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Make items on the screen appear bigger with Magnifier in Windows 7

Magnifier enlarges different parts of the screen. This is especially useful for viewing objects that are difficult to see, but also for seeing the whole screen more easily.

To open Magnifier:

  • Click on the Start button, then All Programs, then Accessories, then Ease of Access, then click on Magnifier.

There are three modes:

  • Full-screen mode. In full-screen mode, your entire screen is magnified. You can then have Magnifier follow the mouse pointer.
  • Lens mode. In lens mode, the area around the mouse pointer is magnified. When you move the mouse pointer, the area of the screen that's magnified moves along with it.
  • Docked mode. In docked mode, only a portion of the screen is magnified, leaving the rest of your desktop in a normal state. You can then control which area of the screen is magnified.

Note:

  • Full-screen mode and lens mode are only available as part of the Aero experience. If your computer doesn't support Aero, or if you're using a theme other than an Aero theme, Magnifier will only work in docked mode.
  1. On the Views menu, click the mode that you want to use.
  2. Move the pointer to the part of the screen that you want to magnify.

Note:

To exit Magnifier, press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + Esc.

When you're using full-screen mode, you can quickly preview your entire desktop by clicking the Views menu, and then clicking Preview full screen.

For a list of keyboard shortcuts that you can use with Magnifier, see the following links:

General keyboard shortcuts
Natural keyboard shortcuts
Dialog box keyboard shortcuts
Accessibility keyboard shortcuts
Windows explorer keyboard shortcuts

To choose where Magnifier focuses

Click the Options button , and then select the option that you want:

 

Option

Description

Follow the mouse pointer

Displays the area around the mouse pointer in the Magnifier window. When you select this option, you can choose to have the Magnifier window move when the mouse pointer approaches or when the mouse pointer hits the edge of the Magnifier window.

Follow the keyboard focus

Displays the area around the pointer when you press the Tab or arrow keys.

Have Magnifier follow the text insertion point

Displays the area around the text that you're typing.

To change the zoom level

Do one of the following:

 

To

Do this

Zoom in

Press the Windows logo key Picture of Windows logo key + Plus sign

Zoom out

Press the Windows logo key Picture of Windows logo key + Minus sign

To set the zoom increment

The zoom increment determines how quickly Magnifier zooms in and out.

Click the Options button, and then move the slider to adjust the zoom increment. Moving the slider to the left causes Magnifier to zoom slower, with smaller changes between zoom levels. Moving the slider to the right causes Magnifier to zoom faster, with larger changes between zoom levels.

To set the lens size

When you're using lens mode, you can adjust the size of the Magnifier lens.

Click the Options button , and then, under Magnifier Lens Size, move the sliders to adjust the size of the Magnifier lens. The lens size changes right away. Adjust the level until it's right for you.

Note:

  • You must be using lens mode for the lens size options to appear.
  • You can quickly change the lens size by pressing Ctrl+Alt+R, and then moving the pointer up and down to change the height, and left and right to change the width.

To turn on color inversion

Turning on color inversion increases the contrast between items on your screen, which can help make your screen easier to see.

Click the Options button , and then select the Turn on color inversion check box.

To display the Magnifier toolbar

Click the magnifying glass icon or click Magnifier on the taskbar.

Hear text read aloud with Narrator in Windows 7

Windows comes with a basic screen reader called Narrator that reads text on the screen aloud and describes some events (such as an error message appearing) that happen while you're using the computer.

To open Narrator:

  • Click on the Start button, then All Programs, then Accessories, then Ease of Access, then click on Narrator.

To choose the text Narrator always reads

Under Main Narrator Settings box, do one or more of the following:

To hear what you type
Select the Echo User's Keystrokes check box.

To hear background events, such as notifications
Select the Announce System Messages check box.

To hear an announcement when the screen scrolls
Select the Announce Scroll Notifications check box.

To start Narrator Minimized

Select the Start Narrator Minimized check box.

The next time you start Narrator, it will appear as an icon on the taskbar instead of being open on your screen.

Notes:

  • To restore the Narrator dialog box to its full size, click Narrator in the taskbar.

Using Dual Monitors in Windows for users who have impaired vision (Video)

I little while back, I wrote an article on using Dual Monitors. In it, I wrote how a person with a visual impairment could use two monitors. Here's a snippet:

"This scenario also works well for those with visual impairments that require a magnification utility. You can use a larger monitor as the ‘main’ display and a smaller monitor as the ‘secondary’ display. Using the main display for all normal functions, the secondary display shows a magnified view of the main display. And without the need for matching monitors, you could pick up a cheap used one to run as secondary. Try your local Goodwill, Savers, thrift shop, etc."

Here's a video showing how to use dual monitors in Windows for users who have impaired vision.

Till then,
Scott

Use your computer without the mouse or keyboard in Windows Vista

Windows has two features to help you use the computer without using a mouse or keyboard: Speech Recognition (which allows you to use voice commands to work with Windows) and On-Screen Keyboard (which allows you to enter text by selecting characters on the screen).

You can adjust turn on or adjust settings for these features on the Use the computer without the mouse or keyboard 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:

  • Use On-Screen Keyboard.
    This option sets On-Screen Keyboard to run when you log on to Windows. On-Screen Keyboard displays a visual keyboard with all the standard keys. You can select keys using the mouse or another pointing device, or you can use keys on the standard keyboard.
  • Use Speech Recognition.
    The option allows you to control the computer with your voice. With a microphone, you can speak commands that the computer will understand and respond to, as well as dictate text.

Managing accessibility programs with Utility Manager in Windows XP

Utility Manager enables users to check an accessibility program's status and start or stop an accessibility program. Users with administrator-level access can designate to have the program start when Utility Manager starts. Users can also start accessibility programs before logging on to the computer by pressing the Windows logo key Windows logo key + U at the Welcome screen.

The built-in accessibility programs available from the Utility Manager are Magnifier, Narrator, and On-Screen Keyboard. Narrator, a text-to-speech program, starts when Utility Manager opens. This gives users who are blind or have impaired vision immediate access to Utility Manager.

Using Utility Manager, you can tell Windows to automatically start accessibility programs each time you log on to your computer, when you lock your computer desktop, or when Utility Manager starts. For example, you can specify that Magnifier start automatically the next time you log on to your computer. This eliminates the need for you to go through the steps of opening Magnifier each time you log on to your computer.

Open Utility Manager by pressing the Windows logo key Windows logo key + U.

Notes:

  • You can also open Utility Manager by clicking Start, pointing to Programs, pointing to Accessories, pointing to Accessibility, and then clicking Utility Manager. Please note, however, that you will have limited program management capabilities. You will only be able to start or stop accessibility programs from within Utility Manager.
  • If your computer is connected to a network, network policy settings may prevent you from using Utility Manager.
  • The accessibility tools that ship with Windows are intended to provide a minimum level of functionality for users with special needs. Most users with disabilities will need utility programs with more advanced functionality for daily use.

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