Smart Magnifier

Please note for Smart Magnifier to work in macOS you must give permission to UPDD Commander in the Screen Recording section in Security and Privacy. Without this permission you just see the desktop within the magnified area.
When Smart Magnifier is in use on macOS Sonoma, a menu bar icon  is shown to indicate the screen is being recorded.

 Warning issued if permission not set when invoking magnifier  Screen Recording permission set

The Smart Magnifier, introduced in Commander version 1.2.0, is a magnified area of the desktop that allows for accurate touching and control of small desktop UI elements and is available for both macOS and Windows.

This magnifier feature is in addition to the 'Click UI element' function that also offers accurate touching of small clickable UI controls by directing touches to the nearest clickable control to the actual point of touch, thus ensuring the click is generated on the intended target rather than the point of touch.

The Smart Magnifier is especially useful in applications that have many small selectable elements, such as dials or sliders, that have been designed for mouse or trackpad control or are especially small when used on small monitors, such as a mobile touch monitors often used as a secondary monitor.

In the example below, a Digital Audio Plugin is magnified to allow easy and natural control of the plugin controls using touch.

Even the smallest controls, such as the THD control, shown below, can be easily selected and adjusted using touch, even on small portable touch screen monitors.

Without magnification  With magnification



  A introductory video of the Smart Magnifer can be viewed here.

The Smart Magnifier can be instantly invoked with a gesture, such as a Two Finger Tap, directly under the point of touch. With the default configuration, it is also possible to just perform two finger expand where the magnifier is required such that it will appear at the point of touch

The real 'Smart' element of the Smart Magnifier is the way clicks and movements are passed through the magnifier to the underlying application to facilitate natural and accurate interaction. When using touch within the magnifier to generate a click, Commander recalculates the non-magnified co-ordinate needed to click the magnified item and therefore the touch click will be accurate. In Commander version 1.5.1, this feature was further enhanced to allow adjustment in individual applications and to process the full range of gestures within the magnified area.

However, because the magnifier has been developed for touch usage, should a mouse be used within the magnifier, it does not recalculate, so the actual click might be offset from the magnified location of the click. The offset will depend on the location of the click within the magnifier (central clicks will be more accurate than edge clicks) and degree of magnification.

The other 'Smart' element is the manner in which the magnifier can be controlled with touch once on the screen, using gestures to adjust magnification and to toggle on / off the magnifier or to change shape or size.

If you are familiar with UPDD Commander general functionality and configuration, you will know that a default set of gestures and actions are defined against an application entry called Default Gestures. These are the system-wide default gestures and actions that apply to all applications, unless they are overridden by specific named application entries.

Further, an Application entity is further subdivided into sub elements related to the Application user interface such as Menu items, scrollable areas and now, a special Magnifier entry used to configure and control aspects of the magnifier.

With the initial Smart Magnifier implementation, the SM UI element was only defined once under the Default Gestures application list entry as only one set of gestures defined within the magnifier were utilised system wide. However, since Commander version 1.5.1, the Smart Magnifier element is inherited by all defined applications to allow adjustment at the application level.

With the above in mind, and to have a better understanding of how the Smart magnifier works, let's have a look at the settings in UPDD Commander used to configure and control the Smart Monitor...


We believe the Smart Magnifier is a really useful feature, and therefore by default we have configured it to be easily invoked using touch.

To this end, we have defined at the system-wide Default Gestures level two gestures to invoke and control the magnifier:

If the Smart Magnifier feature is not required in your system you can simply delete these entries or change the Action as appropriate.​


With these settings, a Two Finger Tap will toggle the Smart Magnifier on /off and a Two Finger pinch/zoom will adjust the magnification. Default action values are shown but can be adjusted as required.

You can , if required, define different gestues to invoke a different size/shape magnifier. In our tests, we set Three Finger Tap to also toggle the magnifier. However, in the Advanced Options, we set a different custom shape and size magnifier. In this instance, if the magnifier associated with two finger gestures is active, a Three Finger Tap will toggle to the new shape and size and vice versa when using Two Finger tap. Therefore, the toggle option will either toggle on / off or toggle shape / size. In most cases one magnifier shape and size will suffice, but this allows for a number of different magnifiers to be defined and invoked if required.

