How to Zoom in and out on Images in Photoshop Elements

Photoshop is the most widely used photo editing program available. It is loved and treasured by professionals and amateurs alike.

There are tremendous resources for learning to photo edit and create using Photoshop. You can delve to great depths to create what is in your mind’s eye.

If you are a complete beginner, however, it is wise to start with familiarizing yourself with the program and some of the most important basic tools. The Zoom tool is of incredible value to understand, as detailed editing requires you to be able to use and navigate this tool with ease.

Read on to learn how to use the Zoom tool in photoshop elements. We advise practicing until it feels easy and natural to ensure your continued editing success.

Using the Zoom Bar

In the top right area of your screen you will find the zoom bar (see image). You can simply drag this with your mouse cursor to reach a level of magnification suitable for your work. This has the benefit of not changing the tool that your cursor is currently equipped with.

Photo displaying the Zoom bar, highlighted in magenta in the top right corner of the image

The highest magnification you can achieve in Photoshop Elements is 3200%. However, you only need this level of magnification to edit very large images.

Using the Zoom Tool

Selecting the Zoom tool on the top left-hand side opens the Zoom options menu in the bottom left corner.

You can also use the Zoom tool located on the left-hand panel of Photoshop elements. It looks like a magnifying glass. Your mouse pointer will appear as a magnifying glass with a + symbol inside it. This indicates that you will be increasing the magnification every time you click the mouse. To Zoom out, go to the bottom left-hand corner of your screen, and click the magnifying glass symbol with a – sign. Once this appears on your photo each click will be making the image smaller instead.

An alternative way to access the Zoom tool is to press “Z” on your keyboard, this will then turn your mouse pointer into the magnifying glass and bring up the Zoom options menu.

To change the direction of the zoom tool using your keyboard, press and hold Alt on windows or Option on Mac. This will change the small symbol in the magnifying glass from a + to a – and allow you to make the image smaller without renavigating with your mouse.

Our final piece of advice is a way to target the Zoom tool. For example, if you are working on a particular area and want to view it in more detail, you can, once you’ve brought up the zoom tool, (e.g. by pressing Z on your keyboard) then use the magnifying glass symbol as you would a hairpin, and drag it diagonally across the area you want. This will both center and magnify that area.

Using a Mouse Wheel

Another easy option if you want to gauge the level of magnification rather than work with exact percentages is using your mouse wheel. To do this; hold down the Alt key on Windows or the Option key on a mac and scroll the wheel. Forward zooms in, while backward zooms out.


We hope we have helped demystify the ways of zooming using Photoshop for you and that you can now navigate your images with greater ease. As with all things remember that practice makes perfect so you may need to have guides and advice handy when you start but this will soon become second nature and you will find the methods that best suit your way of working.