SMALL TEXT, NO PROBLEM.
Welcome to a short guide on how to control zoom in Google Chrome. The Internet, a digital sea with millions of websites full of information… But sadly, not everyone has a good sense of usability design and set a font size that is way too small on their website.
The unknowing folks will just squint, or even go back to the old school method of using an actual magnifying glass. Please don’t. There are easier ways to control the zoom level and font sizes in Google Chrome – Read on to find out how!
ZOOM METHODS & FONT SIZE
All right, let us not move into the various ways to set the zoom level in Google Chrome, and how to change the default font size for better legibility.
1) ZOOM WITH KEYBOARD & MOUSE
Zoom features are actually built directly into Google Chrome, but for some reason, it is not really upfront and kind of hidden inside the menus. So firstly, one quick way to zoom is to use keyboard and mouse shortcut keys:
- Press and hold the
CTRLkey, then turn the mouse scroll wheel up to zoom in.
- Vice-versa, turn the mouse scroll wheel down to zoom out.
- If you want to reset to the original zoom, press
Also after zooming, you will notice that the hidden zoom controls will appear to notify you of the current zoom level.
You can also use this menu to help you zoom, but it will hide after a couple of seconds.
2) ZOOM USING THE KEYBOARD ONLY
If you are using a mouse without a scroll wheel, it is also possible to zoom using the keyboard shortcuts only:
+to zoom in.
-to zoom out.
3) ZOOM MENU CONTROL
You can also control the zoom level from the menu. Simply hit the ⁝ button at the top-right corner, and the zoom controls are right there on the menu.
4) SETTING THE DEFAULT ZOOM LEVEL
Now, it is all cool to manually zoom in and out using the keyboard and mouse. But the problem of manually doing so is that it only applies to one site… You will have to manually zoom in every new website that you visit. To save time and make things a little more convenient, we can actually set a default zoom level in the Chrome settings.
Press the ⁝ button at the top-right corner, then go into settings.
Under the appearance section, there is a page zoom setting. Simply change this to however much you need, and that’s it. Every page that you visit will default to zoom in at your new preset level.
5) SETTING THE DEFAULT FONT SIZE
Following up on the above default zoom setting, you might have already noticed that there is also another default font size setting. Some of you guys might be wondering – What the heck? Wouldn’t zoom already enlarge the font size? Well yes. But please do take note of the difference between setting the zoom level and font-size:
- Setting the zoom level – This will effectively affect (it rhymes!) everything. Zoom will enlarge everything on the webpage itself – Text, images, videos, and all other media.
- Setting the font size – This will only enlarge the text. The images, videos, and other media remain untouched.
Some of you guys may be wondering again, why did the developers go through all the trouble to separate both and add to the confusion? Because simply zooming in will enlarge everything. The images and videos may become too annoyingly big instead, and it breaks the original layout of the webpage.
On the other hand, changing the font size will only affect the size of the text. This increases the legibility but retains the images and videos at a comfortably large size. So yep, I will personally recommend changing the default font size only.
6) MAGNIFYING GLASS EXTENSION
What if we only want to magnify a certain part of a webpage? Sadly, Google Chrome does not have the ability to zoom into a selected area only. But thankfully, Chrome is also a very flexible browser in allowing extensions – Or installing plugins to add on to Chrome’s functionality.
Simply install this Magnifying Glass extension from the Chrome Web Store, press
Z to bring up the magnifying glass. There are several other extensions if you do a “magnifying glass” search on the Web Store.
P.S. For you guys who are worried that extensions are “illegal hacks” – Nope. They are officially supported, and the Chrome web store is run by Google themselves.
7) ZOOM ON THE ANDROID
On mobile Chrome, we can easily do pinch zooms. But some websites will disable that pinch-zoom to retain the layout of their page. Here is how we can override it and enable zoom regardless.
Press the ⁝ button at the top-right corner > Settings > Advanced > Accessibility. The settings on this page should be pretty self-explanatory. Change the text size to however much you need, and check “Force enable zoom”.
That’s all for this guide, and here is a small section on some extras and links that may be useful to you.
EXTRA) FULL-SCREEN MODE
As a small final extra, you can press the
F11 button to engage full-screen mode in Google Chrome (press
F11 again to exit). While this does not zoom or enlarge in any way, it does reduce a lot of clutter and maximizes the screen area for web browsing.
LINKS & REFERENCES
- Change text, image, and video sizes (zoom) – Google Support
- Google Chrome shortcut keys – Computer Hope
- The ultimate Google Chrome Zoom guide – gHacks.net
Thank you for reading, and we have come to the end of this guide. I hope this has helped you to better understand, and if you have anything to share with this guide, please feel free to comment below. Good luck and may the cyber force be with you.
W.S. Toh is a senior web developer and SEO practitioner with over 10 years of experience in building websites. When he is not secretly being an evil tech ninja, he enjoys doing photography and working on DIY projects.