How To Zoom In And Out On A Google Chromebook

Google Chromebooks are light, reliable, relatively inexpensive alternatives to standard laptops and desktop computers. Easily portable and with crisp resolutions, they are an increasingly popular option for the casual PC-buyer. Their small screens can, however, sometimes be hard to read from, and you may well find yourself wondering if it’s possible to correct this issue. The good news is, it is!

Just follow these simple steps to enlarge (zoom in) and decrease (zoom out) your Google Chromebook’s display:

Zoom in and out on one Google Chromebook page using the trackpad

Much like using a smartphone, you can zoom in and out on a Google Chromebook with just two fingers on the trackpad.

  1. Place two fingers (close together) on your Chromebook’s trackpad
  2. Slowly move your two fingers apart
  3. You will notice that the screen grows in size and that in the upper-right hand corner there is a small box showing the increase in screen size by percentage, increasing as you separate your fingers in increments of 10, 25, 50, and finally 100.
  4. To zoom out (decreasing screen size), place two fingers (wide apart) on your Chromebook’s trackpad
  5. Slowly bring your two fingers together

Note: the default screen size is 100%, which you can navigate back to using the steps above, in order to ‘reset’ your screen’s zoom.

Zoom in and out on one Google Chromebook page using the keyboard

Whilst the trackpad method (shown above) is arguably the quickest and most accessible means of zooming in and out on a Google Chromebook, it is not always the most accurate, nor easiest to control. You may find it more straightforward to zoom in using a combination of keyboard shortcuts.

  1. To zoom in on a page, hold ‘CTRL’ and then press ‘PLUS’ (+) as many times as needed to zoom in to the desired percentage (note the percentage shown in the box in the upper-right of the screen)
  2. To zoom out from a page, hold ‘CTRL’ and then press ‘MINUS’ (-) as many times as needed to zoom out to the desired percentage
  3. To reset the page’s zoom/size, hold ‘CTRL’ and press ‘0’. This will reset your screen’s zoom to 100%

Note: If the screen’s zoom does not reset by pressing CTRL and 0 together, try pressing CTRL, SHIFT, and 0 together.

How to zoom in and out using the built-in Chrome controls

Perhaps you are content with the size of your Chromebook’s desktop and apps, but find reading articles, or surfing the web on Chrome a challenge because of the size of your screen. If so, and you wish to alter the zoom of Chrome only, then you can do so using the browser’s in-built controls.

  1. Open the Chrome web browser app on your Google Chromebook
  2. Navigate to the settings menu by clicking the three vertical dots in the top-right-hand corner
  3. Locate ‘Zoom’ and using the ‘Plus (+)’ and ‘Minus (-)’ buttons next to ‘Zoom’, alter the zoom of your Chrome app screen as needed. (Remember that the default zoom level is 100%)

How to alter the zoom of your entire Google Chromebook

If necessary, you can also choose to alter the zoom of your entire Chromebook (excluding those few apps which do not conform to your Chromebook’s zoom settings). This can be handy if you find yourself constantly zooming in or out from pages whilst using your Chromebook, and would prefer to simply set a universal zoom level to be repeated across the device.

  1. To edit the default zoom settings of your entire Chromebook using the keyboard, you must follow a similar process to using the trackpad to change one page’s zoom. Here, however, you must also involve the SHIFT key
  2. To zoom in, simultaneously hold the CTRL and SHIFT keys, then press PLUS (+) as many times as necessary until you reach your desired zoom level
  3. To zoom out, simultaneously hold the CTRL and SHIFT keys, then press MINUS (-) as many times as necessary until you reach your desired zoom level
  4. To reset your Chromebook’s default zoom, simultaneously hold the CTRL and SHIFT keys, then press ‘0’
  5. It is also possible to edit the Chromebook’s default zoom settings/screen size in the Chromebook’s settings.
  6. To do so, click on the time in the bottom-right corner of your Chromebook, and then select the cog-shaped Settings icon
  7. In the Settings window, scroll down to ‘Appearance’ and click ‘Page Zoom’. From the drop-down menu, select a percentage larger than 100% to make your Chromebook screen size bigger, or a percentage smaller than 100% to make the screen smaller.

Note: Altering your Chromebook’s default zoom settings will ensure that every website, your desktop, and Android apps adheres to your new zoom settings. Unfortunately, this change doesn’t affect Linux or any Chrome Web Store apps.

And there you have it, a variety of different methods to help you learn how to zoom in and out on just one page, in the Chrome app only, or across the majority of your Chromebook’s windows, allowing you, in turn, to read and interact with your device more comfortably, and to know what to do when an unexpected change in zoom occurs.

Frequently asked questions

Why would I need to zoom in or out on my Chromebook?

Chromebooks, like any PC, are designed to be accessible and as easy-to-read as possible. Given the smaller size of their screens, compared to other laptop brands, however, sometimes you may find that text or images appear too small for you to comfortably read. Alternatively, you may find things too cluttered, large, and clumsy, and wish to decrease your Chromebook’s default zoom level. It is of course also possible that you have adjusted the zoom accidentally, without knowing how, or have loaned your Chromebook to someone, only to get it back and find that the screen size has been changed. These are just a few of the many reasons you might want to know how to zoom in and out on a Google Chromebook.

Will adjusting the zoom cut anything on the screen off?

Yes and no. When you adjust your Chromebook’s zoom settings, whatever app, page, or tab you are in will adjust accordingly, restructuring the page as needed to keep everything in view… up to a point. Once you’ve zoomed in far enough, your Chromebook will be forced to start showing you only some of the page, and you will have to access the rest of it via a horizontal scrollbar. Of course, in zooming out from 100% you will lose none of the screen, for it will all become smaller.