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Command + (Zoom in) and Command - (Zoom out) are different from pinch-to-zoom on a trackpad. The former changes the layout of the page, whereas the latter just enlarges the page as if a magnifier was used.

Is there any way to initiate pinch-to-zoom without a trackpad? Any methods such as a keyboard shortcut or an API.

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  • If you looking for an API, Apple has the trackpad API here: developer.apple.com/library/mac/documentation/Cocoa/Conceptual/…
    – fsb
    Apr 20 '16 at 15:54
  • I am not familiar with OS X programming, but on Windows, you can simulate mouse movements by sending the events to the application using SendMessage() or PostMessage(). Is such thing possible with OS X? I want to send the some kind of 'pinch-to-zoom occurred' event to Safari. Apr 21 '16 at 4:00
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Not sure if this is a proper solution since it involves Logi Option app (for setting up Logitech wired/wireless keyboards and mice). But it works for me with my MX Master 2S mouse.

I found out that the Zoom function in Logi Option app does the same thing as a pinch zoom on trackpad. It's vector kind of zoom - not pixelated like bitmap zoom. I've assigned my Gesture Button for "Zoom using scroll wheel" (hold down Gesture Button and scroll up/down for zooming in/out).

There is also a quicker Smart Zoom option for one-click, one-level zoom.

Logi Option Zoom mimics pinch zoom on trackpad

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I am using Apple Magic Mouse.

In Settings > Mouse > Point & Click, there's a check box to turn on Smart Zoom that allows you to double-tap (tap not click!) the Magic Mouse and it zooms just like the trackpad. It zooms the whole page.

Mouse settings

I'm not sure about other Mouse brands though. I will update if I try another mouse.

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My mouse has a scroll wheel as its middle button. For zoom out or in I can use command with scroll up or down.

I don't remember if that was the default behavior, or I selected it at some past time.

This is set at:

System Preferences > Accessibility > Zoom

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  • 10
    This seems to enlarge the entire screen as a bitmap. The difference is that pinch-to-zoom enlarges the web page's text as vectors. So the former makes the text blurry, but the latter does not. Apr 21 '16 at 3:56
  • That's right. All of these answering and describing macOS wide accessibility zoom feature. The pinch-to-zoom trackpad operation triggers a zoom-in apps that support it. (like Chrome, Preview, Word, etc) I haven't yet found a solution on how to emulate this.
    – Chris
    Dec 18 '19 at 23:28
  • It now seems to be Control, not Command. But you are right, it zooms the bitmap (the entire window, not the entire screen), not the vector graphics.
    – GEdgar
    Dec 19 '19 at 1:15
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If you are willing to buy a new mouse from Logitech you can get the desired feature without the apple trackpad. Make sure that you are buying a mouse with 'Logitech Options' support. You can program the actions in multiple ways and it provides many gestures. https://www.logitech.com/en-ca/product/options

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I made Mac Mouse Fix.

It lets you simulate pinch to zoom by scrolling on your mouse while holding the command key (⌘) on your keyboard, among other cool features.

It's also 100% free, light on system resources, easy-to-use, and fully open source.

Download | GitHub

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Hold down CTRL and Scroll on your mouse !!

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  • No, it just scrolls the page. Added: after reading the comment of 'GEdgar'', I found this answer to be the same as his. Apr 21 '16 at 3:53
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It is Option zoom! Not command or control zoom. It took me a long time to figure this out! I just went from a MacBook to an iMac, and this was a frustrating thing to figure out without a trackpad. Just hold down the option key and use one finger on your magic mouse moving up and down. This will "pinch zoom" as your MacBook with trackpad does.

I used pinch zoom and now option zoom primarily with docs or iPhoto where I want to see more or fewer photos on the screen and actually change their size I'm viewing. Option zoom does nothing while on a Safari screen for instance, just as pinch zoom didn't.

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    Not working for me, I'm using Mojave...
    – MiDaa
    Jun 2 '19 at 15:18
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Hold Command and press "+" or "-"

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