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How to Zoom in on PowerPoint (3 Different Ways)

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How do you zoom in on something in PowerPoint without PowerPoint first centering in on your slide?

This was a great question we got from subscriber Derek (thanks Derek!).

And it's not so intuitive...

For example, let’s say you want to zoom in on a specific icon or two to edit them, like in the picture below. How do you do it without scrolling around, driving yourself crazy?

In this tutorial, you’ll learn 3 different ways to zoom in PowerPoint, plus a few sneaky places you might never have thought of zooming in PowerPoint before.

Note: This tutorial has nothing to do with the new Zoom transition added in PowerPoint 2016. For help with that, see how to use the PowerPoint zoom transition.

The problem with the standard PowerPoint zoom

The problem with the standard PowerPoint zoom, is that PowerPoint automatically goes to the center of your slide as you zoom in.

The center zoom is great if the object that you want to edit is in the center of your slide, but if it’s not, that means you have to use the scroll bars to find what you are looking for.

The problem with the scroll bars is that they are hard to control, often jumping you over to the next slide as you try to find the object that you want to edit.

So instead of making your life easier (which is what they were designed to do), they make it harder.

3 ways to zoom into a PowerPoint object

There are three different ways you can zoom in on a PowerPoint slide:

  1. The View tab zoom command (zoom dialog box)
  2. The Zoom slider at the bottom of the screen
  3. The CTRL + mouse spin wheel shortcut (my personal favorite because it’s universal, as you’ll see in a second)

Pro Tip: Use the 'Fit to Window' tools

After zooming in on something in PowerPoint, you can quickly refit your PowerPoint window in one of two ways:

  1. 'Fit slide to current window' in the lower right-hand corner your screen
  2. 'Fit to Window' in the View tab

Hitting either command refits the PowerPoint window to your slide so you can continue working on your presentation.

Zoom in on a picture in PowerPoint

To zoom in a on a specific picture (or object) in PowerPoint, all you need to do is first select the object before you zoom.

Once you select an object, any of the 3 zoom methods described above will zoom you specifically in on the object:

  1. The zoom dialog box
  2. The zoom slider
  3. Using CTRL plus your mouse spin wheel

This zoom trick works on anything that you can select in PowerPoint, including zooming in on a table, zooming in on a chart, zooming in on a text box, etc.

If you have multiple objects that you want to zoom into and edit in PowerPoint, the fastest way to do that is to:

  1. Select and zoom in on your first object
  2. Edit or format your first object
  3. Hit 'Fit Slide to Current Window'
  4. Select and zoom in on your second object
  5. Edit or format your second object
  6. Hit 'Fit Slide to Current Window'

If you have more than two objects, you can continue zooming in and out of your slide in this way to make all of your adjustments.

Thumbnail PowerPoint zoom

Besides zooming in on a slide while editing it, you can also use the CTRL + mouse spin wheel shortcut to zoom in on the thumbnail images of your PowerPoint slides on the left.

Zooming in on the thumbnail images allows you to control how much of your presentation you see, and how much slide editing space you give yourself on the right.

Zooming in allows you to get a big thumbnail image of each of the preceding and following slides, while zooming out gives you an idea of how many slides are in your presentation.

Zooming in the Slide Sorter View

Another place you can zoom in PowerPoint to see the overall flow of your presentation, is Slide Sorter View.

To open the Slide Sorter View, simply click the slide Sorter  command at the bottom of your screen.

All three zoom methods work in the Slide Sorter View:

  1. The zoom dialog box
  2. The zoom slider
  3. Using CTRL plus your mouse spin wheel

Zooming in and out of the Slide Sorter View is useful when you want to see the overall flow of your slides within your presentation at varying levels of detail.

To learn how to quickly move slides around in your presentation using your keyboard shortcuts in the Slide Sorter View, see our YouTube video on how to move slides around in PowerPoint (fast).

Slide Show View zoom

Two other places you can zoom in PowerPoint are the Slide Show Mode (F5) and Presenter View (SHIFT + F5) of your presentation.

Start slide show in PowerPoint:

There are four keyboard shortcuts for starting slide show in PowerPoint:

Start slide show from the beginning

F5

Start slide show from the current slide

ALT + F5​​​​

Start Presenter View from the beginning

SHIFT + F5

Start Presenter View from the current slide

ALT + SHIFT + F5

To learn more about your slide show shortcuts and how to ink over your slides, see how to draw on your PowerPoint slides.

Once you are in one of the presentation views of your slides, you can zoom in or zoom out by either using the CTRL + mouse spin wheel shortcut (if you have a mouse), or you can use the keyboard shortcuts listed below.

Zoom in (Slide Show Mode)

CTRL + =

Zoom out (Slide Show Mode)

CTRL + -

  • Zooming in allows you to focus on a specific section of your slide (focusing your audience’s attention on that section).
  • Zooming out allows you to see all the slides in your presentation as thumbnails.

Once your slides are arranged as thumbnails, you can click on one to jump to that specific slide in your presentation.

This is often an easier way to navigate the slides in your presentation if someone wants to go back and see something, rather than trying to remember where it was in your presentation.

Note: There are quite a few different ways to navigate between the slides in your presentation. To learn more, see this section of our shortcuts page on shortcuts for navigating slides in a slideshow.

What's next?

Updated on December 27, 2017

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