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Use your computer without a display in Windows Vista (optimize for blindness)

Windows Vista has many features that allow you to use your computer without a display. For example, you can have screen text read aloud by using Narrator or you can have Windows describe screen activity to you.

You can turn on or adjust settings for these features on the Use the computer without a display 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.

Click on Use the computer without a display.

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.
  • Turn on Audio Description. This option sets Audio Descriptions to run when you log on to Windows. Audio Descriptions describe what's happening in videos.
  • Turn off all unnecessary animations. This option turns off animation effects, such as fading effects, when windows and other elements are closed.
  • How long should Windows notification dialog boxes stay open? This option sets how long notifications are displayed on the screen before they are closed.

Use Speech Recognition to operate windows and programs in Windows Vista

You can use your voice to work with windows and programs. Usually, you can just say the command that you want to perform. For example, to minimize all open windows, you can say "Show Desktop." To see the System Properties dialog box, you can say "Right-click Computer," and then say "Click Properties."

To open Windows Speech Recognition:

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

Speech Recognition commands for working with windows and programs
The following table shows Windows Speech Recognition commands for working with windows and programs. Words in italics indicate that you can say many different things in place of the example word or phrase and get useful results.

To do this Say this
Click any item Click File; Click bold; Click Save; Click Close
Double-click any item Double-click Computer; Double-click Recycle Bin; Double-click Folder Name
Right-click any item Right-click Computer; Right-click Recycle Bin; Right-click Folder Name
Minimize all windows to show your desktop Show Desktop
Click something you don't know the name of Show numbers (Numbers will appear on the screen for every item in the active window. Say an item's corresponding number to click it.)
Click a numbered item 19 OK; 5 OK
Double-click a numbered item Double-click 19; Double-click 5
Right-click a numbered item Right-click 19; Right-click 5
Open a program Open Paint; Open WordPad; Open Program Name
Switch to an open program Switch to Paint; Switch to WordPad; Switch to Program Name; Switch application
Close a program Close that; Close Paint; Close Documents; Close Internet Explorer
Restore Restore that; Restore Paint; Restore Internet Explorer
Minimize Minimize that; Minimize Paint; Minimize Internet Explorer
Cut Cut that; Cut
Copy Copy that; Copy
Paste Paste
Delete Delete that; Delete
Undo Undo that; Scratch that; Undo
Scroll in one direction Scroll up; Scroll down; Scroll left; Scroll right
Scroll an exact distance in pages Scroll down 2 pages; Scroll up 10 pages
Scroll an exact distance in other units Scroll up 5; Scroll down 7
Go to a field in a form or a program Go to field name; Go to Subject; Go to Address; Go to Cc

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

Magnifier enlarges part of the screen. This is especially useful for viewing objects that are difficult to see. It's also helpful for people who generally have difficulty seeing the screen.

To open Magnifier:

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

Move the pointer to the part of the screen that you want to magnify.

Change any of the following Magnifier settings:

To invert the colors for better readability Select Invert Colors.
This might be useful if, for example, a document has black text on a white background but for you, white text on a black background is easier to read.

To dock the Magnifier window to the edge of the screen
Select Docked, and then click a location from the Dock Position list.

To keep the Magnifier settings dialog box minimized when you open Magnifier
Select Minimize on Startup.

To resize the Magnifier window.
Move the mouse pointer over the edge of the magnification window until the pointer becomes a double-headed arrow (on some computers, the pointer might change to a different form).

Drag the window border to resize the window.

To move the Magnifier window.
Move the mouse pointer over the magnification window.
Drag the window to where you want it on your desktop.

To see an enlarged version of what your mouse is pointing at
Select Follow mouse cursor.

To see the area where your pointer moves when you press the TAB or arrow keys
Select Follow keyboard focus.

To see what you're typing
Select Follow text editing.

In the Scale Factor list, select a level. The zoom level in the Magnifier window will change right away. Adjust the level until it's right for you.

Hear text read aloud with Narrator in Windows Vista

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.

 

Type without using the keyboard with On-Screen Keyboard in Windows Vista

Instead of relying on the physical keyboard to type and enter data, you can use On-Screen Keyboard. 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 a single key or group of keys to cycle through the keys on the screen.

To open On-Screen Keyboard:

  • Click on the Start button, then All Programs, then Accessories, then Ease of Access, then click on On-Screen Keyboard.

Select a layout for On-Screen Keyboard

You can adjust the layout, alignment, or number of keys that appear on On-Screen Keyboard.

To change the keyboard layout

You can display On-Screen Keyboard in two different views (Standard Keyboard or Enhanced Keyboard) to promote faster typing or maximize the number of available keys.

  • Click Keyboard, and then select Enhanced Keyboard or Standard Keyboard.

To organize keys either in rows or like a keyboard

Block layout displays the keys in vertical and horizontal rows, which can make selecting the keys easier. Regular layout displays the keys in overlapping rows, simulating a physical keyboard.

  • Click Keyboard, and then select Regular Layout or Block Layout.

To add extra keys to the keyboard

When using regular layout, you can add extra keys to your keyboard layout by selecting the number of keys you want from the Keyboard menu.

Select the number of keys from the Keyboard menu:

  • 101 keys displays a standard keyboard.
  • 102 keys displays an extra backslash (\) next to the SHIFT key in the lower left.
  • 106 keys displays extra characters useful for typing Japanese.

Change how information is entered into On-Screen Keyboard

There are three ways to enter data in On-Screen Keyboard:

  • Clicking mode.
    In clicking mode, you click the on-screen keys to type text.
  • Hovering mode.
    In hovering mode, you use a mouse or joystick to point to a key for a predefined period of time, and the selected character is typed automatically.
  • Scanning mode.
    In scanning mode, On-Screen Keyboard continually scans the keyboard and highlights areas where you can type keyboard characters by pressing a hot key or using a switch-input device. Use scanning mode to select keys with a single button or key.

To change the On-Screen Keyboard input mode

  • Click Settings, click Typing Mode, and then select the mode you want:
  • To use clicking mode, click Click to select.
  • To use hovering mode, click Hover to select.
    You can change how long On-Screen Keyboard waits before it selects the key on the Minimum time to hover menu.
  • To use scanning mode, click Joystick or key to select.
    You can set the speed for how quickly the keys are scanned on the Scan interval menu.

Tips:

  • To use a mouse, joystick, or other pointing device instead of a keyboard key, click Advanced. In the Scanning Options dialog box, select the Serial, parallel, or game port check box. Plug in a joystick, game pad, or other pointing device, and On-Screen Keyboard will work with it.
  • To change the key you use to select keys in On-Screen Keyboard, click Advanced. In the Scanning Options dialog box, select the Keyboard key check box, and then click the key you want to use in the drop-down menu.

Change the font for On-Screen Keyboard keys

On-Screen Keyboard might be easier to use if you change the font used to illustrate the keys on the screen. The fonts that most people find easiest to see on the screen are Verdana and Arial.

  • Click the Settings menu, and then click Font.
  • In the Font box, select a font, and then click OK.

Set On-Screen Keyboard to use audible clicks

You can have On-Screen Keyboard make an audible click when a key is pressed.

  • Click Settings, and then select Use Click Sound to hear clicks when you select keys using On-Screen Keyboard.

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