“Magnifying” an Online Image — Mark Morton

One of the challenges of displaying images on the web is that there are occasions where the required size and detail of an image exceed that which can be handled by the typical computer (or projector) screen. Most web browsers offer a partial solution: if you insert a very large image, the browser will reduce the size of the image to something that fits onto your screen — then, if you click the image, the full-size version will appear, and you can pan around it. The disadvantage of this solution is that you only have only two choices: you can see detail by choosing the large image, or you can see context by choosing the smaller image — but you can’t see detail in context.

A better solution, at least in some situations, might be to use a magnifying effect, such as that offered by Magic Toolbox. Their Flash-based “Magic Magnify” tool displays a normal-sized image, but any section of that image can be seen in detail by rolling the cursor over it. I’m not able to demo this tool in WordPress (the platform of this blog), but you can see three examples that I’ve created here.


The Centre for Teaching Excellence welcomes contributions to its blog. If you are a faculty member, staff member, or student at the University of Waterloo (or beyond!) and would like contribute a posting about some aspect of teaching or learning, please contact Mark Morton or Trevor Holmes.

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Mark Morton

As Senior Instructional Developer, Mark Morton helps instructors implement new educational technologies such as clickers, wikis, concept mapping tools, question facilitation tools, screencasting, and more. Prior to joining the Centre for Teaching Excellence, Mark taught for twelve years in the English Department at the University of Winnipeg. He received his PhD in 1992 from the University of Toronto, and is the author of four books: Cupboard Love; The End; The Lover's Tongue; and Cooking with Shakespeare.

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