I'm trying to get an Ubuntu laptop functional for a visually impaired friend. Her impairment is such that a screen magnifier would solve the issue. I've tried out Kmag (as its the only hit when searching the software center for "magnifier"), but it seems odd the Ubuntu lacks a default. So I'm assuming I'm missing something obvious.
Unity (until Ubuntu 17.04)
CompizConfig Settings Manager
To use magnifier in Ubuntu, you can do so by using CompizConfig Settings Manager. If you don't have it installed, you can do so from the Ubuntu Software Center.
Or, just press Ctrl+Alt+T on your keyboard to open Terminal. When it opens, run the command below.
sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager
You can also use Synaptic Package Manager
Once you invoke the program, look under Accessibility for magnifier, and click on it to configure it.
Or you can try Virtual Magnifying Glass 3.5
I found a simple solution that is working very well for me. I installed
xzoom from the default repositories.
The usage is very simple, and exactly what I wanted:
- place the window where it does not disturb you.
- "drag" your mouse cursor from within the window to the spot of the screen you want to magnify.
Additional note: I'm on Ubuntu 14.04 and before discovering
xzoom, I tried the approaches suggested in the accepted solution. My experiences:
ccsmI failed to find the "Magnifier". Under "Accessibility" I have an "Enhanced Desktop Zoom", but it is not really clear to me how it works, and I don't like to enable a global shortcut for this.
- The Virtual Magnifying Glass is not in the repositories, and the downloaded version does not like my
libgdk_pixbuf-2.0.so.0(at first it did not find my installed
LD_LIBRARY_PATHturns out that it is not a 64-bit executable...).
Another alternative I found is
gpick, which is also available natively on Ubunutu. It works by showing a zoomed in window in the left area -- and the zoomed area follows the mouse cursor:
Compared to xzoom it seems to lack the possibility to scale and resize the zoom window, but offers the additional feature of picking pixel colors -- which sometimes is a related use case for me.
With Cinnamon desktop
I'm visually impaired (I have Cone Dystrophy and thus my central vision is gone and I absolutely have to use full screen zooming to use a computer). This was my solution:
First of all, get rid of Unity and install the Cinnamon desktop; it's a much better interface anyway IMNSHO:
Once you have that installed, you can install Tobias Quinn's excellent gnome-shell-mousewheel-zoom.
This will provide Compiz-style mousewheel zooming functionality with Cinnamon.
Another alternative is to use Linux Mint which is an Ubuntu-based distro with Cinnamon built in by default.
If you choose this option, you simply have to add the Tobias Quinn PPA and install the gnome-shell-mousewheel-zoom package.
Canonical has abandoned visually impaired users and their actions are, to say the least, reprehensible and shameful. Every other OS creator provides quality full-screen zooming support for visually impaired users but since the advent of Unity, the actions of the devs of Ubuntu indicate that they no longer care about those users. I'll continue to use Ubuntu-based distros but Unity is now permanently on my "no-fly" list.
Gnome Shell / Ubuntu 17.10+
In Ubuntu 18.04 you don't need to install anything.
From there, scroll down to the Universal Access section.
Then setup the 3 keyboard shortcuts you wish to use for the magnifer:
- turn on/off zoom, zoom in, and zoom out.
Literally every UNIX X11-enabled system typically has a set of tools, including a magnifier utility in question. Of course, nowadays most of them look quite old-school, but anyways they do what they were meant for. Here it is:
$ which xmag /usr/bin/xmag $ man xmag | egrep -A1 '(NAME|AUTHOR)' NAME xmag - magnify parts of the screen -- AUTHORS Dave Sternlicht and Davor Matic, MIT X Consortium.
This might not be the answer you want but so you know there is also the gnome-shell magnifier which would require you to install gnome-shell and remove unity in Ubuntu.
I wrote a how-to on installing gnome 3.10 on ubuntu on my blog which might be useful if you are interested in trying this out. GNOME Shell 3.10 magnifier has focus and caret tracking as well as mousetracking which I think is not offered by many.
However, the caret and focus tracking settings are still controlled via gsettings in case you want to turn either of them off and cannot find out where to do that. Additionally the magnified view cannot provide a scaled level of magnification at the moment so expect larger magnification levels to lead to a lower quality graphic until that is improved.
More information about that is in another post about GNOME Shell's magnifier scaling which may be of use to you. It also explains how to scale the desktop view via gsettings without any magnifier at all.
I am not aware of any default screen magnifier in Ubuntu.
In many applications you can hold Ctrl then scroll the middle mouse button to zoom the screen, or pressing +/-.
I have upvoted your question because I would also like to know of a better alternative to Kmag and I'm sure many other users would too, especially those in similar situations to your friend.
To me, Virtual Magnifying Glass is the best for portable computers.
Yes, as reported in a previous post, there is a specific problem with Ubuntu LTS 14.04 Trusty 64 bit (no problem with older 64 bit versions of Ubuntu, neither with 32 bit versions). If you dont feel like compiling the source of VMG, you may manually install the contents of the i586.rpm of the 3.2.1-1 version. The application executable file was "magnifier" instead of "vmg", and it works under Trusty 64 bit. Compared with the latest versions of VMG, you will lose direct control of zoom factor by mouse wheel in the magnified window, that's all, and this older version of VMG is still the best inmho.
For Ubuntu 16.04
Press Ctrl + Alt + T
The terminal opens, type
sudo apt install compizconfig-settings-manager
Go to Ubuntu icon on Top Left corner of desktop
Click on it and type compiz
Click on the compiz icon that appers in the window
The following window opens:
Click on OK
Go to Accebility --> Enhanced Zoom Desktop --> Tick the box
Click on Enhanced Zoom Desktop
Click on Zoom In Key --> Disabled
Tick the box Enabled
Click on Grab Key Combination
Ctrl + F7
Click on OK
Click on Zoom Out Key --> Disabled
Tick on the box Enabled
Click on Grab Key Combination
Ctrl + F6
Click on OK
Close the window
From now on
to Zoom In press
Ctrl + F7
and to Zoom Out press
Ctrl + F6
USE DEFAULT OPTION. No need to install anything extra In UBUNTU 18.04 LTS,. It is lot more easier than ever.
Magnify a screen area
Magnifying the screen is different than just enlarging the text size. This feature is like having a magnifying glass, allowing you to move around by zooming in on parts of the screen.
Step 1: Open the Activities overview and start typing Universal Access.
Step 2: Click on Universal Access to open the panel.
Step 3: Press on Zoom in the Seeing section.
Step 4: Switch Zoom to ON in the top-right corner of the Zoom Options window.
You can now move around the screen area. By moving your mouse to the edges of the screen, you will move the magnified area in different directions, allowing you to view your area of choice.
You can quickly turn zoom on and off by clicking the accessibility icon on the top bar and selecting Zoom.
You can change the magnification factor, the mouse tracking, and the position of the magnified view on the screen. Adjust these in the Magnifier tab of the Zoom Options window.
After installing a lot of applications, now I am using gnome-shell-mousewheel-zoom from Tobias Quinn. Download the package, install it, and use Alt + mouse wheel to zoom in and out.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:tobias-quinn/gsmz sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install gnome-shell-mousewheel-zoom