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Screen magnification

A basic RNIB guide to what desktop, phone and tablet screen magnification is and how it is used by people with sight loss.

Screen magnification is a feature, tool or application that enlarges content from a computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone screen making it easier to read.

Platforms like Windows, Android and iOS have screen magnification included. For some uses these tools may not be adequate, as they can be limited on the additional features that they provide.

For a greater range of features, third party screen magnification software can be purchased for the Windows and Apple Mac platforms. Adjustments can also be made to the mouse pointer, cursors, colour of background and foreground.


Screen magnification software packages are available to apply for through the RNIB Technology Grant Scheme. Other items include video magnifiers, RNIB PenFriend 3, kitchen equipment, clocks and watches, phones and DAISY players. Click here for more information about grants.

Setting up screen magnification

When turning on a Windows, Android or iOS device for the first time, screen magnification can be enabled on the set up screen which can allow the user to enter personal and log-in information, connect to networks, retrieve data and set up security.

Third party applications can be downloaded and used on the Windows and Mac platforms. These are designed to provide screen magnification to enlarge the content on the screen, use different magnification levels, choose different colours for text, foreground and background, change the way mouse pointers and cursors appear and use speech dependent on level of vision.

Watch our screen magnifier video collection.

How does a partially sighted person use screen magnification?

Screen magnification software or the built in accessibility features are used if a person has some useful vision but is not able to view content on a screen without enhancements.

By using screen magnification, information from the device is displayed on a screen at a level of magnification and colour personal to the user, allowing for use of devices on an equal footing with sighted counterparts. Screen magnification software can make many main stream applications and services accessible and also provide a level of speech for reading large documents if required.


A screen magnification software package can be used at home, in the work place, in education and in public areas like libraries. It makes the content from the computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone accessible meaning that a partially sighted technology user can access and enjoy their device without barriers or obstacles.

Screen magnification software packages can either be purchased or downloaded. Accessibility features are also readily available from being built right into the operating system, making the product accessible right out of the box.

RNIB stocks a selection of magnification software options available in the RNIB shop.

Further resources