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How to Zoom Out on Your Mac: 5 Quick and Easy Methods

Explore the simplest ways to zoom out on a Mac.

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Last updated: December 11, 2023

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To zoom out on your Mac, follow one of these methods:

  1. Press the Command ⌘ + (minus) keys simultaneously.
  2. Place two fingers on the trackpad and move them apart.
  3. Hold down the Control ^ key and swipe two fingers down on the Magic Mouse surface.
  4. Hover your cursor over text to zoom in on specific screen elements.
  5. Use Mission Control to view all open windows in a zoomed-out way.

I used to squint at my Mac screen, trying to fit everything in view. Then I learned to zoom out. It’s a great way to see more and shrink things down to size. In this guide, I’ll share my personal go-to methods for zooming out on a Mac. They’re quick, easy, and have really improved my screen experience.

How to Zoom Out on Your Mac

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Knowing how to zoom out can make it easier to manage your Mac screen space and view content comfortably. Below, I’ve shared 5 simple and easy methods to zoom out on your Mac.

1. Using the Keyboard Shortcuts

I find keyboard shortcuts to be the fastest and most straightforward way to zoom out on my Mac. It’s a real lifesaver when I’m in the middle of work and need to adjust my screen quickly.

Use the following Mac keyboard shortcuts to zoom in and out:

  • To zoom out on a window, press the Command ⌘ and (minus) keys simultaneously.
macbook pro command minus keys
  • To zoom in on a single window, press the Command ⌘ and + (plus) keys simultaneously.
macbook pro command plus keys

These shortcuts will work on a single screen and specific apps. I use them in my Google Docs often. But if you want to use keyboard shortcuts for zooming in and out across the whole Mac screen, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Apple menu and choose System Settings.
click the apple icon and select system settings
  1. Navigate to Accessibility and select Zoom.
click accessibility and select zoom
  1. Toggle on the Use keyboard shortcuts to zoom switch.
toggle on the use keyboard shortcuts to zoom switch
  1. Now, you can use the Option ⌥ + Command ⌘ + + (plus) shortcut to zoom in.
macbook pro command option plus keys
  1. To zoom out, use the Option ⌥ + Command ⌘ + – (minus) shortcut.
macbook pro command option minus keys
  1. To disable zoom, use the Option ⌥ + Command ⌘ + 8 shortcut.
macbook pro command option 8 keys

2. Using the Trackpad

The trackpad on my MacBook is my next go-to tool for effortlessly controlling my screen. Its sensitivity to touch allows for simple gestures like tapping and swiping, making it quick to zoom in and out.

So, if you need to zoom out on your Mac for a broader view of your work, all you have to do is place two fingers on your trackpad and move them apart. And just like that, you’ll be able to see everything on your screen.

trackpad pinch to zoom
Source: Apple

However, you must first enable the trackpad gesture to zoom your Mac screen. Here’s how:

  1. Go to the Apple menu and select System Settings.
click the apple icon and select system settings
  1. Click Zoom in the Accessibility section.
click accessibility and select zoom
  1. Toggle on the Use trackpad gesture to zoom switch.
toggle on the use trackpad gesture to zoom switch
  1. Now, you can zoom in and out by double-tapping and dragging three fingers across the trackpad.

3. Using the Magic Mouse

Your Magic Mouse is more than just a pointer, it’s a powerful tool for zooming in and out. Its sleek, buttonless design makes it easy to zoom out on your Mac. Here’s how to use the Magic Mouse to zoom out on your Mac screen:

  1. Position the cursor over the screen area you want to zoom out from.
  2. Hold down the Control ^ key on your keyboard.
macbook pro control key
  1. Swipe two fingers down on the Magic Mouse surface while holding the Control ^ key.

If you use the Apple Magic Mouse, you can activate the Smart Zoom function, which allows you to zoom in and out by double-tapping. Here are the steps to use the Magic Mouse Zoom:

  1. Navigate to the Apple menu and choose System Settings.
click the apple icon and select system settings
  1. Click Trackpad in the left sidebar and navigate to the Scroll & Zoom tab.
click scroll zoom tab
  1. Toggle on the Smart zoom switch.
toggle on smart zoom
  1. Now, double-tap with two fingers to zoom in or zoom out.

4. Using the Mission Control Feature

Mission Control is a practical tool for handling multiple windows on your Mac. Think of it as your digital command center, providing an at-a-glance view of all open windows and streamlining your workflow. While not traditional zooming, it offers a bird’s-eye view of your workspace, showing an overview of all screens for effortless task switching.

Here’s how to use the Mission Control feature on your Mac:

  1. Press the F3 key on your keyboard to activate Mission Control.
macbook pro f3 key
  1. All your windows will become smaller, and you can see everything on your screen simultaneously.
all screens in mission control on mac

5. Using Hover Text

Hover Text is a handy feature for magnifying text on your Mac. When activated, it’s like a magnifying glass at your cursor, enlarging text in a pop-up window. This makes reading small text much easier without zooming the entire screen.

