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Moving over to a mac from windows and one feature I really enjoyed was being able to map my scroll up and scroll down keys and (+) and (-) respectively.

Then, while in a web browser or picture preview I could hold ctrl and scroll up and down to zoom in and out.

I have been having trouble implementing this for my mac. I tried the better touch tool but can't seem to make it work with that.

I also tried System Preferences->Accessibility->Zoom to change the settings there but it does not increase the size of whatever I am viewing, it just actually zooms in the entire computer screen (which is an unwanted effect).

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Some programs may allow you to use cmd+scroll to zoom in or out (it works in Firefox at least)

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There are two types of zoom. The one you most likely ran into was the full-screen-zoom, and you're correct, it's not what you're looking for. The other one is per-application zoom. The short answer is that an application must support using scroll to zoom, there is no system setting for this. The pinch to zoom is included as a system setting as convenience to the user.

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