A Two Finger Expand gesture will also invoke the magnifier if it is not currently enabled. Pinching when the magnifier is at its smallest magnification will also close the magnifier. In this regard, the Adjust Smart Magnifier zoom action can also perform the show and hide actions such that the Show / hide Smart Magnifier action is not absolutely necessary to be defined separately but offers an alternative way in which to show / hide the Smart Magnifier, especially in cases where Two Finger Pinch / Expand is defined at an Application level and associated with a different action.

For applications that require Two Finger Pinch Expand to perform a Zoom, this should be defined​ at the application level. For some applications this will be at the root application level, whereas for others it will be in the 'Scrollable areas' element, such as defined in the Browsers group to pinch/expand web content, and images applications such as Preview to pinch/expand the image. In most cases, these are set as default to ensure correct pinch / zoom operation within the applications.

This example shows the definition in the  Maps application and therefore this gesture performed on a map would zoom the map, rather than invoke the magnifier:

However, once the magnifier is on the screen, the magnifier control gestures will work within the magnifier area due to the gesture definition defined for the magnifier itself, as shown earlier.


The Gesture definitions associated with the magnifier specify what actions are triggered when the defined gesture is performed within the magnifier.

These settings define the gestures and the associated actions triggered when the gesture is performed inside the magnified area.

Commander version 1.2.0 and above
Defined only once at the highest level.
Commander version 1.5.1 and above 
Defined at the highest level and inherited by each application and therefore can be adjusted at the application level - e.g. disabled for a specific application.
The two finger gestures control the magnifier to toggle on/off, move and change magnification and the One Finger actions specify Tap - Left mouse click, Press - Right Mouse Click and Drag - Left mouse press and hold.

These settings mean that all touches within the magnifier will generate clicks, even on application UI elements that might normally be scrolled by drags.

The two finger gestures control the magnifier to toggle on/off, move and change magnification. Thereafter the gestures and actions defined for the application are performed within the magnified area.
Global settings

These settings define the default shape and size of the magnifier area and also its behaviour relating to mouse and touch movements and defines methods to close the magnifier other than the magnifier actions described above.

Shape and Size

Defines the initial shape and size of the magnifier area when it is invoked.

These default settings are used:

  • when using the Adjust Smart Magnifier Zoom action to invoke the magnifier.
  • when using Show / Hide Smart Magnifier action to show the magnifier, set to 'Use shape and size from global settings' in the Advance settings


Indicates various characteristics of the magnifier's behaviour:

Animate motion With this enabled, when using the 'Move Magnifier' action to move the magnifier, the magnifier will move smoothly to the new location rather than instantaneously jumping to the new location.
 Always follow... When enabled, the magnifier window will follow touches. See Notes below.
 Hold still... When enabled, the magnifier remains stationary for touches within the magnifier window but will move with touches outside the magnifier. See note below.
 Do not follow... When enabled, the position of the magnifier window is not affected by touch movements
Mouse When enabled, the magnifier will follow the mouse. Although this could be of use in some cases, the magnifier is predominantly used to allow accurate selection and usage of small UI elements within applications when using a touch screen and therefore this is disabled by default
 Auto hide If defined, the magnifier will close when unused for the number of seconds defined.

Important touch movement notes
1. Its not appropriate for all touches outside the magnifier to move the magnifier, as the magnifier is likely only required when clicking or dragging as opposed to performing a gesture. Some gesture actions need to move the cursor to function correctly, even if it's not a clicking-related function. For example, the scroll, rotate, zoom and smart zoom actions all require moving the mouse cursor over whichever UI element should receive that action, since macOS will send those actions into whichever UI element contains the mouse cursor. It is for this reason that we have restricted magnifier touch movement to those actions that most likely warrant movement, being; click, double click, click and drag and move mouse cursor. All other actions invoked via touch, such as scroll, rotate, zoom, smart zoom, look up in dictionary, swipe between full screen apps, navigate between pages etc will not move the magnifier.
2. If the click action is set to 'No Action' then of course the SM will not move as no click is seen. If, for example, you did not want clicks on the desktop (Finder) you should set the action to 'Move Mouse Cursor' rathet than 'No Action' if you want the magnifier to follow touch.


Allows for a hotkey to be defined to close the magnifier