Take OneLoupe around your desktop for a squint-free view | Download Product Review - CNET Download.com

Take OneLoupe around your desktop for a squint-free view

Magnify and zoom in on your PC with this simple, free tool.

Maybe you have a junk drawer, possibly in the kitchen, full of various tools, implements, and odds and ends. One of the things we would expect to see in such a drawer is a magnifying glass, especially if there are other things we hope to see but can't without first magnifying the view. The same goes for Windows: not the glass kind but the software kind. With super-huge LCD screens displaying super-high-resolution images, sooner or later even eagle-eyed PC users have to squint; and if your vision isn't what it once was, the problem is worse. It's simply not practical to change your screen's resolution with every new Web page, so what do you do? Reach into the Windows equivalent of that junk drawer and pull out a magnifying glass, of course! One like OneLoupe. It's ultra-compact, ultra-simple, and even fun to use. It's portable freeware, too.

OneLoupe is a simple program that launches its magnifying window when you click its executable file, simultaneously placing an icon in the system tray. You simply drag the horizontal rectangle and center it with crosshairs over the area you want to magnify. If your mouse supports scrolling, you can zoom in and out with your scroll wheel. Pressing our keyboard's directional arrows resized the selection window. Pressing F11 toggles a full-screen view; again, we simply centered the view with the crosshairs and zoomed in with the scroll wheel. OneLoupe also displays pixels, toggles real-time mode on and off, and provides other options described in a compact Help file. We could set hotkeys, choose normal or real-time operational modes, disable window borders, and change the interface language (ours loaded with German selected, but changing it to English was simple).

Areas magnified by OneLoupe looked fine, with little loss of resolution, though of course your screen and graphics card will influence the quality of what you see. The higher your screen's resolution and the better your graphics capabilities, the better magnified images will look. Clearly, OneLoupe is just the sort of quality tool we want in our so-called junk drawer.

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