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Changing the Look and Feel of Your Galaxy Tab 3 by Changing Accessibility Settings

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 is designed to be used by anyone, and you can customize the Tab 3 for your level of usability. Eric Butow discusses a variety of Tab 3 accessibility settings for screen, sound, mobility, and controlling interactions.
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You can modify the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 to work the way that's most usable for you, including changing how you view the screen, what sounds you hear on the Tab 3, and how you interact with the device.

The Accessibility settings list within the Settings screen allows you to make changes to the screen, determine if the Tab 3 talks to you, change colors and fonts on the screen, change how you hear sound, and change how you control device interactions.

Open the Accessibility settings list by tapping Settings in the Home screen. Within the Settings screen, swipe down the settings menu list until you see the Accessibility option. Open the Accessibility settings list shown in Figure 1 by tapping the Accessibility option.

Figure 1 The Accessibility settings list appears on the right side of the screen

The Accessibility settings list is divided into six sections. The top of the list shows that the Auto-Rotate Screen check box is checked. This means that when you rotate the device, the screen repositions itself so you can continue to read the screen clearly.

You can turn off this feature by tapping the Auto-Rotate Screen check box. You know the feature is off when the check box is clear.

By default, the screen turns off after 10 minutes of inactivity. You can change this interval by tapping Screen Timeout in the list and then selecting the interval in the Screen Timeout window shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2 You can cancel changes to the screen timeout interval by tapping the Cancel button

Tap the button to the right of the screen timeout interval that you want, from 15 seconds to 30 minutes.

If you need to hear characters in your password, you can have the Tab 3 speak password characters as you enter them by tapping the Speak Passwords check box. You should take care when using this feature to ensure that no one else can hear your password as you type.

You can access the Accessibility settings list more easily by tapping the Show Shortcut button. After you tap this button, every time you press and hold the power button to view the Device Options window (so you can perform system tasks such as power off the Tab 3), you'll see the Accessibility option in the window menu. Go directly to the Accessibility settings list by tapping the Accessibility option.

Once you have the accessibility settings the way you want them, you may want to save them as a file or even share your accessibility settings with another device such as an Android smartphone.

You can save and share your accessibility settings by tapping Manage Accessibility and then select one of the three options in the Manage Accessibility list shown in Figure 3:

  • Export: You can export your settings as a file to either the Tab 3 device or onto an SD card.
  • Update: If you want to update your accessibility settings, you can import the saved settings file, update your settings, and then re-export the file. You can import the file from the Tab 3 or from an SD card.
  • Share Via: You can share the settings file through your Dropbox account, a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi Direct connection to another device, or in an email message through your Email or Gmail account.

Figure 3 The Manage Accessibility list allows you to export, update, and share your accessibility settings

When you import or share a file, the My Files app appears on the screen so you can find the file in the Accessibility folder. If you decide that you want to return to the Accessibility settings list without exporting, importing, or sharing a settings file, press the Back button.


Within the Services section, you can have the Tab 3 provide you with spoken feedback in response to what you touch and/or activate on the screen using the TalkBack app.

After you tap TalkBack in the Services section, you can turn on TalkBack by sliding the Off button to On in the blue menu bar shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4 The Off slider button appears in the blue menu bar at the top of the screen

After you start the TalkBack app, a window appears that asks you to confirm that you want to use TalkBack. You can then start using the Tab 3 as you normally would and you'll hear the standard voice.

The first time you hear the voice from the Tab 3, you'll see a window that asks you if you want to download a high-quality voice file; you can download the file by tapping the OK button in the window. If you would rather use the standard voice file, double-tap the Cancel button.

Note that when TalkBack is on, you have to use different tapping and movement features to get around the screen. For example, you have to double-tap buttons and use two fingers to scroll down the list of settings on the left side of the Settings screen.


Swipe up in the Accessibility settings list to view all seven Vision settings (shown in Figure 5).

Figure 5 All seven options within the Vision section

You can change one or more of the following options in the Vision section:

  • Font Size: The default font size is Normal, but you can change to one of five different sizes from Tiny to Huge in the Font Size window shown in Figure 6.
  • Figure 6 If you don't want to change the font size, tap the Cancel button

  • Magnification Gestures: Turn on this feature so you can zoom in or out by triple-tapping on the screen. You can temporarily magnify what's under your fingers by triple-tapping and holding on the last tap. When you're zoomed in, you can pan around the screen by dragging two or more fingers across the screen, or pinch two more figures together or apart to zoom in and out, respectively.
  • Negative Colors: Reverses the colors on the screen. For example, black text on a white background becomes white text on a black background.
  • Color Adjustment: Slide the Off button to On so you can change the colors on the screen.
  • Accessibility Shortcut: This feature allows you to turn on accessibility features by pressing and holding the power key until you either hear a sound or feel a vibration, or pressing and holding the screen with two fingers until you hear a sound.
  • Text-to-Speech Options: Allows you to choose between the Samsung and Google text-to-speech options and change your preferred option's settings, change the rate at which text is spoken, and listen to an example of what speech will sound like on your Tab 3.
  • Enhance Web Accessibility: If an app uses web content, this feature gives you the ability to make that web content more accessible, such as reading the web page content aloud.


Swipe up in the Accessibility settings list until you reach the bottom of the list so you can view the final three sections starting with the Hearing section shown in Figure 7.

Figure 7 The Hearing section contains three settings you can change

Within the Hearing section, you can change one of the following three settings:

  • Sound Balance: This setting allows you to change the sound balance for your earphones so the sound coming from the earphones sounds right to you.
  • Mono Audio: Tap the Mono Audio check box to change the sound output from stereo to mono if you're listening to sound with only one earphone.
  • Turn Off All Sounds: Tap this check box to turn off all sound from the Tab 3.


Two settings appear in the Mobility section that you saw in Figure 7. In the Assistant Menu setting, slide the Off button to On to turn on the Assistant menu button that appears in the lower-right corner of the screen.

Tap the Assistant menu button to open the Assistant menu window shown in Figure 8.

Figure 8 The Assistant menu appears in the lower-right corner of the screen

Tap a button for the appropriate command, such as tapping the Home button to return to the Home screen. You can also tap the up and down arrows in the blue bar at the right side of the window to view four more buttons in the window. After you tap the button, the window appears for a few seconds and then disappears, although the Assistant menu button returns in the lower right corner of the screen.

If you don't tap a button for a few seconds, the menu window disappears, and you see the Assistant menu button in the lower-right corner of the screen again.

You can also close the window and view the Assistant menu button by tapping on the screen outside the window. If you want to turn the Assistant menu button off, slide the button in the Assistant Menu setting within the Mobility section from On to Off.

You can also change how long it takes for a menu or other option to appear when you press and hold down on the screen by tapping Press and Hold Delay and then selecting from Short (the default selection), Medium, or Long.


In the Recognition section that you saw in Figure 7, slide the Interaction Control button from Off to On so you can keep notifications on the screen confined to the Status bar (you won't see a pop-up box on the screen announcing your new notification).

You can turn this option off by sliding the Interaction Control button from On to Off.

That completes your tour of the Accessibility settings on the Tab 3, so enjoy exploring all the options so you can make the Tab 3 work effectively for you every day.

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