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Magnifier in Excel


July 12, 2018 - by Bill Jelen

Magnifier in Excel

When I am doing a presentation at a Staff Meeting or my Live Power Excel Seminar, I have started to use the Windows Magnifier to show details in the Ribbon or dialog boxes.

Excel has a great Zoom slider. You can zoom in from 100% to 400%. (You can also zoom out to 10%, letting you see A1:KZ388 on a 1080P Monitor, but that is a story for another day.) I frequently use Ctrl + MouseScrollWheelAway to zoom in. Then I use Ctrl + MouseScrollWheelTowardsMe to zoom out. This is great for values in cells. They become HUGE and readable. But it does not help at all with the Ribbon commands, with Power Query, or with choices inside dialog boxes.

The zoom only impacts cells
The zoom only impacts cells

When I want to show something in a dialog box, I hold the (Windows) key and press the + sign. (Note you can use either the + sign on the number keypad or the + above the equals sign, but you will have to do Ctrl + Shift + Equals to use the one not on the number keypad. To dismiss the magnifier, press + Esc.


Because I have customized the magnifier, I get this beautiful box that moves with my mouse and shows a larger view.

The lens follows your mouse
The lens follows your mouse

The view shown above is not the default. The default is Full Screen. It enlarges the whole screen. To change the view, look for either this magnifying glass:

Adjust magnifier settings by clicking magnifying lens
Adjust magnifier settings by clicking magnifying lens

On my Windows 10 laptop, I never see the icon above. I always get this floating menu instead:

Click the magnifier icon to reveal this menu
Click the magnifier icon to reveal this menu

Open the Views and switch to Lens. Use the Gear Wheel to adjust the size of the lens.

Adjust the magnifier settings
Adjust the magnifier settings

In case you want to experiment, there are other modes:

  • Docked will add a lens at the top of the screen. As you move the mouse pointer, the area in the magnifier moves to follow the mouse.
  • Lens gives you a floating lens that zooms in around the mouse pointer
  • Full Screen enlarges the center area of the screen.

Watch Video

Download Excel File

To download the excel file: magnifier-in-excel.xlsx

The Magnifier, of course, is not an Excel feature. It would work in any app.

Excel Thought Of the Day

I've asked my Excel Master friends for their advice about Excel. Today's thought to ponder:

"Thou shalt not add new columns to your tables for every new month of data."

Title Photo: Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash