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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.

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.

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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