Tip o’ the Week #152 – Zoom, Zoom!

clip_image002If you ever see someone make a presentation or give a demonstration, who says “you can’t see this, but…” or “this is an eye test, but…” then you have to ask, well why are you showing it (or trying to)? Better still, throw things at them and make a jolly good scene.

If you’re presenting, don’t use small fonts and don’t put diagrams on screen that people sitting more than 6 feet away won’t be able to decipher – unless you make the point that you’re only including the slide for future reference when you give the audience the slides: and move on quickly. Oh, and think about your screen resolution too: 1600×900 might look fine on your desktop monitor but it’s not so good when the audience is far away.

When you do demos, take a tip from one of the gods of the big-stage presentation world, who regularly shows very in-depth technology (code, registry, lots of programs with very small fonts and densely packed hexadecimal numbers, etc) that would normally have people bored rigid.

Mark Russinovich (a very technical fellow) regularly presents at TechEd type events in front of thousands of cheering fans, who queue to get to the front of his sessions. And for a the best part of a decade, Mark has been showcasing one of his own tools during his demos – originally, without even saying what he was doing. He got so many people asking him what was that tool that made it so easy to see the tiny tiny text on screen, that he released it and now often mentions it whilst he’s presenting.


Thanks to David Weeks for highlighting this tool; it’s free, it’s small (and you can “run” it from the website so you might be able to fire it up on any PC you’re using for presentation). Check it out here. The ZoomIt tool allows you to – using shortcut keys – zoom in to wherever the mouse is, to draw/mark on-screen and numerous other capabilities. Mark uses it to great effect – he’s often one of the top-rated speakers at TechEd, even if he’s in-depth and his style is quite, er, dry. Check out Zoomit, especially with the ability to freeze whatever’s happening, zoom in on it, and be able to annotate what’s seen on the screen.

clip_image003WindowsKey +

Another option is to use the built-in magnify capability in Windows – just press WindowsKey and the plus key. This will fire-up the magnifier utility, and works well with Modern Windows 8 apps too: there’s even a special mode for touch-enabled machines to make it easy to zoom in and out.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, ToW Readers. Normal service will be resumed in January…

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