If you have ever shared your screen with an audience, trying to demo an application perhaps, or been to such a demo, you will know that things are not always legible to everyone.
A potential workaround is using the Windows computer screen magnifier to zoom into the screen. The thing about using the Windows magnifier is that it has been built as an accessibility feature and not as a presentation tool so you have to browse through menus and options to get it working the way you want. This is where AeroZoom steps in and allows you to control your screen and the magnifier better using nothing more than mouse clicks.
The software utility is basically written in AutoHot key, the scripting language that many of us adore. All you have to do is to download and extract the 700KB file. You can run the utility as it is, it doesn’t need any installation. All it does is add a couple of neat shortcuts (or mouse gestures) and gives you a remote of sorts to control the magnification on your screen and other neat little things while presenting. The utility is well thought out and very intuitive.
Let’s have a look at some of its capabilities.
With the application running you can quickly invoke the computer screen magnifier tool by holding down the left mouse button and moving the mouse wheel upwards. The same combination can be used to zoom in henceforth and you can hold down the left mouse button and scroll the mouse wheel downwards to zoom out. Reset Zoom to 100% by holding down the left mouse button and clicking the wheel.
So far so good, you can get in and out of magnifier in a snap and you can adjust the zoom level quickly as well. AeroZoom, however offers more. Click the left mouse button followed by a right click and the AeroZoom interface appears on the screen. There are a lot of buttons, meanings of some which may not be apparent at first sight.
The ‘Color’, ‘Mouse’, ‘Keyboard’ and ‘Text’ buttons map directly to the corresponding checkboxes in the Magnifier options windows. The buttons cleverly display the checkbox values (on or off) and let you toggle them quickly without having to click through menus and checkboxes. You can thus quickly set the magnifier to follow the mouse pointer, keyboard or text insertion according to your needs.
The other buttons allow you to quickly invoke (Show) or close the magnifier (Kill) and to reset the zoom level (Reset). The Draw button invokes the snipping tool, allowing you to quickly grab a part of the screen and doodle on it. The type tool invokes Wordpad, so you can quickly get your point across by typing if you so need.
The following infographic (from the creator) sums up the functionality very well:
There is nothing much in the menus, except for a neat little instruction dialog that lets you quickly see how to access common features using the mouse. A well thought of app that AeroZoom is, there is also a version for people who use the mouse with their left hand. You can also access the source code within the “data” folder and customize certain aspects if you want to. I for one wanted Notepad for typing instead of Wordpad so I modified these lines to fire up Notepad.
AeroZoom is a nice little utility if you share your screen over the Internet or you need to demo an app or concept to an audience. The interface is intuitive and to the point. Just make sure you practice a couple of times before the big day!
Do you use another computer screen magnifier or any other specialized software which make presenting better? We would love to hear about them in the comments.