My eyes aren’t what they used to be and sometimes I go to Web sites like the New York Times and can’t read what’s on the screen. It’s so darn small! How can I make the text bigger on my Windows laptop?
If you’re running Windows, odds are pretty good that you’re also running Microsoft Edge, the highly capable new Web browser that (finally!) replaced Internet Explorer a few years ago. Internet Explorer was one of the most hated browsers in the history of the Internet, and for good reason, so if you’re still using MSIE, please, please upgrade to something else. You’ll thank me. And a great choice is Microsoft Edge, as I said; it’s fast, easy, well designed, and free to download if you don’t already have it on your system.
In terms of the size of text, there are a couple of ways to solve this common problem. One that’s really easy is to simply zoom in on the page while you’re in Edge or whatever other browser you prefer. Typically there are keyboard shortcuts, so that’s all you need to remember. The problem is that it can also mess with the page layout or cause you to scroll horizontal as well as vertically to read content, and that’s a pain. The second option is to use a great assistive technology baked into Windows called “Magnifier”, which works as a sort of digital magnifying glass on anything on the screen, whether it’s text, an image, or even the background of a photo you’re viewing.
Let’s start with the easier one, though. And to do that, let’s start with the New York Times home page:
No surprise you find that text small – the page is designed to emulate the print edition, not be easy to consume on a screen.
Look on the very top right, however, and you’ll see three dots in a row: “•••”. Click or tap on that to pull up a customization and preferences menu:
I’ve left the pop-up tip as that shows you the keyboard shortcut. Either click or tap on the “+” to zoom in everything on the page, or try the keyboard shortcut of pushing both the Control and “+” keys simultaneously. Everything gets bigger!
Let’s check out the Magnifier feature too, so you can decide which you prefer.
To launch Magnifier, simply search for it in the Start/Cortana search box:
A quick search for “magn” got me to the right place. Again, a tap or click (this time of the app shown on the right) and the entire display zooms in to 2x its original size:
Where this gets really confusing, however, is that as you move the cursor towards an edge the entire screen starts to scroll, so it can be pretty tricky to get things centered as you prefer. But notice that little floating window for Magnifier. Turns out it has some interesting controls over and above its magnification:
First off, move the magnification back to 100% so your screen snaps back to its normal state. Now off the “Views” menu, choose “Lens”, as shown. This is where it gets interesting: it’s a rectangle you can move around on the screen that zooms in whatever’s in its region. Want to zoom a lot? Try a 300% magnification. Or, more mildly, just 200%:
With just a little bit of experimentation, you can find the settings that are best for your needs and what’s great about Magnifier is that it works at the display driver level so it magnifies everything on the screen, whether it’s a pop-up menu, an image or even a streaming movie you’re watching from Netflix or similar. Done? Go back to the Magnifier window and choose Quit from the gear menu.
Hope that helps you more easily navigate through your Windows experience, whether it’s reading the small print on the NY Times home page or anything else online.