By default, Internet Explorer is unable to increase font-sizes specified as pixels. Microsoft's proprietary
zoom property can resize text regardless of the units, and also resize images. This article demonstrates the use of the proprietary
zoom property to create a zoom bookmarklet to empower IE users.
Author: Gez Lemon
Both Opera and Gecko based browsers like Firefox can zoom text, regardless of how the font-size is specified, which is useful for people with visual impairments. Opera goes one step further in also allowing graphical elements to be resized too. As some authors insist on putting important information inside images, this is a really useful feature. Unfortunately, IE is only able to resize text when the text size is specified as a percentage, or an em.
Turning it into a Bookmarklet
I read an interesting blog today about how IE can zoom pages like Opera, using the proprietary
zoom property. It's limited in that it only works in IE5.5 and higher (not sure about the Mac). At first glance, I wasn't that impressed as it's a proprietary property and goes against the standards, but it's a useful technique to know. It then struck me that it would make a useful bookmarklet, which could be applied to any page when viewed using IE. Drag and drop the following bookmarklet to IE to test it out.
Zoom Bookmarklet (only run with IE 5.5 or higher).
Slayeroffice - Improved Usability
Shortly after this entry was published, Steve of slayeroffice suggested some features that would make the bookmarklet more usable. Steve suggested the following improvements:
- Use + to increase the text size
- Use - to decrease the text size
- Use * to reset to default
- Specify a maximum and minimum value to stop IE breaking
Steve's resulting zoom page bookmarklet makes the initial idea far more user friendly. Armed with the improved bookmarklet, the next time anyone visits a page in IE that has important information in small images, or text size specified in pixels that is too difficult to read - they can invoke the bookmarklet, and use the keyboard to control the text size. If you try the bookmarklet, it's worth noting that the +, -, and * keystrokes are from the numeric keypad on the keyboard, so you'll need Num Lock on. For obvious reasons, it only works with Internet Explorer (with a polite message if you attempt to run it in another browser), and requires version 5.5 or above. Excellent work, Steve.