ICT in Education Main Headline

Introducing ZoomIt, and how it can help improve presentations

中文摘要 / Summary in Chinese

ZoomIt is a free, simple, lightweight software which runs almost invisibly on any Microsoft Windows-powered computer. It allows users to ‘zoom’ into parts of the computer’s screen and make annotations, which can be especially useful for presentations, teaching, and technical demonstrations. Here is a look at the main features of this simple but essential application, developed by Microsoft employee Mark Russinovich.

– Downloading, installing and configuring ZoomIt
Anyone can download ZoomIt from this Microsoft website:

Intending users must select which version they want to install on their computer. Most use the 64-bit Intel version (ZoomIt64). Those with an AMD processor in their computer, should download the ZoomiIt64a version.

ZoomIt overview
ZoomIt runs unobtrusively in the system tray. It can be activated using customisable hot keys, to zoom in on an area of the screen, allowing the user to move around the screen while doing so, and to make on-screen digital drawings and notes in the zoomed area. ZoomIt works on all versions of Windows and supports pen input on tablet PCs.

– Zooming and annotating
To zoom in a particular area of the screen, users should press the respective assigned shortcut key (Ctrl + 1 by default).

Mouse actions (in Zoom mode) Function
Move mouse Guide zoom area
Wheel scroll up/down Zoom in/out
Left-Click Start annotation
Right-Click Stop annotation.

– Drawing and typing (while not in Zoom mode)
To start drawing on the screen using ZoomIt, users should press the respective shortcut key (Ctrl + 2 by default). This function can be used to highlight areas, objects and content displayed on the screen. Here is an example:

Tip: Pressing Ctrl + Z allows the user to undo the last item drawn; Esc cancels the entire drawing.

– Changing colours
Users can change the colours of the markers used for drawing on screen, by pressing specific keys:

Key Colour Example
B Blue
G Green
O Orange
P Pink
R Red
Y Yellow

– Changing effects/shapes
Automatic drawing of shapes and lines is possible on ZoomIt, by pressing and holding special keys:

Hold Key Shape Example
Shift Straight Line
Ctrl Rectangle
Tab Ellipse
Ctrl + Shift Arrow

– Adding text
Users can press T at any time while using ZoomIt, to add text to the zoomed area. By holding down the Ctrl key and rotating the mouse wheel while adding text, it is possible to change the font size.

– Showing a whiteboard or blackboard
To make available a full-screen whiteboard or blackboard, the following shortcuts can be used:

Key To Get
W A whiteboard
K A blackboard

– Countdown Timer
ZoomIt features a countdown timer to build anticipation for exclusive content or to mark the start of a presentation. People delivering a presentation and wishing to ask questions of listeners have the option of adding a time limit for audience answers. The key combination Ctrl + 3 (set by default) allows users to activate this function.

– LiveZoom
LiveZoom is an advanced zooming function. It not only permits zooming in on certain areas, but also guides users through various possible actions on the zoomed part of the screen.

The difference between this function and normal zoom is that the audience can, with LiveZoom, observe where the computer mouse is located screen-wise, enabling audience members to follow closely the presenter’s actions on screen.

Ultimately, presenting is all about communicating with an audience. Mastery of ZoomIt can be achieved in minutes. The application can help students and lecturers to grab the attention of their audience, and improve overall their presentations, ensuring those in attendance can get a better understanding of what the presenter wishes to say.

By IFTM faculty member Dr. Sonny Su