Semantic Zoom

What Does Semantic Zoom Mean?

Semantic zoom is a feature of Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system. It allows a user to activate a secondary display by using two fingers on the screen. The semantic zoom feature allows pinching an on-screen element or reverse pinching it to view the full display or organize on-screen elements.


Windows 8 is expected to be launched in January 2012. The developer version of Windows 8 is available on Microsoft’s website for download.

Techopedia Explains Semantic Zoom

Semantic zoom’s pinch-to-zoom gesture lets a user zoom out a group of tiles on a single screen. Microsoft is replicating the pinch gesture of touch screen phones to laptops with the semantic zoom feature in Windows 8. With just a pinch, a user can scroll, expand, shrink, hide, rename and perform other activities on screen.

The semantic zoom feature can be visualized with Google Maps, in which a user zooms into a particular location. However, the difference in Windows 8 is that the user can view a full display or shrink the elements to fit into the available screen size with two fingers.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…