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How to Make Text Larger on Your Phone, Tablet and Computer

by on June 15, 2017
in Tech 101, Computers and Software, Software & Games, Productivity, Phones and Mobile, Mobile Apps, Android Apps, iPhone/iPad Apps, Tips & How-Tos :: 0 comments

Whether you're suffering from eyestrain or increasing age-related farsightedness, there are times when being able to increase the size of the text on your phone, tablet or laptop makes all the difference. Fortunately, it's easy to enlarge text without increasing the size of your screen. Here’s how you can make your smartphone, tablet and laptop more readable.

How to make text larger on Macs, iPhones and iPads

Zoom feature on iOS devices

iOS devices

On your iOS device, you can make many of the same adjustments you have access to on your laptop or desktop machine. You can invert colors, adjust text contrast, zoom or enlarge text.

To display larger text in various apps, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Larger Text, then turn on “Larger Accessibility Sizes.” You can also drag the slider on that page to adjust the overall font size. Under Accessibility, you can toggle on and off Bold Text or Increase Contrast to reduce transparency and darken colors, all of which may make reading the screen easier on your eyes.

To invert the colors, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations, and select Invert Colors. To reduce the brightness of the colors (don’t confuse this with screen brightness), go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations, and turn on Reduce White Point. From there, you can reduce the intensity of bright colors from 25 percent to 100 percent.

To magnify your entire screen, use the Zoom function located under Settings > General > Accessibility > Zoom. Once you’ve enabled Zoom, you can double-tap three fingers to zoom, drag three fingers to move around the screen, or double-tap with three fingers and drag to change zoom.

Not large enough? Adjust the maximum zoom level anywhere from 1.2x to 15x. To adjust the zoom region, select between “Full Screen Zoom” and “Window Zoom.” To zoom on text or a text insertion point while typing, turn on Follow Focus. The area immediately around the area you select will become magnified while the keyboard remains visible. (Tip: Unlike Touch Bar, you can use Zoom with VoiceOver.)

macOS Sierra computers

On devices running macOS Sierra, access a feature called Zoom to enlarge the content on your screen. To use Zoom, go to System Preferences > Accessibility > Zoom.

From there, you’ll need to enable some shortcuts to take advantage of Zoom. One unique function is the ability to zoom in wherever your cursor is located. Check the box for “Use scroll gesture with modifier keys to zoom,” and then select either the Control, Option or Command key as your shortcut button. For example, if you selected the Control key, whenever you place your cursor, you’ll hold the Control key and drag two fingers up or pinch two fingers open to zoom in, or drag two fingers down or pinch two fingers closed to zoom out on your trackpad.

Other settings include “Smooth images,” which makes zoomed images appear smooth; “Zoom follows the keyboard focus,” which magnifies the area that has the keyboard focus; and “Zoom style,” where you can adjust the minimum and maximum magnification settings, how Zoom will follow the cursor, and full-screen or picture-in-picture magnification style.

For faster access to Zoom, enable the shortcuts under the Accessibility settings.

macOS SIERRA ZOOM KEYBOARD SHORTCUTS

Press this key

To do this

Option + Command + 8

Toggle zoom

Option + Command + equal (=)

Zoom in

Option + Command + minus (-)

Zoom out

Option + Command + backslash (\)

Toggle smooth images

(Tip: Under Display, select “Invert colors” or “Increase contrast” to see if adjusting the colors makes the text easier to read.)

You can even enable Zoom on your Touch Bar. Under Zoom settings, turn on “Enable Touch Bar zoom.” Then hold a finger on the Touch Bar. A larger version will appear on your computer screen. To increase or decrease the zoom, hold the Command key and pinch two fingers open or closed on the Touch Bar.

To activate a Touch Bar function, slide your finger on the Touch Bar until the circle on the screen representing your finger hovers over the item you want to select. Keep your finger there until the circle changes color or fills with white, and then remove your finger to virtually click the item. Alternatively, touch and hold the item you want to select with one finger and tap anywhere on the Touch Bar with another finger to select the item without waiting for the color to change. (Tip: Touch Bar zoom doesn’t work when using VoiceOver.)

