So you want to learn how to invert your Chromebook’s colors (or un-invert it).
Color inversion is a nifty little feature that’s built into many modern computers.
Whether you’re running Chrome OS, Windows, Apple, Android, and even Linux, you have the option to invert your colors.
It can greatly benefit those with visual impairments or have color blindness.
In this guide, we’ll go over how to invert colors on your Chromebook and a few other accessibility features to make your viewing experience much more pleasurable.
Let’s get started.
Last updated: 1/1/18.
How to invert the colors on your Chromebook (high contrast mode)
On Chrome OS, inverting the screen colors is synonymous with “high contrast” mode.
High contrast basically will switch all the colors to their opposites. If you want to get technical, high contrast means replacing all the visual color data on the display with their negative values. This is also known as inverting the colors.
It increases the color contrast of all the pixels on your screen, which can be beneficial in many ways:
- Makes it easier to read documents or books
- Browse the web with alternating background colors
- Easily read fine print, smaller print, or even fonts that appear squished together
- Distinguish between text, buttons, and other objects on screen
- Reduces eye strain
- Reduces eye fatigue
If you’re colorblind or have a visual impairment, you’ll definitely want to give this option a try as it’s designed to help people just like you.
Here’s how to invert colors on a Chromebook (high contrast mode):
Step 1: Click on your account picture in the bottom-right corner.
Step 2: Click on “Settings” to go the settings page.
Step 3: Go to the bottom of the page and click on “Show advanced settings”
Step 4: Click on “Accessibility.”
Step 5: Tick the box for “Use high contrast mode” and save your settings.
Your Chromebook will instantly invert its colors. It may take a while before your eyes get used to it at first, but when they do, you’ll appreciate it. Give it some time. It should help out after you adjust to it.
When high contrast mode is on, you’ll see a notification pop up to let you know it’s been enabled. This is useful if you ever enable it accidentally or forget how to turn it off again.
Tip: You can also use a keyboard shortcut to invert the colors. Just press “SHIFT + SEARCH (magnifying glass key) + H” and your Chromebook will enable high contrast mode. Press the combination again to toggle it off.
How to disable high contrast mode
If it doesn’t work out for you, you can simply untick the same box and save your settings to revert your Chromebook’s colors back to normal.
If you ever happen to come across your Chromebook displaying all these weird, bright colors, it’s probably in high contrast mode. You or someone else may have enabled it via the settings page or by pressing the invert color keyboard shortcut.
Just disable it by going to Settings > Accessibility and untick the box for high contrast mode (or just press “SHIFT + SEARCH (magnifying glass key) + H” and your Chromebook will revert back to normal colors.
How to turn on Night Mode
Why would you want to do such a thing?
It’s easier on the eyes. Seriously.
Just like inverting the colors, for users who have eye fatigue, dimming the bright colors on your screen can drastically improve your experience.
Here’s a real life example you may have experienced before:
Let’s say you’re browsing your phone or computer at night time in a dark room or environment. You’re scrolling through your feed. You click on a link that brings you to another page. It’s white as day and the blindingly bright background shines in your eyes like icicles through a ripened plum. That’s bright. And it hurts.
This is why a lot of modern devices give you the ability to invert the colors displayed on the screen. For nighttime viewing, it’s a lot easier on the eyes. White becomes black.
Using night mode is super beneficial at night or in dark environments. This is also why a lot of movie streaming sites offer the ability to “turn off the lights.” And it’s why YouTube itself also has a night mode as well.
Night Mode is also coming to Chromebooks, so sit tight and be prepared to binge on your favorite shows…in the dark.
Note: If you’re interested in trying out this feature, be sure to back up your stuff first to an before doing anything, as entering Dev Mode will wipe your device automatically.
How to magnify objects on the screen
Another handy accessibility feature your Chromebook has is the ability to make text and objects on your screen bigger so they’re easier to read.
It’s exactly what it sounds like- a screen magnifier. It has a rounded shape with the same light distortion around the edges you’d see in a real magnifying glass (if you were to actually put on over your Chromebook).
