Stop Chrome From Randomly Zooming In

Stop Chrome From Randomly Zooming In

Running Chrome on a Windows notebook with a trackpad, the browser has a tendency to randomly zoom in at the most inappropriate of times, especially when using a combination of Ctrl-Click and cursor-moving to open multiple tabs. I put up with this quirk for months. That is until today, when it finally got the better of me.

At first, I went hunting for a solution in the form of a Chrome extension. Sadly, no one seems to have developed one and I’m not entirely sure it’s possible to hook into this functionality via this method. (However, I did discover I wasn’t the only one who had this problem.)

So, instead, I went into the Mouse settings via Control Panel, went to the Device Settings tab, selected my Synaptics touchpad and hit “Settings…”. Now, not everyone has a Synaptics-based touchpad or the proper drivers installed, so the options will be different depending on your notebook and its hardware configuration. I had to disable “Horizontal scrolling” to prevent the zoom from kicking in, but for others it may appear as something else — pinch-zooming for instance.

With it off, I can now multi-click with abandon, without having to periodically groan and hit Ctrl-0 to restore the default 100 per cent zoom.


  • I have this problem sometimes when I scroll with the scroll wheel on my desktop PC, with my hands not even on the keyboard at the time.

    Anyway, I have a Logitech mouse, and I can’t find anything relating to any of this in the setpoint software, except of course, that the left and right scroll on the scroll wheel is set up to be a left and right scroll (funny that). I’m not turning it off though, it’s handy sometimes, and if Chrome is the only program with this problem, then I’ll switch back to Firefox.

    What does horizontal scrolling have to do with it anyway? It’s holding down Ctrl and performing a vertical scroll that changes the zoom level.

    • I thought it was tied to the vertical scroll myself, but after testing it it only occurred with the horizontal scroll on my touchpad. I imagine there are differences between notebooks and drivers — this just happened to work for me on my Dell M1330.

  • I had this problem as well, but it only happened after I turned my computer on from it being hibernated.

    It feels like there was a lag between touching the touchpad, and Windows registering the actual touch, thus always wanting to zoom in.

    Since I always hibernate my laptop, a restart often fixed the problem.

  • I switched off the pinch zoom because it was driving me crazy but I am very surprised the developers at Google had not even given people the ability to switch zooming off an on as they pleased. No one even intentionally knows how the heck to pinch-zoom anyway. It’s an absurd and an non-ergonomic way for the human hand to function. Synaptics has been the pain in the backside of all the laptops I have had and at least it’s not as bad as my toshiba satellite when it used to desert the screen altogether or wander off in a sulk at the slightest problem with tilt or heat or self-awareness. I now have a Lenovo and much happier but I mostly use a pen instead of the touchpad but just moving my wrist slightly near the touchpad sets off the pinch-zoom. I sometimes wonder who they give their QA testing to…chickens or slugs?

  • Hi, I put up with the same problem for months as well, and finally got fed up. Found your article and the appropriate settings, but I disabled pinch zoom instead. It’s working well now, no random zooming.

  • As with FDK above. After 5 years on a Mac with never a cross word between us, the random zoom on my new Acer running Chrome was driving me insane. I found this article, disabled pinch zoom and the problem went away.
    Many thanks for preserving my sanity. For the time being at least 🙂

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