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Use ZoomIt to zoom in and out in any application and to draw on screen
Part three of a three-part series of blogs

ZoomIt allows you to use keystrokes to zoom in and out in any Windows program, and allows you to draw or write on screen.

  1. ZoomIt: zoom in/out and draw on screen in meetings
  2. Downloading, installing and configuring ZoomIt
  3. Using ZoomIt to zoom, draw and show a break timer (this blog)

Posted by Andy Brown on 27 April 2021

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Using ZoomIt to zoom, draw and show a break timer

You can see a complete list of ZoomIt short-cut keys here, but below are the most useful.

Zooming in and out (entering/leaving ZoomIt mode)

To do this, follow these steps:

Step What it involves
Invoke ZoomIt Press the short-cut key you've assigned to start ZoomIt (Ctrl + 1 by default).
Zoom in or out Your screen will appear magnified, but you can rotate your mouse wheel to zoom in and out.
Finish zooming When you've finished, press the same short-cut key again (or just press Esc) to exit zoom mode, or right-click.

Drawing on screen

You can draw on screen by invoking zoom mode as above and then left-clicking with your mouse.  Alternatively, use this short-cut key to draw on screen without zooming in first:

Options for draw mode

By default you can press Ctrl + 2 to draw without zooming.

You can then draw on screen to produce beautiful works of art like this:

Drawing on screen

Your cursor shows up as a dot (here in red).


You can press Ctrl + Z to undo the last thing you drew, or Esc to cancel drawing altogether.

Changing colours

At any time you can choose one of 6 colours:

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

Here are the colours:

The 6 colours

It's not Adobe PhotoShop, but for on-screen drawing it's fine!


Changing effects/shapes

You can draw shapes by holding down different short-cut keys:

Hold down To draw
Shift A straight line
Ctrl A rectangle
Tab An ellipse
Shift + Ctrl An arrow (which starts from the end point IMHO)

Here's an example of each:

Shapes you can produce

This is the limit of the drawing that you can do on-screen, but again, it's enough!


While you're drawing, you can hold down the Ctrl key and turn your mouse wheel to change the line size:

Different line sizes

A drawing with different line widths (Picasso, eat your heart out)


Press Space Bar at any time to reposition the drawing cursor in the middle of the screen.

Adding text

You can press T at any time to add text:

Adding text

The last vertical bar is the cursor.


Hold down the Ctrl key and rotate your mouse wheel while adding text to change the font size:

Changing text size

Just because you can do something doesn't necessary mean you should ...


Showing a whiteboard or blackboard

These make the separate Microsoft Whiteboard program a bit redundant. Press:

Key To get
W A whiteboard
B A blackboard

For the drawing examples shown above, I first pressed W to get a whiteboard.  Remember that as soon as you exit ZoomIt mode you'll revert back to the normal screen.

Showing a timer

If you want to take five during a presentation, you can start a break timer (this is separate from ZoomIt mode):

Timer options

By default you press Ctrl + 3 to start a break timer, but you can change this in the ZoomIt options dialog box.

The Advanced button above allows you to customise your timer further:

Advanced options

You can change the background which appears behind your timer, for example.


Here's what a break timer might look like:

Break timer

Hold down the Ctrl key and use your mouse wheel (or else just use the arrow keys) to increase or decrease the time.


Saving what you've drawn on screen

In the unlikely event that you want to save what you've temporarily drawn on screen, press one of these keys:

Keys What they do
Ctrl + C Copy a screen-shot of the current screen
Ctrl + S Save your current screen to a PNG file

Alternatively, press E to erase everything you've drawn but to stay in ZoomIt mode.


  1. ZoomIt: zoom in/out and draw on screen in meetings
  2. Downloading, installing and configuring ZoomIt
  3. Using ZoomIt to zoom, draw and show a break timer (this blog)
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