You can enable the screen magnifying on your Chromebook like this:
Step 1: Click on your account picture in the bottom-right.
Step 2: Click on “Settings” to go the settings page.
Step 3: Scroll down and click on “Show advanced settings” to see all of the options
Step 4: Look for the “Accessibility” section and click on “Manage accessibility features”
Step 5: Enable the screen magnifier and you’ll see it appear on screen
You can control the magnifier by using your mouse cursor or touchpad. Move your cursor in the direction you want to move the magnifier.
When you have the screen magnifier mode on, position the cursor over the text, word, image, or another object on the screen and do the following:
If you want to zoom into the magnifying glass to magnify text or an object even further, just press “CTRL + ALT + INC. BRIGHTNESS” (that’s CTRL, ALT, and the increase brightness button which looks like a big sun- see the video below).
If you want to zoom out of the magnifying glass, press “CTRL + ALT + DEC. BRIGHTNESS” (that’s CTRL, ALT, and the decrease brightness button which looks like a small sun- see the video below).
You can also move it to the edge of the screen to pan your view around. It’s pretty awesome.
When you’re done using it, you can disable it anytime.
Here’s a video showing off the brightness increase/decrease keys:
How to make your mouse cursor bigger
The majority of Chromebooks don’t have big screens.
In fact, the one I personally use is just a tiny 11.6’’ Acer.
With the display being so modest, it makes the cursor even more so. I often shift it to the side when I’m typing up a document or watching a YouTube video, only to forget where it went and having to swipe left and right rapidly on my touchpad to find it again.
This is annoying.
Thankfully, Chrome OS has the ability to make the screen cursor bigger. If you turn this option on, it literally just blows up the mouse cursor to a giant one. It’s like five times the size of the default cursor.
It’s nice to have this feature enabled whether or not you have vision impairments if you’re on a Chromebook with a small screen. Just always knowing where your mouse cursor is instantly saves a few seconds of frustration.
But all those seconds add up. I keep it on just for the convenience of not having to hunt down my cursor every ten minutes.
(Want a bigger screen? Check out this list of the best Chromebooks with big screens.)
How to add a highlight to your mouse cursor
If making the original cursor bigger isn’t enough for you, you have another option.
You can actually add a bright red ring that encircles your cursor on the screen. Whenever you move your cursor around, the ring will follow it anywhere it goes. This makes it very easy to keep track of where it is.
If you have a small screen or often work with white backgrounds where it can blend in, the red ring highlighting the cursor will keep it in sight.
And it’s not annoying either. When you stop zipping your cursor around, the red ring will disappear and you’ll just see the regular mouse cursor.
This is extremely handy and anyone who has difficulty tracking moving objects, has a small screen, or works with white backgrounds can definitely appreciate.
How to change your Chromebook’s screen resolution
You can instantly make everything on your Chromebook’s screen bigger or smaller by changing the resolution.
This includes your browser, tabs, Chrome OS menus, desktop, and even your mouse cursor. Literally, everything on your display will be magnified by a factor of 25% (I think) by doing this.
Screen resolution is a funny thing. For those who aren’t familiar with it, it’s simply a measure of the pixels on your display.
Resolution correlates inversely with object, font, and text size.
- The higher the resolution, the smaller the objects.
- The lower the resolution, the bigger the objects.
I wrote an entire article dedicated to changing your Chromebook’s resolution you can check out.
Here’s a quick cheat sheet about how to change your Chromebook’s screen resolution:
- You can make everything bigger by decreasing the resolution by pressing “CTRL + SHIFT + (+)” (that’s CTRL, SHIFT, and the plus (+) key).
- You can make everything smaller by increasing the resolution by pressing “CTRL + SHIFT + (-)” (that’s CTRL, SHIFT, and the minus (-) key).
Every time you press the keys together, it’ll instantly make the screen smaller or bigger. You can press it multiple times to maximize or minimize your entire screen.
Tip: You can reset your Chromebook’s resolution by pressing “CTRL + SHIFT + 0” and it’ll revert back to its default settings.
