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Accessibility options in Windows XP

The following accessibility tools are frequently used when configuring accessibility options in Windows XP.

Turn on High Contrast

High Contrast improves screen contrast with alternative colors and font sizes. High Contrast is designed for people who have vision impairment. High contrast color schemes can make the screen easier to view for some users by heightening screen contrast with alternative color combinations. Some of the schemes also change font sizes for easier reading.

  1. Open Accessibility Options (see below).
  2. On the Display tab, under High Contrast, select the Use High Contrast check box.

To turn off High Contrast, clear the Use High Contrast check box.

Notes:

  • To open Accessibility Options, click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click Accessibility Options.
  • If the Use shortcut check box in the Settings for High Contrast dialog box is selected, you can turn High Contrast on or off by pressing the left ALT+left SHIFT+PRINT SCREEN keys (depending on the other settings you have selected in the Accessibility Options dialog box). To open the Settings for High Contrast dialog box, open Accessibility Options, click the Display tab, and then, under High Contrast,click Settings.

Turn on StickyKeys

StickyKeys enables simultaneous keystrokes while pressing one key at a time. StickyKeys is designed for people who have difficulty holding down two or more keys simultaneously. When a shortcut requires a key combination, such as CTRL+P, StickyKeys will enable you to press a modifier key (CTRL, ALT, or SHIFT), or the Windows logo key (Windows logo key), and have it remain active until another key is pressed.

  1. Open Accessibility Options (see below).
  2. On the Keyboard tab, under StickyKeys, select the Use StickyKeys check box.

To turn off StickyKeys, clear the Use StickyKeys check box.

Notes:

  • To open Accessibility Options, click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click Accessibility Options.
  • If the Use shortcut check box in the Settings for StickyKeys dialog box is selected, you can turn StickyKeys on or off by pressing the SHIFT key five times.
  • For more information on changing StickyKeys options, click Related Topics.

Turn on FilterKeys

FilterKeys adjusts the response of your keyboard. FilterKeys is a keyboard feature that instructs the keyboard to ignore brief or repeated keystrokes. Using FilterKeys, you can also slow the rate at which a key repeats when you hold it down.

  1. Open Accessibility Options (see below).
  2. On the Keyboard tab, under FilterKeys, select the Use FilterKeys check box.

To turn off FilterKeys, clear the Use FilterKeys check box.

Notes:

  • To open Accessibility Options, click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click Accessibility Options.
  • If the Use shortcut check box in the Settings for FilterKeys dialog box is selected, you can turn FilterKeys on or off by holding down the right SHIFT key for 8 to 16 seconds (depending on the other settings you have selected in the Accessibility Options dialog box). To open the Settings for FilterKeys dialog box, open Accessibility Options and then, under FilterKeys, click Settings.

Turn on ToggleKeys

ToggleKeys emits sounds when locking keys such as CAPS LOCK, SCROLL LOCK, and NUM LOCK are pressed. ToggleKeys is designed for people who have vision impairment or cognitive disabilities. When ToggleKeys is turned on, your computer will provide sound cues when the locking keys (CAPS LOCK, NUM LOCK, or SCROLL LOCK) are pressed. A high sound plays when the keys are switched on and a low sound plays when they are switched off.

  1. Open Accessibility Options (see below).
  2. On the Keyboard tab, under ToggleKeys, select the Use ToggleKeys check box.

To turn off ToggleKeys, clear the Use ToggleKeys check box.

Notes:

  • To open Accessibility Options, click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click Accessibility Options.
  • To use the keyboard shortcut which allows you to turn ToggleKeys on and off by pressing the NUM LOCK key for five seconds, on the Keyboard tab, under ToggleKeys, click Settings.
  • If the Use shortcut check box in the Settings for ToggleKeys dialog box is selected, you can turn ToggleKeys on or off by holding down the NUM LOCK key for five seconds.

Turn on SoundSentry

SoundSentry provides visual warnings for system sounds. SoundSentry is designed for people who have difficulty hearing system sounds generated by the computer. SoundSentry allows you to change settings to generate visual warnings, such as a blinking title bar or a flashing border, whenever the computer generates a sound.

  1. Open Accessibility Options (see below).
  2. On the Sound tab, under SoundSentry, select the Use SoundSentry check box.

