The MacView

Virtual Instrumentation from a Mac perspective

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Presentation Mode for LabVIEW

Sorry for the delay in posting. I have several partial articles ready to go, just no time to flush them out (Busy on the next version of LabVIEW, plus my wife and I are expecting twin girls!).

Have you ever used LabVIEW for a presentation, and you had to go in and increase the font size and make things generally bigger so that it was easier to see what was going on. Or maybe you needed to zoom out so you could fit the entire block diagram on the screen (naughty VI writer, all block diagrams should fit on a 17" LCD). Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) has a great way to "zoom" any application.

Open a terminal (/Applications/Utilities/ and type:

defaults write AppleDisplayScaleFactor -string "2"

That will make everything bigger, great for presentations. To shrink everything type:

defaults write AppleDisplayScaleFactor -string "0.5"

You can use any scaling factor you want, and it only affects LabVIEW. To change it back to the way it was, type:

defaults write AppleDisplayScaleFactor -string "1"

This can have unexpected sizing of the menu bar, but mousing around a bit usually fixes it (not all of the kinks in Apple's code have been worked out).

Another method of zooming in that affects all applications is Universal Access Zoom. Open System Preferences (Apple Menu -> System Preferences ...) and choose Universal Access (System -> Universal Access). Select the "Seeing" tab and turn Zoom on.

Whenever you need to zoom in on something, press Command-Option-+ (it says =, but it is really the keys with a plus sign (+) on them, numeric keypad or next to delete). You can zoom to just about any level. To zoom out, press Command-Option-- (minus sign, either on the numeric keypad or next to =/+).

This zooming can come in handy when you are trying to look at a mess of wires (naughty VI writer) and using a CRT (LCDs are crisp enough to see the wires well, in my opinion).

Well, there you have it. Some handy tools in Mac OS X to make LabVIEW (or any app) zoom in or out.

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