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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.

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

 

Zoom in on your screen in Windows XP with Magnifier

Magnifier is a display utility that makes the screen more readable for users who have impaired vision. Magnifier creates a separate window that displays a magnified portion of your screen. You can also change the color scheme of the magnification window for easier visibility. You can move or resize the Magnifier window, or drag it to the edge of the screen and lock it into place. Magnifier is intended to provide a minimum level of functionality for users with slight visual impairments.

When using Magnifier, you can:

  • Change the magnification level
  • Change the size of the magnification window
  • Change the position of the magnification window on your desktop
  • Invert the screen colors

Magnifier also has a number of tracking options, including:

  • Following the mouse pointer as it moves on your screen
  • Following the keyboard focus which centers on the location of the cursor
  • Following text editing

When Magnifier is open, you can right-click the magnification window to set these Magnifier options, or to hide or exit Magnifier.

  • To open Magnifier, click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to Accessibility, and then click Magnifier.
  • To open Magnifier using the keyboard, press CTRL+ESC, press R, type magnify, and then press ENTER.
  • 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 on by pressing the Windows logo key (Windows logo key) + U at the Welcome to Windows dialog box that appears when Windows starts.

Magnifer is also useful when used with dual-monitors. Click below for more details

Using Dual-monitors

Read text aloud in Windows XP with Narrator

Narrator is a text-to-speech utility for users who are blind or have impaired vision. Narrator reads what is displayed on your screen: the contents of the active window, menu options, or the text you have typed.

Narrator is designed to work with Notepad, Wordpad, Control Panel programs, Internet Explorer, the Windows desktop, and Windows setup. Narrator may not read words aloud correctly in other programs.

Narrator has a number of options that allow you to customize the way screen elements are read.

  • You can have new windows, menus, or shortcut menus read aloud when they are displayed.
  • You can have typed characters read aloud.
  • You can have the mouse pointer follow the active item on the screen.
  • You can adjust the speed, volume, or pitch of the voice.

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.

  • To open Narrator, click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to Accessibility, and then click Narrator.
  • To open Narrator using the keyboard, press CTRL+ESC, press R, type narrator, and then press ENTER.
  • Narrator is not available for all languages and is only supported on the English version of Windows XP.
  • An easy way to start Narrator is to press the Windows logo key (Windows logo key) + U. Narrator is set to start by default when Utility Manager starts. However, Narrator may not start if your computer does not have text-to-speech program capability.
  • 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 on by pressing the Windows logo key (Windows logo key) + U at the Welcome to Windows dialog box that appears when Windows starts.

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

On-Screen Keyboard is a utility that displays a virtual keyboard on the screen and allows users with mobility impairments to type data using a pointing device or joystick. On-Screen Keyboard is intended to provide a minimum level of functionality for users with mobility impairments.

On-Screen Keyboard has three typing modes you can use to type data:

  • In clicking mode, you click the on-screen keys to type text.
  • 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.
  • 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.

In On-Screen Keyboard you can also:

  • View an enhanced keyboard that includes the numeric keypad, or a standard keyboard that does not include the numeric keypad.
  • Display the keyboard with the keys in the standard layout, or in a block layout in which the keys are arranged in rectangular blocks. Block layout is especially useful in scanning mode.
  • Display the U.S. standard keyboard (101 keys), the universal keyboard (102 keys), or a keyboard (106 keys) with additional Japanese language characters.
  • Use Click Sound to add an audible click when you select a key.
  • Use Always on Top to keep your keyboard displayed on your screen when you switch programs or windows.

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.

  • To open On-Screen Keyboard, click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to Accessibility, and then click On-Screen Keyboard.
  • The program in which you want to type characters must be active while you are using On-Screen Keyboard.
  • 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 on by pressing the Windows logo key (Windows logo key) + U at the Welcome to Windows dialog box that appears when Windows starts.
  • 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. For information about accessibility products and aids for Windows operating systems, see the accessibility page (go to http://www.microsoft.com/ and search for "accessibility") on the Microsoft Web site.

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