To turn off SoundSentry, select the Use SoundSentry check box to clear the check box.

Note:

  • To open Accessibility Options, click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click Accessibility Options.

Turn on ShowSounds

ShowSounds instructs programs to display captions for program speech and sounds.

  1. Open Accessibility Options (see below).
  2. On the Sound tab, under ShowSounds, select the Use ShowSounds check box.

To turn off ShowSounds, clear the Use ShowSounds check box.

Notes:

  • To open Accessibility Options, click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click Accessibility Options.
  • ShowSounds instructs programs that convey information by sound to also provide information visually, for example, through text captions or informative icons.

Turn on MouseKeys

MouseKeys enables the keyboard to perform mouse functions. MouseKeys is designed for people who have difficulty using a mouse. MouseKeys allows you to use the numeric keypad to control the mouse pointer. If you want to use the numeric keypad for data entry as well as for navigation, you can set the MouseKeys to be activated by pressing NUM LOCK.

  1. Open Accessibility Options (see below).
  2. On the Mouse tab, under MouseKeys, select the Use MouseKeys check box.

To turn off MouseKeys, clear the Use MouseKeys check box.

To turn on MouseKeys using keystrokes

  1. Press left ALT + left SHIFT + NUM LOCK.
  2. In the MouseKeys message dialog box, press SPACEBAR to clear the Turn off keyboard shortcut for this accessibility feature check box.
  3. Press TAB, and then press ENTER.

If MouseKeys does not turn on using the keystrokes above, follow the steps below.

  1. Press the Windows logo key (Windows logo key) + R to display the Run dialog box.
  2. Type access.cpl and press ENTER.
  3. Press CTRL+TAB until the Mouse tab is selected.
  4. To select Use MouseKeys, press SPACEBAR.
  5. Press TAB twice to select OK, and then press ENTER.

Notes:

  • To open Accessibility Options, click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click Accessibility Options.
  • To change settings for MouseKeys, on the Mouse tab, click Settings.
  • If the Use shortcut check box in the Settings for MouseKeys dialog box is selected, you can turn MouseKeys on or off by pressing left ALT+left SHIFT+NUM LOCK.

Turn on SerialKeys

SerialKeys allows the use of alternative input devices instead of a keyboard and mouse. Serial Keys is designed for people who have difficulty using the computer's standard keyboard or mouse. Serial Keys provides support so that alternative input devices, such as single switch or puff and sip devices, can be plugged into the computer's serial port.

  1. Open Accessibility Options (see below).
  2. On the General tab, under SerialKey devices, select Use Serial Keys.

To turn off Serial Keys, clear the Use Serial Keys check box.

Important

  • To use Serial Keys, Fast User Switching must be turned off. (Fast User Switching is only available on Windows XP Home Edition and Windows XP Professional when it is not joined to a domain.)

Notes:

  • To open Accessibility Options, click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click Accessibility Options.

Accessibility Options in Control Panel can be used with other accessibility programs included with Windows XP. See the following links for more information.

Zoom in on your screen in Windows XP with Magnifier

Read text aloud in Windows XP with Narrator

Type using a pointing device or joystick with On-screen Keyboard in Windows XP

 

Make it easier to focus on tasks in Windows Vista

You can reduce the amount of information on your screen so that it's easier to read, and you can set up your keyboard to make typing easier.

You can adjust these settings on the Make it easier to focus on tasks page in the Ease of Access Center.

Open Ease of Access Center:

  • by pressing the Windows logo key Windows logo key + U.
    or
  • Click on the Start button, then All Programs, then Accessories, then Ease of Access, then click on Ease of Aceess Center.

