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How To: Deliver Impactful Demos. Part 2 – ZoomIt or loose It – Regular IT guy

How To: Deliver Impactful Demos. Part 2 – ZoomIt or loose It

Lets face it – we all do demos as IT Professionals. It doesn’t matter if you are a helpdesk guy/gal who has to help someone complete a task or do something more efficiently OR if you are in a pre-sales consulting engagement and you need to showcase why your solution / services are the way to go.  We all demo – even if we aren’t aware of it.

I have been having a conversation with a number of the folks who do Demos here within Microsoft regarding this series. Their comments range from “Seriously – this stuff is the standard, isn’t it?” to “Aw Man – good point on that one – I never thought of that”.

I’ve obviously struck on something.

In the last post – I talked about Machine Prep and some basics on setup of the demo environment. I ended with a section that talked about VISIBILITY. If the people in the front row yet alone the ones at the back of the room can’t see what you are typing your are dead in the water. Besides command line stuff – what about GUI stuff? I referenced ZoomIt and it reminded me that I could do a whole POST just on how to use this simple tool.

Well – here it is.

ZoomIt can make or Break your demo. It’s not enough to just use it – It has to be fluid and not overused. It has to come across as complementary to what you are talking about and it can’t overtake your delivery. In short – it has to be natural. How? Lets get started with the basics.

Zoomit Download and Setup

On every system you plan on showing as part of your demo – go and download ZoomIt from here. Launch it on each system, accept the software license agreement. At the initial configuration screen – enable the “Run This at Startup” checkbox.


Basic Use

  • Move he mouse to the location WHERE You want to zoom THEN activate the zoom function.  You wouldn’t believe how many people DON’T do this simple first step and end up zooming IN and having to adjust after the fact – causing motion sickness for the audience.
  • After you have targeted the zoom area – press you zoom key. Which one?  CTRL+1 for a static zoom with markup options or a CRTL+4 for a live zoom. (I use CTRL 1 personally.)
  • Don’t move the mouse once you have zoomed in. CLICK the mouse button to lock the screen in place. Now you can move the mouse for accent  options.
    • Click and Drag for freeform line.
    • CTRL+SHIFT for arrow (I use this one a lot).
    • CTRL and drag for boxes
    • TAB and drag for ellipse or circles.
    • ESC key to get back to a live screen / non zoomed screen.

People tend to do two things with ZoomIt during a demo.

  1. Overthink / Overuse ZoomIt. It comes off as unnatural. You’ll have to practice to find your natural rhythm and determine when you are over using it at times.
  2. Load it and forget to use it! It comes as an afterthought when they are done and they take the time to review what they did, only to realize that “crap – you really can’t see that from back there, eh?”

This whole topic is rather visual – so I recorded a quick example of how I use zoomit and configure it on my systems for demonstrations. Have a look – what do you think?

Words of advice – get it, rehearse how you will use it in your demo BEFORE you get up and do something.  Get comfortable with it – honestly – I have ZoomIt installed on my NON demo machines – just so I can use it at times.

We’ll have you working like a pro like Mark Minasi (I’ve seen him have good and bad days with it – mostly good) or the creator Mark Russinovich himself (he’s really good with Zoomit… How could he not be?)

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7 CommentsLeave a comment

    • I don’t go into the “type” options and just tend to stay with the accents / highlight capabilities with arrows. To each their own. 😉

  • Great post and great overview of ZoomIt. ZoomIt is one of those tools I know I should use more often, but I’ve seen a lot of people use it poorly as you mentioned so I’ve shied away from it. I’m definitely going to take another look and try and make use of it more after watching that walk-through. Thanks for sharing your experience in this and the last post. Very useful to the rest of us.

    • Glad you liked it Scott. I honestly try to keep it simple and use it whenever I can – even outside of demos in order to get more natural with using it. Load’er up on all your systems – it’s not malware / bloatware due to source. 😉

  • Rick,

    Have you tried the combination of Windows and + key? It’s out-of-the-box.



    • A number of people have suggested to use / try the built in magnifier with WindowsKey and +. I’m not a big fan because it doesn’t allow for the accents / highlights that ZoomIt does. To each their own – I’m keepin’ it simple with ZoomIt.

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