Mike - I am going to move your post to the PADS Layout and Routing community. I think that will be a more targeted area for your questions. You should receive an email notice to this effect. Thanks for the post.
It is true the zoom to selection does zoom in very close. To zoom out further deselect the component by left-clicking on the board - in an empty area so you don't select anything else. Then with the cursor near the component hit the Page Down key a few times. This will allow you to see the surrounding circuit. I use a trackball that does not have a convenient zoom button and have found the Page Up and Page Down keys very useful in PADS.
In the Project Explorer, right-click on the component and un-check Zoom to selection. When the part is selected click on it with the cursor and then use the page up and page down keys to change zoom. Scrolling with mouse wheel can also zoom in combination with Ctrl key. Press down on the mouse wheel and moving the mouse to create a box to zoom in or out. With mouse wheel clicked as a button slide the mouse up to zoom in, slide the mouse down to zooom out.
If you know the designator, skip the explorer thing, zoom i to th edesired resolution and use the "S" hot command (i.e., s c1) .
is your mouse set up so that clicking the middle mouse button pans the screen to that point being center
and click hold draws a box that center zooms in/out to that point?
are you using cross probing? this will make checking the layout so much nicer
if using DxD:
will bring up a dialogue box to browse to schematic and turn on cross probing
Selection page of dialogue tells DxD & PADS how to react to selection (Pan/Zoom/Nothing to selection)
a little different process for PowerLogic, but same basic idea
the above will make your PADS experience much easier