How to Zoom In or Out on Chromebook

Don't let screen issues mess up your day

Chromebooks are inexpensive and lightweight, but their small screens are sometimes difficult to read. If you're having trouble seeing something on your Chromebook, you can zoom in a single window, like Chrome, or magnify the entire desktop so it's easier to see the interface and icons. Chromebooks also come with a built-in accessibility tool, allowing you to magnify small portions of the screen to make them easier to see.

If your Chromebook is stuck zoomed in, or you lent it out to someone and got it back zoomed in, you can also use these techniques to zoom out or return the zoom level to normal.

How to Zoom In on Chromebook

Zooming in on a single window, like Chrome, is extremely easy on a Chromebook. You accomplish it by pressing a specific key combination. You press the same combination repeatedly to zoom in further.

The first step magnifies the window by 10 percent, and each subsequent step zooms you in an additional 25, 50, and then 100 percent until you've zoomed in as far as possible.

To zoom in a single window on a Chromebook:

  1. Press Ctrl + Plus (+) simultaneously.

  2. To zoom in further, press Ctrl + Plus (+) again.

  3. Continue pressing Ctrl + Plus (+) until you reach a maximum zoom of 500 percent.

If you accidentally zoom in too far, or you decide to return the screen to normal, zooming out is just as easy.

How to Zoom Out on Chromebook

Zooming out on a Chromebook is also accomplished by pressing a combination of keys, and you can adjust the zoom level step-by-step just as you did when you zoomed in. Each step follows the same pattern as zooming in.

To zoom out on a Chromebook:

  1. Press Ctrl + Minus (-) simultaneously.

  2. If you want to zoom out further, press Ctrl + Minus (-) again.

How to Reset the Zoom Level on Chromebook

Since you can zoom in and out on a Chromebook with a few key presses, it's easy to accidentally zoom in or out without noticing it. If you find that everything looks too big or too small on your Chromebook, fix the problem by resetting the zoom level.

To reset the zoom level on a Chromebook:

  1. Press Ctrl + 0.

  2. If the zoom level doesn't reset, press Ctrl + Shift + 0.

This command resets the zoom level on the Chromebook itself, not just in a single window like your Chrome browser.

Using the Built-in Zoom Controls in Chrome

If you don't want to use key combinations to zoom in and out on your Chromebook, and you just want to adjust the level in Chrome, you can do it from within the Chrome browser.

To use the built-in Chrome zoom controls on a Chromebook:

  1. Launch Chrome.

  2. Select the (three vertical dots) icon.

    Google Chrome on a Chromebook showing locatioin of three-dot icon
  3. Locate Zoom in the menu.

    Location of Zoom settings in Chrome
  4. Use the Plus (+) and Minus (-) next to Zoom to adjust the zoom level to your liking.

    Zoom settings adjustments in Chrome

The default zoom level is 100 percent.

How to Enlarge the Screen on Chromebook

In addition to zooming in on a single window, Chromebooks can also magnify the entire desktop. This is accomplished by adjusting the resolution of the display, which effectively makes everything bigger; you can do it by pressing a combination of keys on the keyboard.

To adjust the zoom level of the entire desktop:

  1. Press and hold Ctrl + Shift. Keep these keys depressed the entire time you're adjusting the zoom level.

  2. Press Plus (+).

  3. Press Plus (+) again to zoom in further.

  4. Press Minus (-) to reduce the zoom level.

  5. Press 0 to reset the zoom level.

  6. When the zoom level is where you want it, release Ctrl + Shift.

If your Chromebook has a touchscreen, you can use it to zoom in and out. This works just like it does on most smartphones. Touch the screen with your thumb and index finger and make a pinching motion to zoom out, and spread your thumb and index finger apart to zoom in.

How to Use the Chromebook Screen Magnification Tool

Chromebooks also come with a built-in screen magnification tool. This is useful for users who have trouble seeing small text on a Chromebook screen, as it allows specific portions of the screen to be magnified to a great degree.

Here's how to use the screen magnification tool on a Chromebook:

  1. Press Alt + Shift + S on the keyboard.

  2. Select the ☰ (hamburger menu) or the gear icon.

    Gear icon selected in Chromebook menu
  3. Select Advanced in the Settings sidebar.

    Chromebook Settings with Advanced highlighted
  4. Select Accessibility.

    Accessibility highlighted in Chromebook Settings
  5. Select Manage accessibility features.

    Chromebook Accessibility settings.
  6. Select Enable docked magnifier.

    Chromebook docked magnifier settings.
  7. Look for Docked zoom level and select a zoom level to adjust it.

    Chromebook docked magnifier zoom level settings
  8. Click Enable dock magnifier again to turn off the magnification tool.