I'd like to have the functionality described in this video. Basically, use super+scrollup/down or pinch in/out on my touchpad to zoom in a certain area of the screen like on a phone or tablet.

Sadly I need compiz to get the described effect. How can I zoom in without using compiz?

I'm using Arch Linux with bspwm + compton.

What I've tried:

  • xzoom, which can zoom but spawns a new window instead of zooming in on the spot. Not what I want.
  • KDE's kmag, pretty much the same as xzoom but with a nice GUI.
  • Magnifier, where you can mouse over an area to zoom that area of the screen, which is not really what I want. I want to actually zoom in the whole screen like in the video above.

There's are open issues in compton's repositories:

  • This is ancient. I wonder if you could make it work. Virtual Magnifying Glass. Does the gnome accessibility help?
    – number9
    Commented Jul 16, 2019 at 16:09
  • Also, this github page mangifier seems to be a newer version of the sourceforge one.
    – number9
    Commented Jul 16, 2019 at 16:19
  • Thanks for the suggestions. I tried the software you linked but it doesn't zoom in the whole screen, just a box, which is not what I want. How can I use gnome's accessibility in bspwm?
    – zjeffer
    Commented Jul 16, 2019 at 16:55
  • Ah, I thought you said "to zoom in a certain area of the screen". I am not sure how to use the gnome in bspwm, specifically.
    – number9
    Commented Jul 16, 2019 at 17:22
  • 1
    @number9 That magnifier is intriguing but also puzzling: why are all the files 8 years old? Why only LTS releases for Ubuntu? Why does the github version not provide the source code it used to produce its binaries?
    – Michael
    Commented Nov 18, 2021 at 23:36

3 Answers 3


For a similar zoom as compiz offers, you can resort to xfwm4 (xfce). It does full desktop zoom out of the box by using Alt + mousewheel.

  • The question was about how to achieve it without switching window manager. Commented Jan 12 at 19:23

I do not think there is any other way than these two.

You can either have a window, that contains the magnified part like xzoom and similar tools (some may use windows without border, what may look more like what you want) or a window manager that support zooming. I do not see another way to implement this.


I run Xubuntu 18.04 and I've just learned that it comes with this feature out of the box! So that you just click ALT + mouseWheel to zoom in or out the Desktop.

Caution: It's necessary to have enabled the window manager compositor (see print attached), which, by the way, I had disabled years ago by the time of system installation and only now that I was searching for it, I discovered that this awesome feature was already there!

XFCE Menu >>> Settings >>> Window Manager Tweaks >>> Compositor tab >>> check enable display compositing Compositor tweaks: check enable display compositing

  • 2
    Thanks for your suggestion, but I'm looking for something that works on any window manager. This is just a feature in XFCE's window manager.
    – zjeffer
    Commented Jun 29, 2022 at 13:29

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