Here’s how to enable Hover Text on Mac:

  1. Click the Apple menu in the top left corner of the screen and choose System Settings.
click the apple icon and select system settings
  1. Click Accessibility and select Zoom.
click accessibility and select zoom
  1. Toggle on the Hover Text switch.
toggle on the hover text switch
  1. Click the small i icon next to the Hover Text toggle switch to adjust the settings to your preference. Then, press Done.
click the small i icon to adjust the settings and press done
  1. Now, you can hover your cursor over the text and press the Command ⌘ key to zoom in on it.
hover text on mac

On my MacBook Air M2 (2022), I experimented with the Hover Text feature across different native Apple and third-party apps. Impressively, it worked on the majority of them. However, I noticed that it didn’t work with Google Docs and Google Sheets.

What If You Can’t Zoom Out on Your Mac

If you’re unable to zoom out on your Mac, try these troubleshooting steps:

  1. 🤔 Try Different Methods: If one method of zooming out doesn’t work, try another, such as keyboard shortcuts, trackpad gestures, or Mission Control.
  2. 🔧 Check System Settings: Ensure zoom functionalities are enabled in your Mac’s Accessibility settings.
  3. 🔛 Restart Your Mac: A simple restart can often resolve temporary software hiccups.
  4. 🔄 Update Your Mac: Sometimes, updating your macOS to the latest version can resolve underlying issues affecting zoom features.
  5. 💾 Reset NVRAM or PRAM: You can often fix minor glitches with display settings by resetting the PRAM or NVRAM on your Mac.
  6. 📞 Consult Apple Support: If none of these steps work, it might be best to seek help from Apple Support for a more in-depth solution.

Tips to Make Zooming Out Easier

Here are some tips to make zooming out on your Mac easier:

  1. ⌨️ Learn Keyboard Shortcuts: Familiarize yourself with Mac keyboard shortcuts for zooming. They offer a quick and efficient way to adjust your screen.
  2. 🔍 Use the Accessibility Shortcut: Enable the Accessibility shortcut in your Mac’s settings to quickly toggle the zoom feature on and off by pressing the Option ⌥ key three times in succession.
  3. 🎨 Customize Trackpad or Mouse Gestures: Tailor the gestures on your trackpad or Magic Mouse for personalized zoom control. Like I have enabled the zoom to follow the mouse cursor, adjusted the zoom window size, and changed the color filter to make content easier to see.
  4. 🖼️ Use the Zoom to Fit Option: In some apps, like Preview or Adobe Acrobat, you can use the Zoom to Fit option to quickly reduce the size of the content on the screen to fit within the window. Look for this option in the app’s View or Zoom menus.
  5. 👩🏽‍💻 Practice with Different Apps: Try using zoom features in different applications to understand how they work across your Mac ecosystem.

Zoom Out on Your Mac

Zooming out on your Mac is a simple but effective way to see more of your screen. You should pair it with other tips to make your actions better. Here’s how you can do it:

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I customize the zoom level on my Mac?

    Yes, you can customize the zoom level on your Mac. Go to System Settings on your Mac. Click Accessibility > select Zoom. Check the box next to Use keyboard shortcuts to zoom. Adjust the zoom level by moving the slider under Zoom Style. You can also enable additional options like Smooth Images or Follow Focus.

  2. How do I turn off zooming on my Mac?

    You can turn off zooming in the Zoom options in the Accessibility settings. Select Zoom from the list of options on the left-hand side of the screen and uncheck the box next to Use keyboard shortcuts to zoom. This will turn off zooming via keyboard shortcuts.

  3. Can I use these methods to zoom out on any app?

    Yes, these methods should work on any app that supports zooming. Some apps have built-in zoom options that you can customize on your own. They also have + and signs to zoom in or out.

Hashir Ibrahim

Author

I'm Hashir, a tech journalist with a decade of experience. My work has been featured in some of the top tech publications like MakeUseOf and MakeTechEasier. I have a bachelor's degree in IT, a master's in cybersecurity, and extensive knowledge of Apple hardware, specifically MacBooks. As the senior writer at MacBook Journal, I write in depth guides that help you solve any issues you have with your mac and unbiased reviews that help you make the right buying decisions.

Ojash

Reviewer

Hi there! I'm Ojash, a tech journalist with over a decade of experience in the industry. I've had the privilege of contributing to some of the world's largest tech publications, making my mark as a respected Mac expert. My passion lies in exploring, using, and writing about MacBooks, and I enjoy sharing my expertise to help others make informed decisions and get the most out of their MacBook experience. Join me as we delve into the fascinating world of MacBooks together!

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