Screen zooming used to show content on TV and Panther new zoom options

When you want to show something on screen to many people, having a 12″ iBook might not be ideal. But there is a way around this shortcoming : using an Apple AV Cable, you can use your computer to show your screen on a TV (some other Mac portables have this option as well). This helped me when I wanted to show pictures to my family using iPhoto. But I also wanted to give titles to those pictures, and make sure names and places would be written correctly, so I asked my aunt to proofread as I wrote. Given the poor resolution of the TV, it was impossible for her to read, but using screen zooming, I managed to make it possible. Using two key sequences, I was able to zoom in to the rename box in iPhoto, and zoom back to full screen where our pictures were displayed as big as possible (filling the photo frame in iPhoto).

I’ll introduce key concepts to Screen zooming as well as the new options that appeared in Panther.

Setting screen Zooming

Settings to activate screen zooming are found in the Universal Access panel of System Preferences. This panel is meant to provide a mean for people with divficulties to make a better usage of their computer, but is loaded with options useful to everyone as well. Buttons to activate the screen zoom and modivy its options are located under the Seeing tab.

Clicking the Zoom Options button, you’ll get a panel like this :

Screen zooming options window

Maximum Zoom is the amount of magnification when you first zoom in and Minimum Zoom is the amount when you first zoom out. Notice that as the panel says, you can hold the zoom keys to go past these values, but this will be slower, as you magnify 1x more each time keys are pressed. You can view these settings as a preferred zoom level you’ll be able to get quickly (pressing the keys once).

When I was working with iPhoto on a TV screen, I tried divferent Maximum Zoom values until the rename photo box would fit just fine on the screen, and kept the Minimum Zoom at 1x. This helped me zooming in correctly with one key sequence and going back to full screen with one key sequence as well. Before zooming to something, the mouse cursor has to be placed on this object first, so zooming will happen directly to this object. You’ll also notice how much the a direct zoom to a higher value (instead of getting an incremental 1x zoom each time keys are pressed) created a much cooler effect on screen !

New options in Panther

When you’ll try zooming without further changing the options, you’ll notice that the zoomed portion of the screen move to follow the cursor, and as you move fast with a high zoom level set, you might have some divficulties getting where you want to go on screen. This is where the new Panther options are useful.

New zooming options in Panther

The only option available in Jaguar (implicitly available - there was no option), was moving continuously with pointer. You might prefer moving only when the pointer reaches an edge, as you’ll have a screen that remains stable until you “push” the frame to one side or one corner. There is also the option to move so the pointer is at or near the center of the image, which produce similar effects than the first option, except focus will stay precisely under the mouse

Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.