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Sometimes the words ‘Microsoft software’ conjures up an image of a gigabyte sized bloated package. But Microsoft too sometimes goes against the grain and some of the tools available from the “Sysinternals Lab” prove that size doesn’t really matter. One example is ZoomIt.

What would a bundled app of 145KB have to offer? Some nifty help if you look at it closely. Imagine you are giving a PowerPoint presentation to a roomful of people. Perhaps you need to get your point across with a chart but the guy on the fourth row can’t make it out. With a click of a mouse you can now zoom in and focus on that part of the screen with the important information and then zoom back out. You save your audience the pain of squinting.

Plainly speaking, ZoomIt gives you three tools to play around with.

  • Zoom (zoom in on any area of your screen)
  • Draw (draw on your screen, whether zoomed or not)
  • Break Timer (to countdown till a break is up)

 

Zoom : Screen Magnifier for Windows

zoom on windows

As a screen magnifier, I think this tool is the best free one out there. It does show quite a high level of magnification which can be seen clearly from a long distance. The screen can be panned around to the desired area of focus. The entire operation can be controlled by a toggle keystroke and/or the mouse.

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Draw : Freehand Drawing Tool

The freehand draw function serves as a great presentation aid. Of the three features, this one is the richest. Use the mouse to circle or highlight any part of the display. Then, with a simple push of the E (‘E’ for Eraser, maybe?!) key, the drawings are erased again. You can erase all the drawings or just the last one.

Or just use the screen like a white or black sketch pad to give an impromptu drawing or a typed remark. Or just have fun by drawing some simple shapes like circles, rectangles or ellipses. Change the width or color of the draw pen. To further enhance its appeal, you can combine the zoom function with the draw to give your presentations the savvy edge.

Break Timer

timer for windows

After the first two tools, this one is more of an anti-climax. It just acts like a countdown timer rolled into an alarm clock. You can get bit of a reminder help from it if you configure it to play sounds when the break time is up.

Inside the 145 Kilobyte Package

The first time you click the ‘exe’ file, it presents a simple configuration screen. The three functions (the ‘type’ function makes it four actually) are well explained with default hotkeys. Of course, it also allows you to specify your own. The program sits unobtrusively on the tray and all features are easily accessible with a right click.

ZoomIt is a free download, does not require Microsoft validation and is installable on all versions of Windows.

  1. James
    August 15, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    I use this tool a lot (to help with my deteriorating eyesight when searching for screen bugs,editing graphics, etc). I would recommend changing the default lauch hotkey from ALT + space since this can conflict with the context menu to Move/Size/Minimise/Maximise/Close many applications.
    This is one tool MS got just right!!

  2. Wuensch-Media
    September 27, 2008 at 4:25 am

    A similar application is Pointofix, a Freeware Screen Textmarker. I use it with my presentations. http://www.pointofix.de/download.php

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