The Fastest Way to Change Screen Size

There are multiple ways to increase or decrease the size of text and images on a web page or computer application screen without changing the monitor resolution. But which way is the fastest?

The obvious solution is to navigate to the Tools menu (Internet Explorer 9) and open the Zoom menu…


… or open the Zoom menu by clicking the Zoom button in the Zoom group in the View tab in the Ribbon (Microsoft Office Word 2010) …


… but both take a minimum of three clicks of the mouse. The next option is to manually change the zoom level using the Zoom Tool in the status bar (Internet Explorer 9) …


… or to manually change the zoom level using the slider control in the status bar(Microsoft Office Word 2010) …


… both of these take two clicks, which is faster… but is there a faster way?

A well-known trick is to use keyboard commands. By pressing and holding the CTRL button on the keyboard and then pressing the plus (+) button, you can zoom in. Alternatively, you use the CTRL button with the minus (-) button to zoom out.


There are some potential issues with this method:
 1. You have to remove your hand from the mouse to perform the action.
 2. You often have to press the plus or minus key multiple times to get the desired result.
 3. This method only allows you to zoom in or out 25% at a time

And most importantly, this method only works in internet browsers. It does not work in Microsoft Word, Outlook or Excel.

So what’s a person to do?  Fortunately there’s a time-saving trick that works in any program. By holding down the CTRL button on the keyboard while scrolling up (or down) with the wheel of the mouse you can zoom in (or out).

mouse-scrollSome of the benefits of this method are:
1. Your hand can stay on the mouse to perform the action.
2. It requires one swift scroll of the mouse wheel instead of multiple clicks.
3. This method allows you to zoom in or out 10% at a time.

One Final Tip: If you’re using the mouse wheel method in your internet browser to zoom in or out and you accidentally end up at a 300% or 10% zoom level, save your screen with this handy keyboard shortcut that will take you right back to 100% zoom level: CTRL button + zero (0) button.


-Kelly Marshall,
Director of Communications,
Sector Learning Solutions


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