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Windows Vista Ease of Access Center - Free Computer Tutorials
The Ease of Access Center a feature of Windows Vista that lets you turn on and set up accessibility settings and programs available in Windows. You can adjust settings that make it easier to see your computer, use the keyboard and mouse, as we as other input devices. You can access the Ease of Access Center by clicking Start, All Programs, Accessories and then the Ease of Access Folder.
The Magnifier is used to enlarge the screen where you have positioned the mouse so you can get a better view of what you are trying to see. You can magnify the screen from 2x up to 16x. You can also have the magnifier track the mouse cursor, keyboard focus or have it follow where you are typing. Another option is to invert the screen colors to allow you to see certain items better.
The Narrator is used to read text on the screen aloud and can also describe events such as an error messages that appear while you're using your computer. This is useful for people with impaired vision. You can edit the voice used for the Narrator by clicking on Voice Settings.
The On Screen Keyboard can be used in place or in addition to a regular physical keyboard. It’s useful if you have trouble typing or using your hand/fingers on the keyboard. It displays a visual keyboard with all the standard keys. You can elect keys using the mouse or another pointing device.
The type of keyboard can be changed by accessing the Keyboard menu. You can type characters either by clicking on the appropriate character in Click to select mode or you can hover over the character for a set amount of time and have it type it in Hover to select mode. These modes can be changed under the Settings menu and then Typing mode. The font size and style on the keys can be changed under Settings and then Font.
The High Contrast option sets a high-contrast color scheme that heightens the color contrast of some text and images on your screen, making those items more distinct and easier to identify. Click on Choose a high contrast color scheme to specify which colors to use when High Contrast is turned on. You can use hot keys to toggle High Contrast on and off when needed. If you click on Choose a High Contrast color scheme you will be given some choices of different schemes you can assign to your computer.
The Make the Mouse Easier to Use section allows you to change the mouse pointers to make them larger or stand out more using high contrast colors. Mouse Keys allow you to use the numeric keypad to move the mouse around the screen. You can also set the mouse to activate a window by simply hovering over it rather than having to click on the window itself.
The Make the Keyboard Easier to Use section is where you can setup features such as Sticky Keys which allow you to apply multiple keystrokes with just one key; Toggle Keys which can play an alert each time you press the caps lock, num lock, or scroll lock keys in case you didn't mean to press them and Filter Keys which ignore keystrokes that occur in rapid succession, or keystrokes that are held down for several seconds unintentionally.
Use Text or Visual Alternatives to Sounds provides settings for using visual cues to replace sounds in many programs. The Turn on visual notifications for sounds (Sound Sentry) option sets sound notifications to run when you start Windows. These notifications replace system sounds with visual cues, such as a flash on the screen. This notification method makes sure that you see system alerts just in case you don't hear them. The visual warnings include flash active caption bar, flash active window or flash desktop. The Turn on text captions for spoken dialog option has Windows display text captions in place of sounds to indicate that activity is happening on your computer such as printing a document.
You will notice that some of the sections contain the same features such as turning on Toggle Keys. Don't be concerned because it is just another way to get to the same feature.
One last area you may have noticed is for Speech Recognition. This is used to control your computer with your voice. You can say commands that the computer will respond to, and you can dictate text to the computer as well. Before you can use Speech Recognition, you need to have a microphone hooked up to your computer. Then you can train your computer to understand your voice by creating a voice profile that your computer uses to recognize your voice and spoken commands.
You can go through each one of the sections to setup your microphone and have your computer train itself to your voice. Then you will be able to use Speech Recognition to make your computing environment easier.
If you are not sure which Ease of Access feature is right for you then you can click the link that says Not sure where to start? Get recommendations to make your computer easier to use link on the Ease of Access start page. It will take you through a series of questions to help you better understand the features that are best for you.
Windows Shortcut Keys
Windows Accessibility Options
Set a Caps Lock Alarm
Force the Numbers Lock on When Starting Windows
Making Your Programs Open Maximized (full screen) By Default
Turning Off or Changing Windows Sounds
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