Blogging the News
This Week in Elder News: 21 March 2009


EDITORIAL NOTE: Virginia DeBolt (bio) writes the bi-weekly Elder Geek column for Time Goes By in which she takes the mystery out of techie things all bloggers and internet users need to know to simplify computer use. She has written several books on technology and keeps two blogs herself, Web Teacher and First 50 Words.

Zoom, zoom, zoom. No this isn't a car commercial. I'm going to tell you how you can zoom in your browser.

Zoom in a browser enlarges text. Sometimes it even enlarges the images, depending on the browser. If you go to a web site and the text is so damn small you need eyes like Superman to read it, you don't need to give up and leave. You need to zoom.

I want to explain a way to zoom in Firefox first, because it has a good add-on to help you. Then I'll get into the other browsers.

If you don't have Firefox, you can download it free. When it's installed, use it to visit the NoSquint add-on download page.

Download and install NoSquint. You'll probably need to restart Firefox.

NoSquint allows you to adjust the default text zoom level, and remembers the level per site. The first time you visit a site, the text zoom is 100%. If you change that to 110% or 120% or whatever you need, NoSquint remembers it the next time you go to that site and you automatically see it at the proper size.

In Firefox (and in many other browsers) zoom is under the View menu.


Select View > Zoom and then the zoom option of your choice. Full Zoom In makes everything bigger. Full Zoom Out makes everything smaller. Text Zoom In and Text Zoom Out only change the text size, not everything else on the page, too.

Even if you don't have the NoSquint add-on in Firefox, you can still zoom using that menu. It just won't keep track of how much zoom you like for each site you visit.

Even though Firefox is the better browser, I'm sure many of you are using Internet Explorer. When you get into the topic of zooming in Internet Explorer, the issue becomes "which version of Internet Explorer."

In Internet Explorer 7, the zoom feature is found in a magnifying glass icon at the bottom right corner of the browser window.


Click the magnifying glass and pick your level of zoom. If you need to enlarge text quite a bit, you may end up having to scroll horizontally to read the whole page. The next time you visit the site, you'll have to start over from 100% again.

There is a setting in Internet Explorer that will enlarge all the text, all the time, in every site you visit.

  • Open Internet Explorer
  • From the Tools menu, choose Internet Options
  • Select the Advanced tab
  • Under Accessibility, deselect the following option: Reset zoom level to 100% for new windows and tabs
  • Click OK

Internet Explorer 7 will then preserve your settings in the future.

Internet Explorer 8, which will be available soon, will use something called "adaptive zoom." When you enlarge the text in Internet Explorer 8, you won't get the horizontal scroll bars, the text will expand in size, but it will wrap accordingly so you can simply scroll vertically down the page as usual.

If you use Safari, look in the View menu. Safari uses the terms "Make Text Bigger" and "Make text smaller" instead of the word zoom, but it's the same thing.


If you like to use keyboard commands, pressing both the Ctrl key and the plus sign key at the same time will enlarge text on a Windows computer. On a Mac, press the Apple key (Cmd) and the plus sign key at the same time. To make text smaller, it's the minus key, as in Ctrl - (Cmd - on a Mac).

[At The Elder Storytelling Place today, James J Henry Jr recalls his childhood days at GrandMom's House.]


I lOVE this useful feature on TGB. I learn something each time it is posted.

Yikes! I downloaded it and now I like it! Does this mean that I am getting older...seems so.


I downloaded it a few days ago when Virginia's column arrived in my inbox. I love it too and use it every day.

Gee, thanks for the great info!

Thanks for the tip! I downloaded Zoom for Firefox and I'm sure I will like it.

Great information.
Just downloaded it myself.
One day could you please address those, "You're the 1,000,000th visitor" Winner blinking "things"
I never click on them thinking it's a scam. Thank you for such good advice.

Good post, Virginia! May I add for the benefit of Mac/Safari users, you can add the 'zoom and de-zoom' buttons to your toolbar: Go to View, select Customize Toolbar and follow the directions. So quick and handy to use!

@liloldme Yes, I think they are a scam, too. I stay away from them as well.

@marja-leena Thanks for the additional helpful tip.

Great! Thanks for the info and link -- Virginia and Ronni.

Those of us w/ ARMD will LOVE this! Thanks for the hint. I added it to my Firefox.

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