HomeWinBuzzer TipsHow to Zoom in and out on a Chromebook

How to Zoom in and out on a Chromebook

We show you how to zoom in or out on Chromebooks in single windows, across the whole system and how to use the built in magnification tool of ChromeOS.


Zooming in and out on a Chromebook is a valuable skill for enhancing your user experience, whether for work, education, or leisure. There are multiple ways you can zoom in and out on a Chromebook. Chromebooks, despite their smaller screens, are equipped with features to make content more legible and accessible. These include keyboard shortcuts, touchpad gestures, and specific tools designed to magnify small screen sections. This guide covers these methods comprehensively, ensuring you can adjust your Chromebook’s display to your personal requirements.

We understand that sometimes Chromebooks might get stuck on a particular zoom level, especially if someone else has used your device and not restored the default settings. Our guide will also address how to quickly revert to normal zoom levels or adjust magnification as necessary.

How to Zoom In and Out on a Chromebook Window Using Hotkeys

This section shows how to use hotkeys for zooming in and out within a specific window on a Chromebook. Hotkeys, or keyboard shortcuts, are an efficient and speedy way to adjust the zoom level in an active window without disrupting your workflow. Ideal for users who prefer keyboard navigation, it provides a quick solution for enhancing readability and visibility in various applications.

  1. Zoom in: Press “Ctrl + Plus (+)” simultaneously
    You can repeat pressing this hotkey until reaching a maximum zoom of 500 %. The first step zooms in by 10%, and subsequent steps increase the zoom by 25%, 50%, and 100% until the maximum zoom level is reached.
    Chromebook - Keyboard - Window Zoom In
  2. Zoom out: Press “Ctrl + Minus (-)”simultaneously
    You can repeat pressing this hotkey until to zoom out further.
     Chromebook - Keyboard - Window Zoom Out
  3. Reset zoom level to 100%: Press “Ctrl + 0″simultaneously
    If the zoom level doesn’t reset with this hotkey, press “Ctrl + Shift + 0” instead.
    Chromebook - Keyboard - Reset Window Zoom Level
  4. Reset zoom level to 100%: Press “Ctrl + Shift + 0″simultaneously
    If the zoom level doesn’t reset with this hotkey, press “Ctrl + 0” instead.
    Chromebook - Keyboard - Reset Window Zoom Level

How to Use the Built-in Zoom Controls in Google Chrome on Chromebooks

This method is particularly useful for web browsing, allowing you to magnify or reduce the size of web content easily. We’ll guide you through accessing and adjusting these controls to tailor your browsing experience. We highlight the built-in zoom controls available in Google Chrome which is the default browser on Chromebooks.

  1. Click the menu button with three vertical dots on the top right
    Chromebook - Chrome - Menu
  2. Zoom in or out using the (-) or (+) button
    Chromebook - Chrome - Menu - Zoom

How to Zoom In and Out Globally on a Chromebook

This section addresses how to adjust the zoom level globally across your entire Chromebook interface. This method is beneficial for users needing consistent magnification across all applications and interfaces, including desktop icons and system menus. It’s especially helpful for those with visual impairments or anyone who prefers a larger display across ChromeOS.

  1. Zoom in: Press “Ctrl + Shift + Plus (+)” simultaneously
    Chromebook - Keyboard - Desktop Zoom In
  2. Zoom out: Press “Ctrl + Shift + Minus (-)” simultaneously
    Chromebook - Keyboard - Desktop Zoom Out
  3. Reset zoom level to 100%: Press “Ctrl + Shift + 0″simultaneously
    Chromebook - Keyboard - Reset Desktop Zoom Level

How to Zoom Into a Screen area with the Chromebook Magnification Tool

The ChromeOS Magnification Tool is a feature designed to zoom into specific areas of your screen, which is perfect for instances where you need to magnify a small, particular section of your display without altering the overall zoom level of your system. It’s especially useful for detailed work, like editing images or reading fine print, providing a focused and customizable magnification solution.

  1. Click the clock or press “Alt + Shift + S” on the keyboard
    Chromebook - Clock Icon
  2. Click on the hamburger menu ☰ or the gear icon to open settings
    Chromebook - Clock Icon - Settings
  3. Click on “Advanced” in the Settings sidebar
    Chromebook - Clock Icon - Settings - Advanced
  4. Select “Accessibility” and “Manage accessibility features”
    Chromebook - Clock Icon - Settings - Advanced - Accessibility - Manage
  5. Activate “Enable docked magnifier”
    Chromebook - Clock Icon - Settings - Advanced - Accessibility - Manage - Enable Magnifier
  6. Choose the preferred “Docked zoom level”
    Chromebook - Clock Icon - Settings - Advanced - Accessibility - Manage - Enable Magnifier - Zoom Level

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions About Zoom on Chromebooks

Can I use zoom features in fullscreen mode on a Chromebook, such as during a presentation or video playback?

