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Zoom In or Out Using These Excel Shortcuts (Boss Mode!)

I’m an instructor… OK, I write blog articles too. But a big part of my job involves showing people how to do various things in Excel.

Whether I’m doing Microsoft Excel training in person or remotely using Microsoft Teams or Zoom, there are times when it’s useful to be able to zoom in and give participants a better look at whatever I’m doing.

This article outlines 5 ways to zoom in or out so you can make whatever is in your Excel spreadsheet bigger or smaller.

Use Commands on the Ribbon

The ribbon has a collection of commands that let you zoom in or out while working in Excel. Simply navigate to the View tab and locate the Zoom group.

The Zoom group on the ribbon in Excel

Here is what each of the commands does:

  • Click the Zoom button in the View > Zoom group to display the Zoom dialog box.
  • Click the 100% button to return to the default (100%) level of magnification.
  • Click the Zoom to Selection button to zoom in (or out) so that only selected cells are displayed.

Use Keyboard Shortcuts with the Zoom Dialog Box

You can also use keyboard shortcuts to display the Zoom dialog box.

Press these keys in sequence:

  • Press Alt to display keyboard shortcuts for the commands in Excel’s ribbon.
  • Press W to activate the View tab.
  • Press Q to open the Zoom dialog box.
The Zoom dialog box

When the Zoom dialog box is displayed, you can type the underlined number corresponding to the level of magnification you want then press Enter to apply the change. (1 for 100%, 7 for 75%, etc.)

Use the Zoom Slider

Many of the Microsoft Office applications have a slider on the status bar, along the bottom of the application window – and Excel is no exception.

The Zoom slider on Excel's Status Bar

Click the plus sign (+) to zoom in, click the minus sign (-) to zoom out, or drag the slider to zoom in or out. Clicking the number (displayed as a percentage) beside the slider displays the Zoom dialog box.

Use the Scroll Wheel on Your Mouse

This method is my personal favorite!

If your mouse has a scroll wheel:

  • Press and hold the Ctrl button while rolling the scroll wheel up to zoom in.
  • Press and hold the Ctrl button while rolling the scroll wheel down to zoom out.
Mouse, keyboard, and ear buds

Use Keyboard Shortcuts to Zoom In or Out

You’ll need Excel 2016 (or later) to use these shortcuts, but they’ll save you time and make you look like an Excel guru!

  • Press Ctrl + Alt + plus sign (+) to zoom in.
  • Press Ctrl + Alt + minus sign (-) to zoom out.

Using these keyboard shortcuts, Excel zooms in or out in 15% increments.

Add Zoom Buttons to the Quick Access Toolbar

Customizing the Quick Access Toolbar in Excel is definitely a power user move – but it can make performing certain tasks a lot easier.

To add Zoom buttons to the Quick Access Toolbar:

  1. Click the Customize Quick Access Toolbar button then select More Commands.
    The Excel Options dialog box appears.
  2. Select Commands Not in the Ribbon from the drop-down menu under Choose commands from.
  3. Select Zoom In from the list of commands then click Add.
  4. Select Zoom Out then click Add.
  5. Click OK.

The screenshot below shows the Zoom In / Zoom Out buttons after they’ve been added to the Quick Access Toolbar.

For your reference, the Customize Quick Access Toolbar button is displayed on the right side of the toolbar, next to the Zoom Out control.

The Quick Access Toolbar in Excel

Use These Shortcuts to Zoom In or Zoom Out Like a Pro!

I hope you’ve enjoyed exploring the various ways you can zoom in or zoom out to focus on different parts of your spreadsheet. Shortcuts like these can help you work much more efficiently in Excel.

Keep in mind that all of the techniques mentioned in this article accomplish the same results. Use whichever methods are most intuitive to you!

By Michael Belfry

Working as a full-time training consultant, Michael provides Microsoft Office courses to government and private sector clients across Canada.