ZoomIt: Conversation with Vijay Raj

Created: Wednesday, March 17, 2010, posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 10:19 am

Vijay RajVijay Raj is a a Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional) in Setup-Deploy, and a Springboard Series (STEP) Member for Windows 7. He is passionate about technology evangelism, and blogs at msigeek.com. He is also a regular speaker at the user group communities and events.

In this conversation, Vijay talks about ZoomIt, a convenient tool that allows presenters to zoom into a part of their presentation, application, or the desktop.

Geetesh: Tell us more about ZoomIt, and how you discovered this tool.

Vijay: Like many others, I do presentations at offices and user group meets. While doing so, I tend to show programing codes or configurations (or a section of the desktop or even a zoomed in portion of a slide) during some demos. Now, when you have a large audience or a large venue, the audience may not be able to see the little fonts or the small detail that appears on your screen! That’s when you need to zoom in and show them exactly what you are talking about. ZoomIt helps you in doing just that, and it provides options to annotate as well.

Sysinternals, who create ZoomIt provide some amazing tools as a part of their Sysinternals Suite — and ZoomIt is definitely one among them. You have keyboard hotkeys to control the zoom and annotations. ZoomIt runs quietly in the system tray until summoned, and it gets activated whenever you use these hotkeys. Once you zoom into an area, you can move around, draw annotations, and even draw images to showcase a particular section. The best thing I like about this tool is that it is a small download and it can work in almost any machine that runs Microsoft Windows.

I first saw ZoomIt while watching a session by Mark Russinovich (incidentally Mark created ZoomIt), where he used it in one of his demos. That was a wow moment for me — I have been using ZoomIt ever since.

With ZoomIt, I can easily emphasize and showcase some section of my presentation, or the desktop without using a pointing device. I always end up using this tool during my presentations, no matter what size the audience is!

Geetesh: Can you share scenarios in which ZoomIt can be helpful for presenters within PowerPoint, and beyond.

Vijay: ZoomIt can be used anywhere while presenting. I recollect an incident — I was once traveling back from office by public transport and a few of the passengers were discussing whether Windows 7 would be a hit. After some intense discussions, I thought it was time to pull my laptop out, and show them what this OS is really about! I moved to the last row and several passengers flocked around. ZoomIt was really handy in showing my laptop screen to the people who were sitting 2 seats away from me! That’s so powerful.

You can use ZoomIt in many scenarios wherever you want to zoom, draw, or annotate on the screen. Let me explain more.

Zoom: In this screenshot below, you will see that I have zoomed into my desktop to show the ‘progress status’, which is one of the Aero features of Windows 7. I have also drawn an arrow to showcase this to the audience. This is so much clearer to the audience, rather than asking them to see the bottom of the screen!

Zoom Into A Section

Draw Sections and Annotate: As an IT Professional, some of my demos evolve around the command prompt. In the default command prompt window, the text might not be clear and the audience would hardly see any difference when you show them multiple lines of output. As you can see in the screenshot below, I have actually showcased a schema file and explained that each DLL contains references to their respective virtual DLLs. If you observe, I have created 2 boxes in different colors to show the Virtual DLL groups. This keeps the presentation and demo more lively and interactive, and the audience knows what they are seeing!

Showcasing Different Sections

Also, if you are a developer who needs to do presentations, you’ll have plenty of programing scripts and code snippets to show during a demo. This annotation feature in Zoomit will really be handy.

I have more info on ZoomIt on my site.

Categories: delivery, interviews, powerpoint, presentation_skills

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