Portions of an image generated on an electronic display device are magnified for closer examination while other areas are compressed so that no material is lost from the total viewing area. To achieve this, the image is divided into segments with some assigned scaling functions having values greater than one and others assigned scaling functions having values less than one in a manner such that the mean value of the scaling functions across the screen is one. A transformation function is generated for each segment as a function of the assigned scaling functions. Each image point is then transformed using the appropriate transformation function an a rescaled image is generated from the rescaled image points. The variably scaled image can be generated on a touch screen device such that an area to be magnified can be designated by touching the screen at the desired location and the value of the scaling function can be set as a function of the length of time that the screen is touched.