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Accessibility Options overview

Updated: January 21, 2005

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Accessibility Options overview

You can adjust the appearance and behavior of Windows to enhance accessibility for some users who are visually impaired, are deaf or hard of hearing, or have motion disabilities without requiring additional software or hardware.

Windows includes the following programs to enhance accessibility:

  • Magnifier enlarges a portion of the screen for easier viewing.

  • Narrator uses text-to-speech technology to read the contents of the screen aloud. This is useful for people who are blind or visually impaired.

  • On-Screen Keyboard provides users with limited mobility the ability to type on-screen using a pointing device.

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 for assistance while logging on to the computer on by pressing the Windows logo key ( Windows Update Icon ) + U at the Welcome to Windows dialog box.

Using the accessibility tools available in Accessibility Options in Control Panel, you can easily set your keyboard, display, and mouse functions. For more information, click Related Topics.

You can use the Accessibility Wizard to help you set up the options and programs for your individual needs. For more information, click Related Topics.

A wide variety of hardware and software products are available to make personal computers easier to use for people with disabilities. Among the different types of products available for MS-DOS and the Microsoft Windows operating systems are:

  • Programs that enlarge or alter the color of information on the screen for people with visual impairments.

  • Programs that describe information on the screen in Braille or synthesized speech for people who are blind or have difficulty reading.

  • Hardware and software utilities that modify the behavior of the mouse and keyboard.

  • Programs that enable the user to type using a mouse or his or her voice.

  • Word or phrase prediction software, which allows users to type more quickly and with fewer keystrokes.

  • Alternate input devices, such as single switch or puff and sip devices, for people who cannot use a mouse or a keyboard.

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.

See Also

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