Magnifier Programs

Magnifier Programs thumbnail
Screen magnifying programs

All major operating systems include some form of screen magnification software in their accessibility settings. This software is designed to make the computer more usable for individuals with vision impairments that make the standard screen resolutions impossible to use. If you only need a magnifier, it's likely on your computer, but there are many other premium software packages available that combine screen magnification with screen readers or voice recognition applications.

  1. Windows

    • Magnifying windows
      Magnifying windows

      You will find a program called Magnifier built into Windows. You can access this program through the Accessibility menu within the Accessories list in the Start menu. It is a basic tool that will magnify any part of the screen where you place the mouse pointer. You can change the magnification level and the location of the viewing window, but you have very few other options. It is a basic, yet useful tool that fits the needs of many users.


    • Screen readers and magnifiers found in accessibility options
      Screen readers and magnifiers found in accessibility options

      Built into OS X is a program called Zoom that performs screen magnification functions for Apple. It too is part of the accessibility package of the operating system and is listed among other tools such as high contrast screen settings and a text-to-speech screen reading program. These tools are common across all major operating systems including Mac, Windows and Linux.


    • Make tux bigger with screen magnification
      Make tux bigger with screen magnification

      One of the many screen magnifier programs available for Ubuntu is Gnome Magnifier. This program has similar functions and settings common to the Windows and Mac counterparts. The biggest difference here is that if you are familiar with computer programming or have the resources to hire someone who is, you can customize this program in any way you see fit.

    Cross-Platform, Free & Open Source

    • Even FreeBSD has screen magnification programs
      Even FreeBSD has screen magnification programs

      Another customizable program is Virtual Magnifying Glass 3.4. This program is cross-platform, meaning that it can be used on Windows, Mac, Linux or FreeBSD computers. It is free, which according to the license agreement, "gives you legal permission to copy, distribute and/or modify Virtual Magnifying Glass under certain conditions." Also, this program is open source, which means that you can download the source code that was used to create the program, study it, modify it, and customize the program to suit your needs. Even without any knowledge of computer programming, this software can be used for basic screen magnification with limited settings similar to any of the others included within Windows, Mac or Linux computers.

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  • Photo Credit Daisy Under The Magnifying Glass image by T^i^ from mafnigication lens and mouse image by Sergey Pesterev from magnifying glass image by timur1970 from not speaking image by Aaron Kohr from little devil image by cat from

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