[Athen] screen magnification and Macs

Sean Keegan skeegan at htctu.net
Tue Aug 19 12:36:55 PDT 2008

> I have a low vision student needing to access Adobe PhotoShop on a Mac.

> Any ideas of a good magnification program to try? Does the Mac have

> good magnification built into the system?

You can enable the Zoom feature in OS X and it does a decent job of screen
magnification. Around 9 or 10x magnification, it starts to get a bit fuzzy
but the content is still viewable. This may be an issue with Photoshop
depending on how much the student is enlarging the photo, but is definitely
something to try.

You can enable the Zoom feature by going to the System Preferences and
clicking on the Universal Access icon. There is an "On/Off" set of radio
buttons that will enable the Zoom function.

Keyboard commands:
To zoom in: "Option + Command + =" (command is also known as the open apple)
To zoom out: "Option + Command + -"

To enhance contrast: "Control + Option + Command + ."
To reduce contrast: "Control + Option + Command + ,"

There is an Options button in the Zoom menu that will allow you to set some
options for zooming in/out as well as keyboard tracking. I prefer to enable
the "Zoom follows the keyboard focus" as this will allow you to track any
changes in keyboard focus. For example, Command + L will jump you to the
address bar in Safari or Firefox. With this option checked, your focus will
also move to the address bar.

Now, if working in Photoshop (and the student knows the keyboard shortcuts),
then the student may wish to disable this feature so that their on-screen
focus does not move away from the picture if they implement a keyboard
command. Something to try out with the student.

Also, you can set the "max" and "min" zoom levels and this will allow you to
"Jump" to the preset zoom level. You can still zoom in/zoom out using the
keyboard commands, but this is a nice feature to "jump" to a preset zoom
level. I have actually seen presenters use this feature when working with
HTML code - very handy to zoom the entire screen to emphasize specific

The other screen-magnification I have heard of (but have not tried) is
VisioVoice -
http://tinyurl.com/6p3svp . You get some additional options (multilingual
voices) and it claims to smooth the text better than the Mac OS X. If
anyone has tried this, please provide some feedback...

Take care,

More information about the athen-list mailing list