How to make text larger on Windows devices

How to make text larger on Windows 10 devices

Windows 10 computers and tablets

On Windows 10 devices, a tool called Magnifier can enlarge your screen so you can see things more clearly. To open Magnifier, go to Start > Settings > Ease of Access > Magnifier. Move the slider under Magnifier to make adjustments. Alternatively, select the Windows logo key and plus sign or minus sign to enlarge or reduce your screen.

Magnifier offers three different view settings: full-screen, lens or docked. Full-screen view magnifies your entire screen, so you can’t view the entire screen at once. Move the mouse around to see the hidden portions of your screen. Lens view acts as a virtual magnifying glass, enlarging only the portion of the screen where your cursor is located. Docked view performs much like lens view, but the main part of your screen remains unchanged. Instead, the magnified portion appears in the docking area as your cursor moves across the screen.

Don’t like Magnifier following your cursor around? Adjust your settings and check a box to tell Magnifier to follow your mouse, the insertion point or the keyboard. Select the Configuration (cog wheel) options button to make any changes. (Tip: Under options, select “Turn on color inversion” and see if reversing the colors makes the text on the screen easier to read.) To close Magnifier, select the Close button on the toolbar.

Touchscreen users have access to all the same features. You can open Magnifier and perform adjustments as you would on a mobile device. For example, zoom in and out by tapping on the corners, or move the screen around by dragging the corners.

In a hurry? Try these Magnifier keyboard shortcuts.

WINDOWS 10 MAGNIFIER KEYBOARD SHORTCUTS

Press this key

To do this

Windows logo key + plus (+) or minus (-)

Zoom in or out

Ctrl + Alt + Spacebar

Preview the desktop in full-screen mode

Ctrl + Alt + D

Switch to docked mode

Ctrl + Alt + F

Switch to full-screen mode

Ctrl + Alt + I

Invert colors

Ctrl + Alt + L

Switch to lens mode

Ctrl + Alt + R

Resize the lens

Ctrl + Alt + arrow keys

Pan in the direction of the arrow keys

Windows logo key + Esc

Exit Magnifier

Another way Windows users can make text more legible is a feature now nearly two decades old. Windows introduced ClearType font smoothing technology with Windows XP. This technology displays computer fonts with extreme smoothness and clarity, helping make text more legible, especially after you’ve been reading for long periods of time.

To adjust ClearType, go to Start > System > Display > Advanced Display Settings > ClearType text. Then follow the on-screen prompts to enable, disable or adjust ClearType attributes. (Tip: Techlicious recommends adjusting your ClearType settings each time you switch to a new monitor.)

Windows Phones

On Windows Phone devices, you can adjust the text size or contrast and magnify your screen. Adjust your text size by selecting Settings > Ease of access, toggle on “Text size,” and move the slider to make your preferred changes.

Apply a high contrast theme by selecting Settings > Ease of access and toggle on “High contrast,” which will make everything easier to read by changing the text to black and white. It will also create a solid background behind words that would otherwise be on top of pictures. To zoom in on a webpage, go to Settings > Ease of access and toggle on “Allow zooming on all web content.” Then you can pinch your fingers open or closed to zoom in or out on content.

To magnify the screen, go to Settings > Ease of access and toggle on “Screen magnifier.” From there, double-tap with two fingers to magnify the screen. (Tip: If double-tap isn’t working, try angling your fingers so they’re close together, and make sure they both touch your phone at the same time.)

To move around the screen, single-tap with two fingers and hold anywhere on the screen, then pan in any direction. To change the zoom level while magnified, use two fingers to double-tap, hold and pan up or down to increase or decrease magnification. To scroll while magnified, pan to the edge of the screen and then swipe as you normally would with one finger.

How to make text larger on Android and ChromeOS devices

How to make text larger on Android

Android phones and tablets

On Android devices, you can adjust the font size, enlarge a screen or adjust the contrast level. To change the font size, go to Settings > Accessibility > Font Size, and adjust the slider on the screen. To change the display size of your screen, go to Settings > Accessibility > Display Size, and adjust the slider on the screen. To make your text easier to read with contrast or inverted colors, go to Settings > Accessibility > High contrast text or Color Inversion. Android lists these as an experimental feature, so they may not work well across your device’s apps.

