Stellarium and zoom in/out on MacBook Pro computer

A long time ago I was using the Linux Ubuntu on my laptop. I was pretty satisfied with this operating system, but as my work and especially my research evolved, I had to switch to Mac.

The reason was that I needed to run one special program which was primarily designed for MacBook Pro and it experienced some troubles on different platforms. So my bank account was crying, because the expensive aluminium family member was purchased. Now I just realised that it was in the first half of 2013 and my MacBook is still running without any problem, so I think it is a good machine. To be honest, maybe one year ago I had to stop using the Safari web browser, because some “weird” update from the mother company of this computer made it really slow (I am curious if that company thinks that it will force me to buy another new computer? No way!). But other web browsers are just fine. OK, let’s back to the topic.

When I started to use my MacBook Pro, I had to install all my favourite software that I was using on my Linux Ubuntu for many years. So I installed also Stelarium, the best in class simulation software for astronomy.

Stellarium works perfectly on my MacBook Pro, but very soon I found out a small bug. It was not such a big problem, it was just something that was making me frustrating. I was not able to make ZOOM IN or ZOOM OUT with the MacBook’s multi-touchpad. The forums and guides are explaining how you can use the PageUp/PageDown keyboard keys to make zoom in/out, but there are no PageUp or PageDown keys on my MacBook’s keyboard. So how to do it? I saw many forums where people were fighting with the same problem. But folks come on, do not give up, there is always a solution! Use the keyboard shortcuts. Not the default ones, but just create your own.

You can do it this way:

Open your Stellarium software.

Move with your mouse/cursor to the bottom left corner, so the menu on the left side will appear:

Now click on the “Configuration window” and the main configuration/settings window will open:

Click on “Navigation” tab at the top. Here you can see the “Edit keyboard shortcuts” button. Click on it. The next window that will open will contain a lot of keyboard shortcuts that are already set for your Stellarium software. Scroll down and find the option “Zoom in on selected object” and the “Zoom out”.

When you click on one of the shortcuts, then there will appear a possibility to change the shortcut. You can do it in the fields below. One hint – you cannot youse backspace key on your keyboard, because the Stellarium will recognize it as a new shortcut. You can delete ther current settings with the small arrow button next to the “Apply” button – you can see it on the image above or below.

There are many keys or shortcuts already in use. So after some search I have selected these for myself:

– to make ZOOM IN: cmd x

– to make ZOOM OUT: cmd v

Do not get confused, just click on the command button on the MacBook Pro’s keyboard, hold it and click on x. Then do the same for zoom-out shortcut and click on v.

When you are done, then just click “Apply” on both shortcuts. When you can see the shortcuts set correctly, then simply close the windows. To be sure that everything is configured correctly, I recommend you to close the Stellarium and to open it again. Now you can try to test it. Wohooo, congrats!

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Jozef Kozár, PhD (July 23, 2024) Stellarium and zoom in/out on MacBook Pro computer. Retrieved from
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Dr. Jozef Kozár

Author, Research Scientist, Consultant.

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