How to Zoom in and Out on Google Docs

Working on Google Docs has become increasingly easy and accessible since the platform launched allowing people to work together and even edit documents together in real time. It is indeed the perfect platform for group projects, family projects and plans and to top it all it is completely free to use. 

While there is little to dislike about Google’s slides, documents and sheets, if you are coming from a world of office, it can take a little getting used to. The user interface has been continually improving and if you need to make documents more accessible to your needs this should not prevent any issues. 

When working in a sitting position for a long time, it is important to implement a good posture and to allow the workspace to be ergonomic to prevent back and neck strain and repetitive strain injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Being able to read at a comfortable distance is paramount for this to be possible and with that the ability to zoon in to a comfortable armlengths reading level is a key tool to help with these issues. 

Luckily there are a number of ways to zoom in and out on a google document, below we will discuss them all to allow you to find a way that suits your work habits best. In the end, we will also discuss how to use the zoom on a tablet or smartphone. 

Using the Zoom Option in the Toolbar 

The zoom tool is available in the toolbar of Google Docs and Google Sheets and the process for using it in both is relatively similar. It supports zooming between 50-200%. It also gives you a fit option that allows you to fit the document onto your screen. 

To use the zoom tool on Docs and Sheets:

  1. Select the 100% bar on the left-hand side of the tool bar
  2. Select the option that fits your needs
The Zoom tool is marked by a red circle, when you click there the menu below appears allowing you to choose “fit”, marked by a blue arrow, which fits the page to your screen or another zoom level. 

The process for Zoom is different on Slides as the tool is not immediately visible. On slides: 

  1. Select View in the top menu
  2. Select Zoom
  3. Note that you are only given the options of fit, 50%, 100% and 200%
  4. You can adjust the zoom further by using keyboard shortcuts
Select view to open the Zoom menu, you can select a pre-set zoom level. 

Using Keyboard Shortcuts 

Keyboard shortcuts work in all Google Drive applications including Docs, Slides and Sheets. It is a very easy way to control your zoom level and does not require you to fiddle with the mouse if you’re busy typing. 

To Zoom in and out using keyboard shortcut follow these simple steps on a windows kayboard: 

  1. Zooming in click Crtl + Shift + + simultaneously 
  2. Zooming out click Crtl + Shift + -­ simultaneously 
  3. To return to a neutral magnification press Crtl + Shift + 0

On a mac, replace Ctrl with command using the same shortcuts.

It is important to note that in Google Slides the zoom function may not work to increase the size of the slide area instead it will increase the size of the menus and sidebars to allow easier viewing of these. You may find yourself zooming in and out regularly to keep your view comfortable depending on where you are focusing and here is where the keyboard shortcuts will shine. 

Zooming with the Mouse Wheel 

This option is only available in Google Docs and is as easy as it sounds; 

  1. To zoom in press Ctrl and toggle the mouse wheel forwards
  2. To zoom out press Ctrl and toggle the mouse wheel backwards

It is a shame this isn’t available in slides and sheets. This may however change with future updates. 

Changing View to Fullscreen

If you are working on a computer, you also have the option of changing your view which can help you optimize your screen. This is available to you in all applications including Docs, Sheets and Slides. 

The view options available are:

Full screen; hides the menu and toolbars 

To enter full screenclick view, as detailed above and then select full screen.

To exit full screen, click esc/ escape. On a touch screen tap and hold to open the context menu then select exit full screen. 

Another view only available in Google Docs is the print screen. This allows you to see your document as it would appear printed with headers and footers. 

Tablet or Smartphone 

The official zoom proposed on Google’s website for both android and apple devices is the same, and applies to all Google applications including Docs, Sheets and Slides. The steps below will outline the process on touchscreens. 

  1. Open the application you want to work with and open the document
  2. Pinch closed to zoom in
  3. Pinch open to zoom out


We hope this article has demystified how to use the Zoom feature in several Google Applications and that you can now use this knowledge to work more productively and to help keep you safe from eyes strain and back pain.