I love my 13 inch Macbook Air to death. I also feel as if I’m blind when I try to read on the damn thing.
That’s why learning to set the zoom levels on a browser is so valuable. Most browsers respond to Ctrl + and Ctrl – to zoom in and out of pages (Tip: Press Ctrl 0 to reset zoom to normal levels). Most of the good ones like Chrome also remember the zoom setting for any particular web page – which is a great if you ever revisit the page again.
The thing is – many a time, you’ll end up on a web page where you’ve never visited before, and then you’ve got to do the zooming song and dance again.
What a drag.
Now you might be thinking – yeah the text is small, but I can read it, so what’s the big deal?
Well try zooming in on text just a little bit and you’ll suddenly find that everything’s so much easier to read. Keep at it a while and you actually feel less tired and more productive.
So how do you set a DEFAULT zoom level on your browser so that all web pages have a zoom factor already automatically applied to it when it loads?
1. How to set the default zoom level in Chrome
Autozoom is my weapon of choice on Chrome, and this free simple extension will allow you to quickly define how much zoom you want all your pages to have, tweaked right from a discrete button near the address bar.
2. How to set the default zoom level in Internet Explorer
Interestingly enough, unlike most things involving IE, setting the default zoom on that browser is incredibly simple. Just find the magnifying glass icon on the bottom right of your browser and select the default zoom.
3. How to set the default zoom level in Firefox
Default FullZoom Level is probably the most powerful of all the extensions on this list. Let me tell you why I love this add-on. Yes, setting zoom levels can easily be set just like on all the other browsers, but here’s what sets it apart: One of the issues most people have when zooming web pages is that images have the potential look incredibly ugly and pixelated once blown up. To address this, you can configure it to ONLY zoom text, so it leaves your pictures unzoomed.
It also has some nifty features like ˜fit-to-window’ which automatically selects the optimal zoom for that particular web page so you don’t have to bother experimenting. This extension really gets two thumbs up for ease of use and power.
4. How to set the default zoom level in Opera
Just like IE, you configure the default zoom levels by selecting that same magnifying glass at the bottom right of your browser. It is slightly more feature filled than IE though and has Fit-to-Width capability as well.
What should your default zoom level be? This differs from person to person, and really depends on the sites you visit, but I typically set my default zoom at 130%.
Do you use browser zoom to read the web? Tell us about it in the comments :)
Update: 18/6/2011: Check out this video response!