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While most websites choose a reasonable text size, some are too hard to read because the font size is too large or usually too small. Sometimes, though, it’s not the website’s fault, and a website that’s perfectly viewable on one computer can look small on another with a much higher resolution, huge screen, or smaller screen. Extreme examples of this are reading many web pages on the small MacBook Air 11 screen, where the text on some pages can be so small that it is almost impossible to read without zooming, as well as on an iMac with a 27-inch screen because the resolution is so huge that only certain pages are small on the big screen.
The obvious solution is to make the text size larger on the web page itself, making it easier to read and easier on the eyes, and there are really two different approaches; full page zoom or text only zoom. Cover both.
Zoom entire web pages (scale)
All major web browsers support page-level zooming, including Chrome, Firefox and Safari. There are both keyboard shortcuts and trackpad gestures for zooming in and out on web pages, and thankfully they are the same to use in all browsers.
Zoom in on keyboard shortcuts
The keyboard shortcuts for zooming in or out are:
- Zoom in Order + (plus key)
- Zoom out Order – (less key)
For users whose hardware supports gestures, such as Mac laptops and Magic TrackPads, you can also use pinch and spread gestures to adjust the zoom level, just like you can on iOS.
Hover your mouse over the web page and zoom in or out using the following gestures:
- Zoom in a Two finger application
- Zoom out Two finger compression
The excellent Zoom feature scales everything on the page, not just the text on the page, but also all the elements of the web page, including images, videos and even Flash. This is by far the best way to view web pages on large screens, whether it’s a substantial external monitor, projector output, or when you export the screen to a TV, because everything in the browser window is moving with it the zoom level, which makes it far. easier to see.
You’ll want to try this out for yourself and find a happy zoom level that suits your individual screens and needs, but here are two examples of what this might look like.
Full website (bollyinside.com) away:
Full web page (bollyinside.com) zoomed in:
Notice how everything is scaled up and down? Therefore, the zoom method is unique and different from what we will discuss next, which only increases the size of the font text.
Increase text size in browsers only (fonts only)
Some web browsers also offer a separate option to increase the text size of the web page instead of increasing everything. This can be used sparingly, but along with a growth or two, it usually starts to confuse the visibility of the website by skewing page elements and pushing things around, making the actual site unreadable. For this reason, it is usually best to use the Zoom Page option, although there are some exceptions. In supported browsers, this must be turned on/off separately as a zoom sub-feature.
The Command + and Command- keystrokes remain, but you must select Text Only before editing the text only.
Safari: Pull down the View menu and select “Zoom text only”
Firefox: Pull down the View menu, go to Zoom, and then select “Zoom Only”
Chrome: Chrome doesn’t seem to support text-only zooming natively, although there are some third-party extensions and bookmarks to support you.
iOS Safari: On the iOS side of things, you can use these Safari bookmarks to add the font and text size of web pages without zooming everything out with a token. These work in Mobile Safari for iPhone, iPad and iPod.
Again, just increasing the font size can result in some very buggy web pages, so it’s not really the best solution. In most applications, zoom is the right choice. However you go, don’t use it when you spend a lot of time reading online, also consider adding Flux to your computer and give those eyes a break!
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