Is there anyway to zoom in on only a portion of an image without enlarging the entire document?

I know that you can create a second window for the same document, put the windows side by side, and zoom in on the second window, however you can't see the cursor, and the changes don't update in real time.

What I have in mind would be kind of like a magnifying glass effect, and the purpose would be to make detailed adjustments or selections, while still viewing the whole document. If this is possible, maybe it requires a script or 3rd party application?

Thank you for your help!


3 Answers 3


You might find the navigator window helpful. You can pull the window off the tabs, and resize. When you zoom in on the image the navigator displays where you are in the image. It also updates immediately. I often use this functionality when retouching.

enter image description here

You can also drag the square around the navigator window, and the main window will move to that position.

  • Is the update immediate? I feel like it only updates when I release the mouse button/lift my pen and "complete" an action. Maybe it has gotten more "real-time" in newer versions.
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Jan 17, 2018 at 22:05
  • @JPhi1618 It's not updated in real time, but I've found it's immediate enough for retouching purposes.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Jan 18, 2018 at 0:08

Local zoom isn't a feature in Photoshop. This has been a requested feature for some time from Adobe.

The easiest solution to your problem is to use the Windows Magnifier. It has a "lens" mode that works like what you are looking for.

enter image description here

Additionally there are a plethora of freeware options that you could try that might have some better smoothing to avoid the pixelated "stepped" look of zooming in.

  • I've never been a fan of how the lens distorts the screen at specific percentages. That being said, I like this answer for windows users. Commented Jan 17, 2018 at 18:59
  • @LateralTerminal that's impossible to avoid, it's like resizing a jpeg.
    – insidesin
    Commented Jan 18, 2018 at 1:23
  • @insidesin Yes I'm aware. That's why adobe should implement the feature themselves. Commented Jan 18, 2018 at 14:10

Some options: Use 2 windows in Photoshop like you said or find a third party screen magnifying app.

You cannot local zoom in Photoshop.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.