tom haynes

Actual size, revisited

In 2010 (was it really that long ago?) I argued that Preview.app shouldn’t complain when I try to make switch the zoom to “Actual Size” if it’s already 100%.

The other day I noticed that it doesn’t work this way anymore. Now there’s a checkmark next to the greyed-out “Actual Size” and the OS doesn’t beep at me when I hit ⌘0.

Actual size

Hooray!

Actual size

This has been bothering me for a while now. If the image you’re viewing in Preview is already at 100%, the menu item for “Actual size” is greyed out, which makes it hard to find because my eyes skip over inactive menu items. Also, pressing the 0 shortcut for it beeps, which is the same result as (for example) 9, which never has a function. So I think I’m doing something wrong.

I argue that the command for making an image actual size should never be hidden or sound like an error. Trying to scroll up at the top of a webpage doesn’t beep. Making the font size 12 in a document where it’s already 12 isn’t an error. Pressing backspace in an empty document is not a crime. These are all things people do just to make sure they’re at the top, that the font size is 12, or that their document is empty. I just want to make sure that I’m seeing things at 100%, which is reasonable because the current zoom level isn’t displayed anywhere.

I know this is a small detail, but Apple is usually very good about things like this. I wonder if this is an oversight or a deliberate decision.