How to change the SIZE of fonts, text, images, and videos of a SPECIFIC WEBSITE
If you don’t want to enlarge everything on your Chromebook and want to limit it just to a specific web page, you can do that too.
Some websites use tiny fonts or fonts that are difficult to read. Increasing the page size (zooming-in) makes the text bigger so it’s, therefore, easier on the eyes.
Let’s cover how to zoom-in and zoom-out of a web page.
First, launch Chrome and navigate to the page you want to increase or decrease the size of.
When you’re there, press the following keyboard shortcuts depending on what you want to do:
- Press “CTRL + (+)” (that’s CTRL and the plus (+) key) to zoom-in to the page. This will make text, images, and everything else bigger.
- Press “CTRL + (-)” (that’s CTRL and the minus (-) key) to zoom-out of the page. This will make text, images, and all other objects smaller.
Alternatively, you can use the Chrome menu to zoom in and out of a web page.
Step 1: In Chrome, click on the menu icon in the top-right
Step 2: Look for “Zoom” and click on it.
Step 3: From here, you can select whether you want to zoom in, zoom out, or enable full-screen mode.
Chrome will save your zoom settings so that next time when you visit the same page again, it’ll remain at the same zoom level that you set.
How to change the SIZE of fonts, text, images, and videos of ALL WEBSITES
If you want to set a default zoom level for all websites you visit with Chrome, you can do that too.
This is much easier and convenient for those who prefer to use bigger fonts. Instead of adjusting zoom settings for each individual web page, you can set it once and have it work for all pages you visit.
And it won’t affect your Chrome OS desktop, menus, cursor, and everything else. This isn’t changing the resolution, but changing a master setting.
Here’s how to set the default zoom level for web pages with the Chrome Browser:
Step 1: Launch Chrome and click on the menu icon in the top-right.
Step 2: Go to “Appearance” and look for “Page zoom.”
Step 3: Click the Down arrow and you’ll see a list of zoom levels to choose from.
Step 4: Pick your desired zoom level.
How to change the font size and font style for all webpages
You can also set a permanent font size and style for all websites you visit without having it affect the rest of your Chromebook, such as the desktop and menus.
This is useful if you prefer reading bigger text while you’re browsing the web. It only increases the font size and doesn’t affect images or videos (use zoom levels for that instead).
Here’s how to set a default font size for all webpages in the Chrome Browser:
Step 1: Launch Chrome and enter the menu (top-right).
Step 2: Go to “Appearance” and click on “Font size.”
Step 3: Click the Down arrow and you’ll see a list of different font sizes.
Step 4: Select your desired default font size.
Step 5: Click on “Customize fonts” and you’ll see a list of different fonts to use.
Step 6: Select one that you like.
How to change your Chromebook’s default font and font size
You can easily change the font and font size used by your Chromebook to display menus and such.
Step 1: Launch Chrome.
Step 2: In the address bar, type the following “chrome://settings/fonts” (without the quotes) and press Enter.
Step 3: You’ll now have the option to select the default font and font size. Choose what you like.
Step 4: Confirm your changes.
Other things your Chromebook can do
Your laptop has a few other features that can help you out.
Some of these are pretty awesome that you really wouldn’t expect from a little laptop. These include:
- Having your Chromebook read for you with Text-to-Speech
- Enabling sticky keys on your keyboard
- Use automatic clicking
- Tap dragging
- Play all audio together through the speakers
You can learn more about these options here.
And if you’re interested, I wrote a tutorial that’s full of tips and tricks and goes over how to use your Chromebook.
Here’s a video demonstrating some of these features:
Get the most out of your Chromebook’s accessibility features
Well, that’s about it.
You should now be able to use your Chromebook with much less strain on your eyes. Hopefully, these tips improve your viewing experience on your laptop.
Chrome OS has some nifty little accessibility features built in, and for those of us who use them, we really do appreciate it.
If you have any questions or can’t get something working, just leave a comment and I’ll try to help you out.
And if this guide has helped you, let me know as well =]. Also, consider telling a friend who may benefit from it.
Thanks for reading.