ZoomIt is a powerful zoom tool which works in all versions of Windows.
It provides features like annotation, timer, and more…Read the previous two articles before you read this.
Estimated reading time 4 min
The ultimate zoom tool
This is a utility available on Sysinternals on TechNet. Latest version is 4.5a (at the time of writing this article). Just 296 KB in size, but big on features.
Just unzip it and run the zoomit executable file. Nothing happens!
Here is how you use it.
Change the settings
When you run it, ZoomIt just sits as a system tray icon. Open the system tray icon menu and click on the ZoomIt icon. Choose Options.
ZoomIt offers two types of zoom. A static zoom and a dynamic zoom (called LiveZoom).
Static zoom means, the current screen is frozen when you zoom and it becomes a static image. You can move around but you cannot interact with any screen elements or menus. It is just a snapshot. I don’t find it very useful for live demos. So I don’t use it.
By default it has a shortcut key. Click there and press delete – it will show none. This is important. Otherwise if you press that hotkey by mistake, it will confuse you during a live presentation.
Now go to LiveZoom tab and set a hotkey. I like ALT Z as the hotkey because it is very convenient. You choose what you like. Make sure you don’t use a commonly used hotkey in any of your regular applications. Those keys will be overridden by this hotkey.
The two checkboxes are already selected. If you are a trainer you will need it often. Let it load itself when windows starts (when you login).
Use the hotkey to zoom in and out.
Ctrl PgUp or PgDn increases or decreases the zoom level.
You can draw or type on the screen while it is zoomed in.
Go to the draw tab and set the hotkey to enter Drawing Mode. I like Alt Z key because it is near the Zoom hotkey.
Warning: Any hotkey containing the ALT key has a disadvantage. If there is any open menu, dropdown or gallery, it will close. ALT happens to be the universal menu killer key.
Therefore, you have to remember to zoom BEFORE you open a menu. However, if annotation is required while a menu is open, using ALT key for the Annotation shortcut is not a good idea. Use some rarely used CTRL key combination instead.
Once in the drawing mode, mouse cursor goes away and you see a small dot. That is your drawing cursor. By default it is a thin, red line.
You can change colors by just typing the first character of different colors. You can also draw a line, arrow, rectangle or circle using the shortcuts shown.
Undo works as expected. But E to erase everything you have drawn.
Learn all the shortcuts and practice them.
If you want to save your piece of annotated art, press CTRL S. Amazing … is it not?
May be you can use this image in your next presentation or training material.
Remember that the thickness of the lines can be changed.
You can choose the font in options.
No special hotkey is required to invoke Text mode. Just use the Draw hotkey and type t to enter into text mode. Now you can position cursor anywhere by clicking and type.
Remember to change the color BEFORE you go into Text mode. If you try to change color by typing B, G, etc. while in text mode, it will TYPE those letters
With all these features you can have a more effective and complete zoom experience.
As though all this was not enough, this tool also gives you a break timer.
What is a break timer? When you take a break, say for 15 minutes, most participants never come back on time. They just keep hanging around in the refreshments area and keep peeping inside. If they don’t see enough people inside the room, they think there is more time and continue to hang around – having more food, coffee or gossip!
To avoid this, it is always a good idea to show a nice and big timer on the projector screen. I agree that it wastes precious power but that is the only option you have.
I use a separate tool called XNote for this. But ZoomIt also have nice options for the timer.
I like to use a big timer in the center with the desktop faded. That maintains the continuity and shows remaining time clearly.
Showing elapsed time after expiration is a good option. That makes the late comers feel bad and hopefully compel them to return on time in the next breaks!