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

Platforms like Windows, Android and iOS have screen magnification preinstalled which means they can be set up, configured and used right out of the box. For some uses the preinstalled 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. Aside from screen magnification, adjustments can be made to the mouse pointer, cursors, colour of background and foreground and speech can also be included.

Setup

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.

These applications can be downloaded from the relevant supplier websites as either 30 or 60-day trials. When the application is launched, an installation wizard is presented where the user needs to choose various settings like where to install, start up settings and creation of shortcuts. The software can be used as a fully licensed version for the trial period after which a license key needs to be purchased for activation. If the software is not suitable, it can be removed from the computer.

Use

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.

We've put together a collection of helpful videos that demonstrate how screen magnification software works and shows some functions you might find useful.

Watch our screen magnifier video collection

 

Verdict

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 makes day to day tasks like emailing, web browsing, accessing documents, shopping, banking and navigating the device much more accessible. 

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.

Grants

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.

RNIB Shop

RNIB stock a selection of magnification software options. Click here to browse our range:

RNIB online shop

 

Further resources

Updated 24 June 2021

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Please note, if you have a question or require urgent advice, please call the Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or email [email protected].

 

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