Yes, zoom features are available even in fullscreen mode on Chromebooks. During presentations, you can use standard zoom hotkeys (“Ctrl + Plus” to zoom in and “Ctrl + Minus” to zoom out) to adjust the content’s size on your screen. For video playback in fullscreen, most media players and streaming websites offer zoom or scaling options within their playback controls. These options might include stretching, fitting to screen, or zooming into the video content, allowing you to optimize the viewing experience based on your preference.

How can I improve readability of text without changing the overall zoom level on a Chromebook?

To enhance text readability without altering the zoom level, you can adjust the display settings on your Chromebook. Go to Settings > Device > Displays, and from there, you can modify the font size and screen resolution. Increasing the font size will make text larger across applications and web pages, while adjusting the screen resolution can impact the overall size of text and images on your display. These adjustments can improve readability without affecting the layout or zoom level of web pages and applications.

Is there a way to automatically adjust zoom levels based on the website I visit on a Chromebook?

Google Chrome on Chromebooks remembers the zoom level you set for individual websites, automatically applying it the next time you visit. However, there’s no native feature to automatically adjust zoom levels based on content or website type. For a more dynamic adjustment, you might consider using Chrome extensions that can automatically set zoom levels based on predefined rules or the content detected on the webpage. Extensions like Zoom Text Only allow for more granular control, such as zooming in on text without affecting the entire page layout.

How do I zoom in on apps that do not support the standard Chromebook zoom hotkeys?

For applications that don’t natively support Chromebook’s zoom hotkeys, check within the app for any built-in zoom or magnification options, often found in the app’s view or settings menu. If the app lacks such features, you can use the Chromebook’s magnification tool to zoom in on parts of your screen. Enable the magnification tool via Settings > Advanced > Accessibility > Manage accessibility features, and then select “Enable full-screen magnifier” or “Enable docked magnifier“, depending on your preference. This tool allows you to magnify specific areas of your display, providing a workaround for apps without inherent zoom functionality.

What should I do if the zoom level on a Chromebook affects the performance of web applications or games?

If adjusting the zoom level negatively impacts the performance of web applications or games, reset the zoom to its default by pressing “Ctrl + 0.” For web applications, consider using in-app settings to adjust text size or visual elements instead of the browser’s zoom function, as this can maintain performance while improving readability. For games, especially those running in a browser, adjusting the game’s own resolution or quality settings might provide a better balance between visibility and performance. Keep in mind that excessive zooming, especially in graphically intensive applications, can increase the load on the Chromebook’s processor and graphics unit, leading to potential slowdowns.

Can I zoom in on a specific text or section within an Android app on a Chromebook?

Zoom functionality in Android apps running on Chromebooks can vary depending on the app’s design and compatibility with Chrome OS. Some Android apps support pinch-to-zoom gestures on touchscreens, allowing you to zoom in on specific text or sections. If the app doesn’t natively support such gestures, you might be able to use the Chromebook’s magnification tool to achieve a similar effect. Enable the magnification tool from the accessibility settings and use it to magnify specific areas of the app. However, keep in mind that not all Android apps on Chromebooks will respond to these gestures or settings in the same way native Chrome OS apps do.

How do I manage zoom levels when using split-screen mode on a Chromebook?

When using split-screen mode on a Chromebook, you can manage zoom levels independently for each window. Adjust the zoom in each window using the browser’s or application’s zoom controls, such as “Ctrl + Plus” and “Ctrl + Minus” for web pages in Chrome. This allows you to have different zoom levels for each task, enhancing productivity and readability. If you encounter any issues with zoom levels not behaving as expected in split-screen, try adjusting the zoom before entering split-screen mode or reset the zoom levels to default and adjust again as needed.

Is it possible to adjust the touchpad settings to enable pinch-to-zoom on a Chromebook?

Pinch-to-zoom functionality on the touchpad is hardware-dependent and might not be available on all Chromebook models. To check if your Chromebook supports this feature and to enable it, go to Settings > Device > Touchpad. Here, you can find various touchpad settings, including pinch-to-zoom if your device supports it. If the option is available, ensure it’s enabled. If your Chromebook does not support this feature or if it’s not meeting your needs, consider using touchscreen gestures (if your device has a touchscreen) or the magnification tool for zooming.

How can I access magnification settings quickly without going through the entire menu path each time on a Chromebook?

