Zoom Problem

I’m not exactly sure why, but many of us have problems using Ctrl+Wheel to zoom to increase the size of text in Word (Word 2007 especially, but also in Word 2003) in Vista. I recall having a problem with zooming Word 2007 in Windows XP as well, but not in Word 2003. One of these days, I’ll fire up an old XP computer and see if my memory is correct.

Those of us who experience the problem find that in order to zoom using Ctrl+Wheel in Word, you have to twirl the mouse wheel really hard—a very quick flick. But, the amount of zoom you get is not controllable, since you have to flick hard rather than rotate the wheel in a controlled way. The problem also occurs in Outlook message and Notes areas (not Outlook note items, but in the notes area within Outlook items such as Contacts, Journal, and Task entries).

I don’t know if the problem is specifically IntelliPoint related, but when I remove IntelliPoint (using version 6.2 with a Microsoft Natural Wireless Mouse 6000 or 7000), the problem goes away when mouse control reverts to the default HID mouse driver. Switching to different 5-button Microsoft laser mice, however, does not appear to fix the problem. When I installed my new NWM 700 yesterday, right after inserting the new transceiver dongle, lo and behold, Ctrl+Wheel zoom suddenly worked correctly! However, it said I needed to reboot, and after rebooting, it was broken again.

When I connect the no-name mouse that came with my computer, Ctrl+Wheel in Word and Outlook work perfectly, since that mouse uses the default HID driver. So, it’s clearly some kind of problem with wireless Microsoft laser mice, and probably with IntelliPoint. I don’t have any old optical or ball-based Microsoft mice lying about (I’ve given them away to family members with mouse problems), so I can’t fully test the extent of the problem. However, I’ve seen occasional reports that things work correctly with the Microsoft ball mouse.

In any event, one purpose of this blog entry is for those of you who are also having this problem: you are not alone. As nearly as I can tell, the problem is due to how Word and certain Microsoft mice “talk” to each other. I’d be interested in knowing if other enhanced mice (such as those from LogiTech) exhibit the same zoom problem.

So, if the issue could be resolved simply by switching to the mouse that came with this computer, then why don’t I? I’m addicted to the programmable buttons on my Microsoft mice, and have programmed them to do nifty things, like closing windows/applications, going back/forward in browsers, etc. The mouse that came with my computer doesn’t have extra buttons. Furthermore, it doesn’t have a tilt wheel function for horizontal scrolling either.

So, I remain in search of a solution. I tried X-mouse, but that while it solved the zooming problem, it introduced a number of other problems, so I ultimately retreated back to IntelliPoint.

Mind you, there are other ways to zoom in Word, but they are either too clunky (too many steps) or require too much manual precision. One, for example, is to click the – and + on the zoom slider on Word’s status bar. I’m a bit of a klutz, however, I and keep misfiring, clicking along the line rather than hitting the – and + tools.

In the meantime, I’ve found myself a macro-based keyboard shortcut for zooming that takes a lot of the edge off. I’ve also added tools for the macros, placing them onto the Quick Access Toolbar for zooming that requires less precision-clicking. I’m implemented a similar solution (toolbar only) in Outlook, since Ctrl+Wheel doesn’t cooperate there either.

The macros are quite simple:

Sub ZoomIn()
    On Error Resume Next
    With ActiveWindow.ActivePane.View
        .Zoom.Percentage = .Zoom.Percentage + 5
    End With
End Sub



Sub ZoomIn()
    On Error Resume Next
    With ActiveWindow.ActivePane.View
        .Zoom.Percentage = .Zoom.Percentage – 5
    End With
End Sub


I assigned ZoomIn and ZoomOut to Ctrl+Alt+< and Ctrl+Alt+>, respectively. Note that I’ve set the zoom granularity to 5. The default for the – and + buttons is 10—it’s also that for Ctrl+Wheel, when it works. But, I preferred a little more granularity. I tried 1, but it was a bit too slow. I’ve also put zoom arrow onto the QAT for easy mouse access when the mouse is near the top of the screen.

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6 Responses to Zoom Problem

  1. jbjb says:

    That’s interesting problem you had there – any progress?
    I have another problem which may not be related, but still concerns zooming in Word 2007 and I’m wondering if you had the same effect. I have some nice circular text boxes which the base text wraps around nicely. When I zoom out or in the text boxes actually move slightly so the wrap effect is no longer great as there is no longer a gap between the text box and the base text. Hope that makes some sense!

  2. herbt3 says:

    I haven’t found a solution, though another MVP tells me that he can make the problem occur by enabling hardware acceleration. In theory, that would mean that I could make the problem go away by turning hardware acceleration off. I’ve been through all of the settings here, however — Windows and BIOS — but there doesn’t seem to be a way to turn it on and off. So far, I’m living with the problem, having adapted other solutions to deal with it.

    For your issue, I assume that you’ve set the wrapping to tight. Zooming should not affect the actual position (I inserted a circular text box, checked the position settings, then zoomed and re-zoomed a lot, and the position settings were unchanged), but can affect how it appears on screen. I suspect that any setting other than 100% is not actually WYSIWYG. Still, if things shift too much, then I might suspect that the video driver isn’t handling Word’s zooming and redisplay instructions properly, and would see if an updated video driver resolves the issue.

  3. CK says:

    I found a solution with the Microsoft Arc Mouse that I use. Essentially, I had the same problem where for example, when using Microsoft Word, using Ctrl+Mouse scroll would result in zooming in/out by 170%. I have Microsoft Intellipoint software installed on my laptop. So, I went to Start –> All Programs –> Microsoft Mouse –> Microsoft Mouse. Once the program loads, go to the tab, Wheel. Click On Advanced, ensure the Enabled Accelerated Scrolling box is checked and move the the setting to the extreme left (Slow). Click on Ok and Apply. Open up Microsoft Word and I can now zoom in/out in 10% increments only – exactly what I want.

    Good luck to all..

  4. herbt3 says:

    I’m glad you found something that works for you. Actually using Windows 7, Word 2010, and the Wireless Laser Mouse 7000, I find that Ctrl+wheel scrolls just fine without any extra effort.

  5. Wilhelm says:

    i had the problem, that the zoom function (crtl + wheel) didn´t work in my word 2007, but also only there.
    so i went to control panel -> mouse -> wheel -> clicked on the shortcut next to “advanced”-button and added word. and suddenly my zoom worked again!
    hope this helps somebody…

  6. herbt3 says:

    Interesting. In my Wheel – Advanced… box, the only thing covered is Enable accelerated scrolling. There’s no option to add Word (or any other apps). Which mouse are you using?

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