Microsoft offers accessibility features in Windows 10 mainly for the benefit of people with disorders and impairments. So, if someone has low vision or problem while reading stuff, they can use these features. But these accessibility features can be much helpful even for normal people in many scenarios. Also if you are a new Windows 10 user, though there are very less chances fo this, easy to use accessibility tools will help you to use the computer in completely a different way.
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Windows 10 Accessibility Features
Windows 10 offers all accessibility features under three main categories:
Let us discuss how can you use these options.
Everything what you see on the screen falls under vision category. Vision includes display, cursor and pointers, magnifier, colors and its filter, a narrator, contrast, etc. In order to adjust these features to suit your need, press ‘Win + I’ keys and open Windows Settings app. Click on ‘Ease of Access’. Here, you can be able to see the vision category with a bunch of options.
The first section under ‘Vision’ is for adjusting ‘Display’ settings on your computer. If you feel difficulty in seeing the icons on the desktop or reading the text captions then you can adjust the size. Use the ‘Change the size of apps and text on the main display’ option and set the required percentage. This will adjust the display of app icons and captions.
Also you change the brightness of your current display by adjusting the brightness slider. There are also other personalizations you can do to simplify the usage of Windows 10.
- Turn ‘On/Off’ the animations in Windows.
- You can turn the transparency effects ‘On’ if you want.
- Adjust the time for notifications.
One of the unnoticed thing you will see throughout the usage of computer is the cursor. Most of us never bother about the cursor at all, but for some this makes sense to increase the size to clearly see it. From the ‘Ease of Access’, open the ‘Cursor & pointer size’ settings.
- Adjust the cursor thickness through the given slider and check the preview in the given box.
- Change the pointer size and its color from here.
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Sometimes it is really difficult to read documents with small fonts or you may be interested in zooming out an image. In all such scenarios, use magnifier to zoom the posrtion of the computer to view the content clearly. You can open magnifier in full screen or make it as a lens following you cursor. Open the ‘Magnifier’ option from ‘Ease of Access’ panel.
- Toggle ‘On’ the ‘Magnifier’ to use the magnifier option on your screen.
- You will see a small popup to adjust the ‘Zoom level’ from the given option. You can also change the view to full screen, lens or docked.
- Check the option if you want to turn on the ‘Magnifier’ after sign-in or before sign-in.
- Scroll downwards a bit and you can make magnifier follow the mouse cursor, keyboard focus, text insertion point or narrator cursor.
- When magnifier follows the mouse cursor, a rectangle zoom box will trace your mouse to enable zooming. You can change the size of the zoom box size to make it convenient for you.
You may see the screen starts flickering when your computer display driver doesn’t support all magnifier options. Just press ‘Win + Esc’ keys to disable magnifier and check the problem with your manufacturer.
1.4. Color Filters
From the ‘Ease of Access’ panel, open ‘Color filters’. These color filters are very useful for those having color blindness.
- Toggle ‘On’ the option ‘Turn on color filters’ to use the filters.
- Select Grayscale, Inverted or Grayscale Inverted feature to apply the filter.
- To make more distinct for the colorblindness, select the filter and preview the nine colors wheel is convenient for your eyes.
1.5. High Contrast
Go to ‘Ease of access > High contrast’ and turn ‘On’ high contrast option for more distinct colors. It also allows you to choose different themes for it.
The narrator is to control the device and navigates you with voice. It reads the words and elements on the screen when you move the mouse or move with keyboard.
- To use this, turn ‘On’ the option ‘Use narrator to read and interact with your device’.
- Choose when to start this option, after sign-in of before sign-in for everyone. Check the option you like.
- Scroll down and choose the narrator’s voice you like. Change the speed of voice, voice pitch, and its volume.
- Check the content how much you want to hear like characters while typing, hear words as you type etc.
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The second accessibility category is for those with hearing problems. Hearing options include the audio tools and closed captions.
- Navigate to the ‘Ease of Access > Audio’ in ‘Settings’ app.
- Adjust the slider to change the volume.
- Turn on mono audio if you want to combine both left and right audio channels.
- Go to ‘Closed captions’ and it allows you to use the device without any sound but displaying the audio as text on the screen.
- Change the caption font, color, size, transparency, effects from the given drop-down menus.
- You can also change the background of the captions, its color and transparency too.
The thrid accessibility category is for interactive features. This part includes speech, keyboard, mouse interaction.
- Go to ‘Settings > Ease of Access > Speech’ and turn on the speech recognition under ‘Dictate text and control your device using only your voice’.
- Setup dictation to control your device through voice instead of typing everything.
- If you have Cortana search, use dictation to Cortana search and interact with your device.
- The ‘Keyboard’ section allows you to enable a soft keyboard without physical keyboard. Also turn on ‘Sticky keys’ option to press the shortcut keys one by one instead of holding many keys together. Make sure ‘Allow the shortcut key to start sticky keys’ is on. Enable ‘Use Toggle Keys’ option to play a sound for caps lock, num lock and scroll lock keys. Ensure to check ‘Allow the shortcut key to start Toggle Keys’ option.
- Go to the ‘Mouse’ section and turn on the option ‘Control your mouse with a keypad’. This will allow you to use the numeric keys to move the mouse pointer. Adjust the pointer speed and acceleration manually by the given sliders. You can also enable ‘Hold the Ctrl key to speed up and Shift key to slow down’ option to better control the mouse pointer using keyboard keys.
- The ‘Eye control’ option needs a tracking device connected with your computer to track the mouse and use text to speech options.
As mentioned, not all people like the default Windows 10 settings. Whether you have some impairments or not, it is not necessirary to like default Windows 10 settings. These ease of access features are really cool that helps t customize the screens, hardware and settings.
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