For quicker access to magnification settings on a Chromebook, you can enable an accessibility shortcut that allows you to toggle accessibility features, including magnification, with a keyboard shortcut. To enable this, go to Settings > Advanced > Accessibility > Manage accessibility features, and then turn on “Enable accessibility shortcut.” Once enabled, you can press “Ctrl + Alt + Z” to toggle the magnification tool on and off. This shortcut provides a faster way to access magnification without navigating through the settings menu each time.

Can I zoom in on external content displayed through a projector or external screen connected to my Chromebook?

Yes, when you connect your Chromebook to an external screen or projector, the zoom levels you set on your Chromebook will affect the content displayed on the external device. Use the Chromebook’s zoom controls to adjust the display as needed. Keep in mind that the external device may also have its own settings, such as aspect ratio and resolution, which can further affect the display. For the best results, adjust the settings on both your Chromebook and the external device to achieve the desired zoom level and clarity.

What are the implications of using high zoom levels for extended periods on a Chromebook?

Using high zoom levels for extended periods on a Chromebook can lead to a less efficient navigation experience, as it may require more scrolling and moving around the screen to view content. It can also lead to layout issues on web pages and applications, where elements may not scale properly or may become obscured. If you find yourself needing high zoom levels frequently, consider adjusting the display settings, such as increasing font size or changing screen resolution, for a more balanced and comfortable viewing experience that minimizes the need for excessive zooming.

How do I reset all zoom levels to default across every application and webpage on my Chromebook?

Resetting zoom levels to default for every application and webpage involves a few steps. For web pages in Chrome, you can press “Ctrl + 0” to reset the zoom level to default for the current webpage. Unfortunately, there’s no single command to reset zoom for all web pages at once; you’ll need to do this individually for each site. For applications, check if there’s an option within the app’s settings or preferences to reset the zoom or display settings to default. For system-wide settings, you may need to adjust display settings back to their defaults manually in the Chromebook’s settings menu under Device > Displays.

Can zoom levels be adjusted using voice commands on Chromebooks equipped with Google Assistant?

Currently, adjusting zoom levels using voice commands through Google Assistant is not a standard feature on Chromebooks. To adjust zoom levels, you’ll need to rely on keyboard shortcuts, touchpad gestures, or manual adjustments within settings or applications. However, Google Assistant can be used for a variety of other tasks and settings adjustments on your Chromebook, such as opening applications, setting reminders, or searching the web.

Are there any Chrome extensions that offer more advanced zoom and magnification features suitable for Chromebooks?

Several Chrome extensions offer advanced zoom and magnification features that can enhance your experience on a Chromebook. Extensions like “Zoom” offer customizable zoom levels for web pages beyond what’s available through standard browser controls, including preset zoom levels for quick adjustments. “Magic Actions for YouTube” provides video-specific enhancements, such as cinema mode, which can improve the viewing experience on YouTube. When choosing extensions, consider your specific needs, such as text-only zoom or full-page magnification, and check reviews and permissions to ensure the extension is trustworthy.

Extra: How To “Split Screen” on a Chromebook/on ChromeOS

The split screen feature on Chromebooks/ChromeOS is a useful function that allows users to view and work on two windows simultaneously. This can enhance productivity and multitasking, especially for tasks that require switching between different tabs or applications. There are different ways to use the split screen feature on Chromebooks, which we are all showing in detail in our other guide.
Featured - how to split screen on chromebook

Extra: How to Take a Screenshot on Chromebooks / ChromeOS / CloudReady

The screenshot function of Chromebooks used to be limited and only accessible using a weird keyboard shortcut. That changed a a while ago when Google released a dedicated tool to capture screenshots and videos of what is visible on your Chromebook. Our other tutorial shows you everything you need to know about taking screenshots on a Chromebook.

Featured - how to screenshot on Chromebook

Extra: How to Screen Record on a Chromebook / ChromeOS

Google finally included a native screen recorder for Chromebooks in 2020, and the feature has been on the stable channel for over two years. Not to mention, Google has also created a screencast software on Chrome OS, bringing enhanced screen recording with annotation, camera view, transcription, and other features to Chromebooks. You can find out how to record the screen on a Chromebook in our other guide.
Featured - how to screen record on chromebook

Extra: How to Get Emojis on a Chromebook / on ChromeOS

On a Chromebook, emojis are not just limited to faces and common symbols. You have access to a wide range of emoticons, including kaomoji, various symbols, and even different currency signs. In our other guide, we show you how to use Emojis on Chromebooks using the mouse, trackpack, keyboard, and the on-screen keyboard.Featured - How to get Emojis on Chromebook

Last Updated on April 18, 2024 9:43 pm CEST

Markus Kasanmascheff
Markus Kasanmascheff
Markus is the founder of WinBuzzer and has been playing with Windows and technology for more than 25 years. He is holding a Master´s degree in International Economics and previously worked as Lead Windows Expert for Softonic.com.
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