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When I (multi-touch) pinch to zoom and release my fingers from touching the screen to see the zoomed display, the Android web browser on the HTC Desire Z performs a shrink-to-fit re-format of the page (or a block of text).

This re-formatting is unsatisfactory because:

  • the original page layout is not retained, for example horizontal navigations get squashed e.g: from

    • ABOUT SHOP FORUM SUPPORT

    to

    • ABOUTSHOPFORUMSUPPORT

    or worse the text overlaps

  • when pinching to zoom photos on a site, the zoom occurs but on releasing the fingers to complete the pinch, the photos shift as if they are anchored to a spot.

  • the shifting affect of the reformat is irritating at best and confusing at worse, because the user's eyes lose track of where they were reading once they release their fingers from the screen to complete the pinch

Is there anyway to turn off the auto reformatting?

I notice that this "feature" of reformatting is not present on my iPod Touch - this device performs a "pure zoom" whereby the multi-touch pinch simply zooms in without reformatting/shrinking to fit the text block to the screen, this flows better and feels more natural. (Please note: No this is not an Apple Fan-boi rant, remember I am an owner of a HTC Desire Z Android phone as well as an ipod touch and would like to see my suggested improvedments in the Android phone).

I suspect that this occurs on other Android 2.2 phones but can't be sure.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I believe this feature is called text reflow and is not an actual a feature of Android but more of HTC. The HTC browser reflows the text as you zoom in. This can get very annoying especially because after reflowing it can move your focus area to the closesr text not what you were zooming into.

My personal pick for an alternative browser is Dolphin Browser™ Mini. It has both the functionality you're missing in the stock HTC browser but also the speed you expect when loading webpages and launching the browser.

Dolphin Browser™ Mini

Dolphin Browser™ Mini QR Code

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+1 and accepted answer because you offer a definite solution to my question. –  therobyouknow Feb 14 '11 at 11:48

It looks like you can't turn off this feature. Just as an "other-side-of-the-coin" perspective, I find that the reformatting does what I want and expect nearly all of the time, in that when I finish zooming, the text I'm looking at fills the screen at the size I've zoomed to.

Your options seem limited, then, to:

  1. Trying one of the other browsers available in the market, or
  2. Lobbying HTC to fix their browser, or
  3. Learning to love the way the HTC browser does it...

Edit: This does appear to be an HTC feature, not stock Android. Amusingly, the first site I've noticed where the feature doesn't work right is HTC.com itself, on the very page describing its benefits...

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+1 For taking the time to answer and expressing your view. Another annoyance of the HTC browser's non-proportionate-retaining zoom/reflow is when filling in forms - if you've begun entering text in a textbox and then zoom (for example to be able to more accurately re-position the cursor to go back and edit something you wrote), all the characters get bigger and you can only see some of what you wrote in the text box. –  therobyouknow Feb 14 '11 at 11:51
    
@Rob - Have a look at Lie's question here: android.stackexchange.com/questions/5999/… If the same trick works for you, there should be a new "use GEP zoom" option that turns HTC's reflow feature off. –  Matt H Feb 15 '11 at 17:28

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