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Zoom Lens is a small application that magnifies the portion of the screen under the mouse cursor. The original version of the program was a desk accessory, but as desk accessories are less powerful than regular applications and can be awkward to use, I've expanded it into a full application program for use in the background under MultiFinder or System 7.

I've received letters from people who've found a lot of uses for this little program, ranging from magnifying displays in a drawing program for extra precision, to enlarging small text to aid the vision-impaired, to just playing around. Hopefully, this new version will be even more useful to an even larger group of people.

Zoom Lens is free-distribute as many copies as you like. All I ask is that you not modify the program, and that you include a copy of this file with each copy you make. And if you include Zoom Lens in a catalog, BBS, CD-ROM, or other software collection, let me know.

I welcome any and all comments about my software, and suggestions for future versions! Send any thoughts or ideas you may have to me at:

Steve Crutchfield
17824 Osprey Pointe Place
Tampa, FL 33647-2275

For a quicker response, you can contact me through the Internet. My address is "". Most on-line services (including CompuServe, AppleLink, and America Online) allow you to send mail to Internet addresses.


Normally, the magnified image in the Lens window is updated whenever the mouse is moved. The Options dialog allows you to specify other times when the window should be updated.

The "Update every ... ticks" option causes the window to be updated at periodic intervals. This is useful if you're running a program-Apple's menu bar clock, for example-that changes what's on the screen without your moving the mouse. If you moved the cursor over the clock without this option activated and left it there, the Lens window would not be updated when the clock display changed. 6 ticks (one-tenth of a second) is a good lower limit for the delay time-more frequent updates will slow down the computer and cause the mouse cursor to flicker annoyingly, without producing a perceptible improvement.

If you're using a word processor or other text-oriented program, you might want to turn on the "Update when a key is pressed" option. This causes Zoom Lens to update its display whenever it detects a keypress. You'd want to use this option if you're trying to magnify text as you type. Without it, the Lens window won't change when you type a character, unless you also move the mouse. (Of course, this option isn't necessary if you're using the periodic updating discussed above with a short enough frequency.)

The third button in the Options dialog, when activated, indicates the position of the mouse cursor in the Lens window with a crosshair. The crosshair is drawn just above and to the left of the pixel which lies under the current mouse "hot spot" (the spot where a click is registered-the tip of the arrow cursor, or the center of the crosshair cursor, for example). This is a useful feature when you're using Zoom Lens to magnify a portion of a graphics document as you edit it, because it lets you see exactly which pixel will be affected when you press the mouse button.

The final option, "Show status panel," turns the display of the status panel-a gray area at the top of the Lens window-on or off. When enabled, the status panel displays the global coordinates of the mouse cursor (relative to the top-left corner of the main screen) and the value of the color underneath the hot spot. Also, the status panel shows an icon indicating whether Zoom Lens is operating in fixed-focus or variable-focus mode (see below).


You can put Zoom Lens in fixed-focus mode by pressing the Caps Lock key. While in this mode, a lock icon is displayed in the status panel (if it's visible), and the Lens window will continue to magnify the same part of the screen, even when you move the mouse away. This feature is useful for working on small, detailed graphics. To return to variable-focus mode (indicated by an arrow cursor icon), press Caps Lock again. If you're in fixed-focus mode and want to change the area of the screen being magnified, simply release Caps Lock, move the mouse cursor to the area you want enlarged, and then depress Caps Lock again.

Zoom Lens allows you to copy the magnified image in the Lens window to the Clipboard at any time, simply by choosing "Copy" from the Edit menu while Zoom Lens is in the foreground, or by pressing Command-C.

If you hold down the Command key while launching Zoom Lens, the program will immediately drop into the background after it loads.


When the "Update every ... ticks" option is on, the mouse cursor may appear to blink or flicker, even when Zoom Lens is in the background. This is normal, and is caused by the fact that the Macintosh briefly hides the cursor when Zoom Lens magnifies the pixels hidden beneath it. To prevent the flicker, simply turn off the periodic update option.

If you have grown the Zoom Lens window so that it fills a large part of the screen, trying to capture the Lens image with the "Copy" command may not work. This is because large images require a lot of memory for storage, and Zoom Lens is pre-configured to use as little memory as possible. To fix this problem, give Zoom Lens a larger memory partition with the "Get Info..." command in the Finder.


Version 1.0 (November, 1991):
* A simple desk accessory that allows the user to magnify an area of
the screen at different scales in a fixed-size window.

Version 2.0 (September, 1993):
* Zoom Lens is now an application instead of a desk accessory.
* The window can now be resized.
* Changes made to the Lens settings are now saved to disk.
* The magnified image in the Lens window can now be copied to the Clipboard.
* The available magnification factors were changed to be more useful.
* Added the "Options..." dialog, allowing the user to specify when the Lens
window should be updated.
* Added the option to display the location of the cursor in the Lens window.
* Release notes were written.
* Various bug fixes and minor changes.

Version 2.0.1 (April, 1994):
* Fixes a problem Zoom Lens had running on black-and-white Macintoshes.
* Zoom Lens will now quit automatically when you choose "Shut Down" from the

Version 2.5 (January, 1995):
* Zoom Lens is now a "fat binary," containing both PowerPC-native and 680x0 code.
* Added the status panel, giving the user the option to display mouse coordinates and pixel colors.
* Added the fixed-focus mode.
* Zoom Lens now draws a crosshair at the mouse location, rather than a rectangle.
* Further bug fixes and minor changes.


Thanks to Michael Kim for the icons.

Thanks, also, to those of you who sent me letters
full of suggestions for this version of the program.

Program and notes © 1995 Steve Crutchfield. sure to check out our other shareware and freeware offerings, including "FirePower," the Power Macintosh screen saver, and "BeamWars(TM)," the award-winning arcade game!

Original file name: Zoom Lens 2.5 Notes - converted on Tuesday, 21 March 2000, 17:51

This page was created using TextToHTML. TextToHTML is a free software for Macintosh and is (c) 1995,1996 by Kris Coppieters