Windows Accessibility Tool: ZoomIt

It is good to remember that not all of our students learn and process information in the same way. ZoomIt is a free utility written by Mark Russovitch of Microsoft Technet. While it was originally developed as a tool to aid in giving presentations that require demonstrations, I find that I use it to make sure my directions are clear and to help the students when I have to demonstrate something. ZoomIt is a tiny program (<300 kb) that sits unnoticed in your system tray. It does not slow down the computer or take up space. SysTray

You can customize the settings, but I will be explaining the default as that it what most people will use. The main benefit and reason that I installed ZoomIt is that it is an excellent replacement to the built-in magnifying program built in Windows. As you may be aware, it is a strip at the top of the screen that magnifies whatever your mouse is over. I find it difficult to use and difficult for the students to follow. I much prefer the Mac philosophy in this instance. The native magnifying function on a Mac is to zoom the whole screen to wherever the mouse is. It is much easier for students to see what you are trying to focus the screen on. To do the same with ZoomIt, you simply press the control button (CTRL) and the number 1 and it will zoom the screen to where your mouse is. You can still move the mouse and zoom in or out further by scrolling the mouse or trackpad.

ZoomIt has a much greater functionality than simple zooming though. When you press control and the number 2 at any time or a mouse button after zooming in, you have a whole range of more options. The default option is a free form drawing tool. By pressing different keys, you are able to change the color for emphasis or to increase visibility: r (red), b (blue), g (green), y (yellow), o (orange), or p (pink). When you hold shift, you can draw straight lines. When you hold control, you can create rectangular boxes. Lastly you can draw arrows by holding control and shift.

example

You can find more information about ZoomIt here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897434.aspx. You can directly download it here: http://download.sysinternals.com/Files/ZoomIt.zip.

ZoomIt Demo from Jason Bedell on Vimeo.

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