To magnify the screen, go to Settings > Accessibility > Magnification gestures, and toggle it on or off. To zoom on your entire screen, triple-tap anywhere. From there, drag two fingers to pan across the screen, pinch two fingers open or closed to zoom in or out, or triple-tap the screen to zoom out entirely.

If you prefer to temporarily magnify the screen, triple-tap and hold anywhere on your screen. To pan across the screen, drag your finger without releasing. Then lift your finger to stop magnifying the screen. (Tip: Be patient. When magnification is enabled, single taps take a little longer to process, to ensure the tap isn’t part of a double- or triple-tap gesture.)

Chromebooks

If you’re using Chromebook, turn on accessibility features by selecting Settings > Show advanced settings > Accessibility. Then toggle on or off various features, including “Show large mouse cursor,” “Use high contrast mode” and “Enable screen magnifier.”

Text enlargement fixes for your web browser

Don’t want to fuss with your computer settings? Select Ctrl/Command + the plus sign or minus sign to increase and decrease your display size while browsing any web page. Then just press Ctrl/Command + 0 to revert back to your computer’s default display setting. (Alternatively, try pinching in and out on your trackpad.)

Google Chrome lets you easily change the size of text, images and videos. Go to Chrome > Preferences > Appearance to adjust your font size and page zoom settings. Under font size, select very small, small, medium, large, or very large text; medium is recommended. You can adjust the page zoom anywhere from 25 percent to 500 percent. Chrome also recommends adding accessibility extensions to enhance your browser experience. Find them here.

On Mozilla Firefox, you can adjust the font size independently of the rest of the web page. Go to Menu > View > Zoom and select “Zoom Text Only.” Whenever you use the “When browsing the web” advice above, Firefox will instead increase or decrease the font size and not the entire page.

If today’s web aesthetics favor tiny font sizes too small for your comfort, adjust Firefox to display a minimum text size. Go to Menu > Preferences > Content panel to access this function. In the “Fonts & Colors” section, follow the prompts to adjust the minimum font size anywhere from 9 points to 72 points. Then select OK to save your settings.

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer allows you to zoom in on a webpage or change the font size, which may sound disappointing to Windows 10 users. The limitation actually makes sense, since Microsoft users already have rich accessibility features on their machines.

So to zoom on a web page, go to Settings (the cog in the upper right) and select Zoom. Then select a predefined zoom level, or make customized adjustments by following the on-screen prompts. To adjust the text size, go to Internet Explorer and select the Alt key to display the menu bar > View > Text size. From there, adjust the text to be smaller or larger to your liking.

Microsoft Edge Reading Mode

For Microsoft Edge, click on the three dots in the upper right corner and select Zoom. Then select a predefined zoom level, or make customized adjustments by following the on-screen prompts. To adjust the text size, you'll need to go into Reading Mode. Find an article you want to read and then click on the book icon. Once you're in Reading Mode, you'll see two A's in the upper right. Click on the AA icon and you can adjust the text size. To go back to browsing, click on the book icon again. 

Since Apple also puts advanced accessibility features on its machines, it also keeps things simple in its web browser. In Safari, you can adjust the zoom function and minimum font size. That’s it. To access these features, go to Safari > Menu > Preferences > Advanced to access Page Zoom and Accessibility. Page Zoom allows adjustments from 50 percent to 300 percent. Under Accessibility, you can require the browser to next use font sizes smaller than a predetermined font size, ranging from 9 points to 24 points.

When you’d rather use glasses

ThinOptics Stick Anywhere, Go Everywhere Reading Glasses

If you’re feeling nostalgic, take the easy route: foldable reading glasses you can carry with you. ThinOptics Stick Anywhere Reading Glasses ($13.95 at Amazon) are pint-sized frames flexible enough to fold in half to fit in your pocket. They’re strong enough to withstand a drop or two, thanks to their shatterproof polycarbonate design. You’ll never lose track of your reading glasses again. They even come in their own case with an adhesive backing so that you can attach them to the back of your mobile device for easy access.

ThinOptics are available in a rainbow of frame colors and come in +1.00, +1.50, +2.00 and +2.50 strengths.

[Image credits: man looking at phone with reading glasses via BigStockPhoto, screenshots via Techlicious, ThinOptics]



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