically for the low-vision computer user. Speaks all on-screen text, including menus, dialog boxes and controls. (Includes both large print & speech output)

ZoomText Xtra 7.0 Level 1

SuperNova (Dolphin Access Group)
This program includes all the features of LUNAR with speech. Reader/Magnifier for visually impaired computer users. It provides magnification, speech and Braille output in one package.
Windows 95/98: $845
Windows NT 4.0/Windows 2000: $1435

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