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Photoshop Elements 2 Zoom Tool

Photoshop Elements 2 Zoom Tool

zoom icon

Used to change the image’s magnification
Found at #26 in the Toolbar diagram at left


Clicking in the image when the zoom tool has been selected in the toolbox will increase or decrease the magnification of the image by a preset amount. The change will be centered on the spot clicked. Repeated clicking will continue to increase or decrease the magnification. If you reach the maximum amount available, the center of the zoom tool’s cursor will appear empty.

To reduce magnification, hold down the Alt key and click in the image, or choose the minus icon in the tool’s options bar. Decreases will be in preset increments. Repeated clicking will reduce the image farther.

To temporarily access the zoom tool while using other tools, press Ctrl-spacebar to zoom in (increase magnification), or Alt-Spacebar to zoom out.

Note – if your Alt key does not appear to be working in Elements, you may have another program running in the background that has taken over that key. GuruNet (Atomica) and FlySwat are two such applications. Uninstall them, or reassign the hot key in those programs to regain use of the Alt key in Elements.

You can drag a selection rectangle with the zoom tool, and that part of the image will be magnified to fill the screen. This is my preferred way of zooming.

Double clicking the zoom tool icon in the toolbox will cause image magnification to go to 100 %.

Other ways to change image magnification include using the Navigator palette, or typing an exact amount in the box at the extreme left corner of the status bar, and then pressing Enter. Double clicking the Hand tool’s icon in the toolbox will cause the image to resize to fill its window.

The keyboard shortcut for this tool is the letter Z.


The illustration below is the zoom tool’s options bar. Click on the plus icon, or minus icon to choose whether to zoom in, or zoom out.

If you choose Resize Windows to Fit, the image window will resize along with the image as you make it larger of smaller.

Choosing Ignore Palettes will allow the magnified image to expand under any open palettes. You’ll need to press the Tab key to make your palettes disappear if you want to see those parts of your image. Press Tab-Shift to make the palettes disappear, but leave the toolbar. Press Tab again to bring them all back.

The three buttons on the right end of the options bar give you other magnification options.


If you have doodled with a tool’s options and want to get back to the default settings, click that tool’s icon at the far left end of its options bar. Choose either Reset Tool to reset only the current tool, or Reset All Tools to restore default settings to every tool.

Please note that all descriptions, and illustrations featured refer to files which are in Photoshop’s .psd format, and which are in RGB color mode. Other file formats, and color modes may generate different options. Some Photoshop features are not available for images not in .psd format, or RGB color mode. To find what color mode your image is in, choose Image > Mode.