The Zoom Tool is VERY handy. I use it ALL the time. (To the right, in the picture of the toolbox, I have the Hand Tool and the Zoom Tool surrounded by a red circle. We'll talk about both in this entry.)
Using the Zoom tool doesn’t affect the sizing of the image you’re working with, just how large or small you are viewing it. With the Zoom tool, you can view small parts of a picture as an entire window, or you can quickly go from a close-up view back out to a full-page view. The Zoom tool doesn’t change an image in any way. It just lets you view it however you want.
When the Zoom Tool is selected, the “tool pointer” (the thing that moves around when you move your mouse – would be an arrow or cursor in normal programs) by default looks like a little magnifying glass with a plus (+) in the center. (This represents that it’s going to zoom in closer.) Clicking on any area of the layout will zoom in a bit; repeated clicking will zoom in more and more. (Click directly over the area you want to fill the screen, or you will have to scroll once it’s zoomed in.) If you hold down option/alt, the plus (+) turns into a minus (-), and clicking will zoom you OUT little by little. If you don’t want to hold down alt for this, there IS a button you can select in the tool options bar for the magnifier to be a minus by default.
At any time with the tool pointer within the image, you can right click for pop-up options – the options are all accessible through other clicks of the mouse, but this is just an extra place to choose them. Your options in this pop up are the same options as the buttons at the top. (Pop up options are shown in the middle, in the circle. Tool option bar buttons are at the top.)
There are 3 buttons at the top in the tool options bar while you’re in the Zoom tool. These buttons are “Actual Pixels,” “Fit on Screen,” and “Print Size.” These are different ways of viewing your selection. To be redundant, “Actual Pixels,” will show you an approximation of how big this image is in “real life” – no squooshing it in to fit. You will most likely just see a part of the image in this view if it’s a layout. “Fit on Screen” is the most useful, because it will get the entire image squooshed down to view in its entirety on your screen. “Print Size” I guess gives an approximation of what the image would look like size-wise, were it to be printed.
You can click and drag on the specific part of the image you want enlarged: a marquee rectangle will appear and when you let go of the mouse, the part of the image inside the marquee will fill up the window. For example, look at this first picture -- you can see where the marquee rectangle has been formed with the zoom tool. Once I let go, the picture enlarges to the area within the marquee. (see second picture.) If you mess this part up and are stuck looking at like 4 huge pixels in the image window, hit the “fit on screen” button at the top in the tool options bar and try again. (Obviously this only works to enlarge a view, it doesn’t work as a way to zoom back out.)
~ *sigh* Let's take a second to think about how CUTE my son is. I still can't believe that gorgeous little boy is from MY gene pool! . . . Ok, I'm done. ~
You can’t zoom while you’re MAKING selections with another tool (like if you’re halfway through a polygonal lasso outline), but once you HAVE made the selection, you can zoom in. Zooming doesn’t de-select an active selection (except for crop. Your only options for getting out of crop are to “crop image,” or “cancel selection.”) Selections already made will remain active while zoom is the active tool.
A quick way to toggle to the Zoom Tool from other tools is by simply pressing the “Z” key. This is an EXTREMELY useful shortcut. (Especially when you also realize that pressing the “V” key will select the Move Tool, “L” will select the Lasso, and “M” will select the Marquee tools. If you’re going back and forth between these you’re going to save a LOT of time with the keyboard shortcuts!)
Now the Hand Tool (next to the Zoom Tool in the ToolBox – umm, it looks like a hand) is really useful when you’re zoomed in on an image and you want to look at a different PART of the image. (The Hand Tool shortcut is “H.”) Pretty much the Hand Tool lets you grab and move an image so you don’t have to use the scroll bars to find the part of the image you’re looking for. The Hand Tool doesn’t work on an image that is being fully viewed – it’s only to move around the VIEW of the image within the window, it doesn’t change the placement of the image (it won’t move the image out of the window like this, like if the first image were the regular window and the second was a moved image with empty window space around it [see right, the picture of Jake and my dad] like you can with layers.)
I think this is also a good place to tell you that you can view two different windows of the same image at once, one zoomed way in and the other reflecting the entire image! With your image open, select from the main menu: “Window > Documents > New Window.” This opens up a second viewing of the same image. (The second window isn’t a new FILE, just another way to view the original.) Whatever you do to one will show up in the other! You can close either one at any time without saving, as long as one is left open. This prevents you from having to toggle back and forth to see how small changes will affect the image as a whole, and zooming in and back out over and over. (see picture for how this would look on your screen.)