Sometimes you just have to see the details more closely.

  • Use the + key to zoom into the viewing area, from 1X all the way to 64X
  • Use the - key to zoom out

Now there is no pixel that can hide from you!

You can always see the current magnification in the info bar.

Retina and Non-Retina mode

In a Retina display, you have 4 pixels per point (1pt = 4px). The Mac always works in points and won’t let you zoom into the individual retina-pixels. This is where the special mode of Lens comes in handy. Using the ~ (Tilde) key, you can toggle between Retina and Non-Retina modes.

You can tell your current mode by looking at the info-bar.

On a retina display, when you switch between retina and non-retina modes, you will see the individual pixels of a point. You can navigate points or pixels with the arrow keys on your keyboard.

Note On a regular display (1pt = 1px), there would be no visual difference in either mode. The only change would be in the units (pt vs px) in the info-bar.

Pixel Grid and Crosshairs

At a magnification level of 4X and above, you will start seeing the pixel grid. The pixel grid makes it easier to see the pixel boundaries.

You can toggle this grid from the toolbar. To see the toolbar, just hover your mouse inside the Lens window.

Similarly you can also toggle the center crosshair lines.

  • G to toggle pixel-grid
  • H to toggle crosshairs

Mouse Locking and Freezing

By default, the Lens view changes based on where the mouse is. To prevent that, you can lock the lens view to a specific mouse location. However, you can still change the view with the arrow keys. You can toggle mouse-locking with the M key.

Tip If you want to examine an area closely, it is easier to move the mouse to a rough location. You can then lock the mouse and use the keyboard to fine tune the final location.

You can take the mouse locking idea a bit further by freezing the Lens. In this case, you cannot change the view either by mouse or keyboard. You cannot resize the lens window or zoom in or out. You can toggle freezing with the F key.

Tip Freezing the lens is useful if you want to examine a frame of a video or an animation.

Window Management

The Lens tool is made up of 3 windows (main, color-palette and info-bar). The main window, the largest of the three is where you see the live desktop view. You can Click+Drag on this area and move it anywhere on your desktop or even across monitors. The info-bar can also be used to move the Lens.

You can resize the main window from any of the 4 sides. Hold the Option and Shift keys to get some Mavericks specific window resizing behavior.

Hit the I key to toggle the info-windows: color palette and info-bar. This leaves you with just the minimal main-window, which is great for that spartan look!

Pixel Navigation

Use the keys to move 1 pixel in any of the four directions. Hold the Shift key to move by 10 pixels.