Select the options that you want to use:

  • Turn on Narrator.
    This option sets Narrator to run when you log on to Windows. Narrator reads aloud on-screen text and describes some events (such as error messages appearing) that happen while you're using the computer.
  • Remove background images.
    This option turns off all unimportant, overlapped content and background images to help make the screen easier to see.
  • Turn on Sticky Keys.
    This option sets Sticky Keys to run when you log on to Windows. Instead of having to press three keys at once (such as when you must press the CTRL, ALT, and DELETE keys together to log on to Windows), you can use one key by turning on Sticky Keys and adjusting the settings. This way, you can press a modifier key and have it remain active until another key is pressed.
  • Turn on Toggle Keys.
    This option sets Toggle Keys to run when you log on to Windows. Toggle Keys can play an alert each time you press the CAPS LOCK, NUM LOCK, or SCROLL LOCK keys. These alerts can help prevent the frustration of inadvertently pressing a key.
  • Turn on Filter Keys.
    This option sets Filter Keys to run when you log on to Windows. You can set Windows to ignore keystrokes that occur in rapid succession, or keystrokes that are held down for several seconds unintentionally.
  • Turn off all unnecessary animations.
    This option turns off animation effects, such as fading effects, when windows and other elements are closed.
  • Choose how long Windows notification dialog boxes stay open.
    This option sets how long notifications are displayed on the screen before they are closed.

Use text or visual alternatives to sounds in Windows Vista

Windows provides settings for using visual cues to replace sounds in many programs. You can adjust these settings on the Use text or visual alternatives to sounds page in the Ease of Access Center.

Open Ease of Access Center:

  • by pressing the Windows logo key Windows logo key + U.
    or
  • Click on the Start button, then All Programs, then Accessories, then Ease of Access, then click on Ease of Aceess Center.

Select the options that you want to use:

  • Turn on visual notifications for sounds.
    This option sets Sound Notifications to run when you log on to Windows. Sound Notifications replace system sounds with visual cues, such as a flash on the screen, so that system alerts are noticeable even when they're not heard. You can also choose how you want Sound Notifications to warn you.
  • Turn on text captions for spoken dialog.
    This option causes Windows to display text captions in place of sounds to indicate that activity is happening on your computer (for example, when a document starts or finishes printing).

Make your keyboard easier to use in Windows Vista

You can use your keyboard to control the mouse and make it easier to type certain key combinations.

You can adjust these settings on the Make the keyboard easier to use page in the Ease of Access Center.

Open Ease of Access Center:

  • by pressing the Windows logo key Windows logo key + U.
    or
  • Click on the Start button, then All Programs, then Accessories, then Ease of Access, then click on Ease of Aceess Center.

Select the options that you want to use:

  • Turn on Mouse Keys.
    This option sets Mouse Keys to run when you log on to Windows. Instead of using the mouse, you can use the arrow keys on your keyboard or the numeric keypad to move the pointer.
  • Turn on Sticky Keys.
    This option sets Sticky Keys to run when you log on to Windows. Instead of having to press three keys at once (such as when you must press the CTRL, ALT, and DELETE keys together to log on to Windows), you can use one key by turning on Sticky Keys and adjusting the settings. This way, you can press a modifier key and have it remain active until another key is pressed.
  • Turn on Toggle Keys.
    This option sets Toggle Keys to run when you log on to Windows. Toggle Keys can play an alert each time you press the CAPS LOCK, NUM LOCK, or SCROLL LOCK keys. These alerts can help prevent the frustration of inadvertently pressing a key and not realizing it.
  • Turn on Filter Keys.
    This option sets Filter Keys to run when you log on to Windows. You can set Windows to ignore keystrokes that occur in rapid succession, or keystrokes that are held down for several seconds unintentionally.
  • Underline keyboard shortcuts and access keys.
    This option makes keyboard access in dialog boxes easier by highlighting access keys for the controls in them.

Make your mouse easier to use in Windows Vista

You can change the mouse pointer and turn on other features that can help make it easier to use your mouse on the Make the mouse easier to use page in the Ease of Access Center.

Open Ease of Access Center:

  • by pressing the Windows logo key Windows logo key + U.
    or
  • Click on the Start button, then All Programs, then Accessories, then Ease of Access, then click on Ease of Aceess Center.

Select the options that you want to use:

  • Change the color and size of mouse pointers.
    You can use these options to make the mouse pointer larger or change the color to make it easier to see.
  • Turn on Mouse Keys.
    If you have difficulty using a mouse, you can select this option to control the movement of the mouse pointer by using the numeric keypad.
  • Activate a window by hovering over it with the mouse.
    This option makes it easier to select and activate windows by allowing you to select a window by pointing at it with the mouse rather than by clicking it.

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