How to Change the Default Zoom Settings in Microsoft Office

Ways to easily grow or shrink Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and more

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If the text or objects in Microsoft Office programs appear too large or too small, here is how to customize the zoom and default zoom settings to your preferences.

By doing this, you can change the zoom level for the document you are working in. If you are looking to change the default zoom for every new file you create, you must change the Normal Template. This approach requires you to change the zoom settings within that template, however, so you may want to continue reading this article to the end first.

Unfortunately, you cannot specify a default zoom setting for files you receive from others. So if someone keeps sending you documents zoomed to the scale of an ant, you may have to talk to the person directly, or just get used to changing the zoom setting yourself!

These features vary according to program (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and others) and operating system (desktop, mobile, or web), but this quick list of solutions should help you find a solution.

How to Customize the Zoom Setting of Your Office Program's Screen

  1. If you haven't already opened a program such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and others, do so and enter a bit of text so you can better see the effect of these zoom settings on your computing device's screen.
  2. To zoom in or out, select View - Zoom from the interface menu or ribbon. Alternatively, the lower right of the program screen likely has a dial you can change on by clicking or dragging. You can also use a shortcut command, such as holding down Ctrl then scrolling up or down with the mouse. If you do not want to use a mouse at all, another option is to type the keyboard shortcut Alt + V. When the View dialog box appears, press the letter to show the Zoom dialog box. To make your customizations, type Tab until you get to the Percentage box, then type the zoom percentage with your keyboard as well.
  3. Finish the keyboard sequence by pressing Enter. Again, your computer or device may not work with these Windows commands, but you should be able to find a shortcut of some kind to make zooming less of a chore. 

Additional Tips and Zooming Tools

  1. Consider setting the Default View for programs you use a lot. Unfortunately, you do need to set this customization in each program; no suite-wide setting is available. To do this, select File (or the Office button) -> Options -> General. Near the top, you should see a drop-down option for changing the Default View. This will be applied to all new documents.
  2. You can also run a macro for zooming Office documents or make changes to the template, in some programs. This option gets pretty technical, but if you have a bit of extra time it may be worth it to you to go through those steps.
  3. You can also select View on the tool menu to find additional zooming tools. In Word, you can zoom to One, Two, or Multiple Pages.  The Zoom to 100% tool is available in many Microsoft Office programs, allowing you to get back to a baseline zoom level.
  4. An option called Zoom to Selection is also available in most programs. This allows you to highlight an area then choose this tool from that View menu.