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Accessibility Wizard: a Good Place to Start

The Accessibility Wizard guides you through a vast array of options. All you do is answer questions that are presented in each window screen, based on your needs.

Do either of the following to start the Accessibility Wizard:

  1. Use the mouse: Select Start, All Programs, Accessories, Accessibility, Accessibility Wizard.

  2. Use the keyboard: Press Ctrl+Esc (displays the Start menu), R (displays the Run window), accwiz (type this in the Open field), Enter (executes the OK button).

The Accessibility Wizard window appears. Click Next or press Enter to move to the first settings window, Text Size.

Text Size

The Text Size window provides you with three options. Do either of the following to select an option:

  1. Click on an option using the mouse.

  2. Use the arrow keys to land on an option.

Following is a description of each available option:

  1. Use usual text size for Windows: No changes are made to text size.

  2. Use large window titles and menus: All text in window titles and menus are larger than normal. Text within a window is not altered.

  3. Use Microsoft Magnifier and large titles and menus: Microsoft Magnifier starts, in addition to large titles and menus.

After you select an option, click Next or press Enter to move to the next window, Display Settings.

Display Settings

Display Settings control how information is displayed onscreen. One or more of four available options are already selected, based on your choice in the previous Text Size window.

Use any of the following methods to select an option:

  • Click on a check box to switch an option on/off.

  • Press the first letter that begins each option to switch on/off. For example, press c to toggle the first option, Change the font size on/off.

  • Tab to each option and then press the numeric keypad plus key to toggle on, and press the numeric keypad minus key to toggle off. Or, press the spacebar to toggle on/off.

Here's a rundown of how display features work:

  1. Change the font size: Enlarges font sizes in window title bars and menus. Text inside windows is not affected.

  2. Switch to a lower screen resolution: Lower screen resolutions make everything onscreen, including text inside windows, appear larger. Use this if you have trouble viewing very small text.

  3. Use Microsoft Magnifier: Starts the Microsoft Magnifier utility program.

  4. Disable personalized menus: It's a good idea to turn this feature off for disabled users. With this feature on, the Programs menu hides items that haven't been used in awhile. You must click on the down arrow located at the bottom of a menu list to access hidden items.


    Not sure how personalized menus are activated? Right-click on Start, and select Properties from the floating menu. Click Classic Start Menu and then Customize. Scroll through the Advanced Start menu options list, and select Personalized Menus. Click OK twice. Now look through items in the Start, Programs list. Sometimes, an arrow appears at the bottom of a list. Click the arrow to reveal hidden items.

When you have made your selection, click Next or press Enter to move to the next window: Wizard Options.

Set Wizard Options

The wizard has great advantages—you choose one or more of the following statements that apply to your situation, and the wizard does the rest:

  1. I am blind or having difficulty seeing things on screen

  2. I am deaf or having difficulty hearing sounds from the computer

  3. I have difficulty using the keyboard or mouse

  4. I want to set administrative options

For example, if you choose I am blind or having difficultly seeing things on screen, the wizard guides you through additional screen options such as scrollbar and window size, icon size, and much more. If you choose I am having difficulty using the keyboard or mouse, the wizard guides you through corresponding options for StickyKeys, BounceKeys, and more.


If more than one person uses the same computer, use administrative options to set selected accessibility features to begin automatically each time a particular user logs on or to turn features off when a computer is idle for a period of time.

When you finish stepping through the corresponding options based on your situation, the Completing the Accessibility Wizard window is displayed. A list appears with the changes you made. Click Finish or press Enter to close the wizard.

Making Adjustments with Accessibility Options

After using the Accessibility Wizard, you can make further adjustments to settings with Accessibility Options, a Control Panel program. These settings are available to you whether or not you used the Accessibility Wizard.

Open the Accessibility Options Control Panel

Using keyboard commands, the following steps show you how to open the Accessibility Options Control Panel program:

  1. Press Ctrl+Esc (or press the Windows logo key) to display the Start menu.

  2. Press C to select Control Panel. The Control Panel window is displayed.

  3. If Control Panel is displayed in Category view, now is the time to switch to Classic View to display all Control Panel icons. Press Tab twice to land on Use Classic View in the left pane and then press Enter. The window switches to Classic view, and all Control Panel icons are displayed.

  4. Press A, C on your keyboard; or use the arrow keys to select Accessibility Options from the Control Panel icon list.

  5. Press Enter. The Accessibility Options window is displayed.

How to Use the Accessibility Options Window

The Accessibility Options window provides you with five tab categories: Keyboard, Sound, Display, Mouse, and General. Each of them has its own set of options.

Before delving into these options, take a look at how to move around the window using keyboard commands. We often take mousing around for granted, but remember that many disabled computer users rely solely on keyboard commands.

  • Press Ctrl+Tab to switch between tabs across the top of the window.

  • To make a checkbox selection, press Tab or arrow keys to land on an option. Then, do any of the following to toggle the checkbox on/off:

    Press the underlined letter of the option.

    Press the numeric keypad's plus or minus sign.

    Press the spacebar.

    To make a selection from a drop-down list, press Tab or the arrow keys to land on the drop-down list. Then, press arrow keys to scroll through choices in the list.

  • To change a slider setting, press Tab to land on a slider. Then, press left or right arrow keys to move the slider.

  • To close the Control Panel window, press Alt+F and then press C.

Understanding Accessibility Options

You're in control with Accessibility Options. Take some time to experiment with the various options to see which work best for your situation.

Keyboard: Allows you to control the way a keyboard is used.

StickyKeys is perfect for those who have difficulty pressing keys in combination, including the Shift, Ctrl, Alt, and Logo keys. This option allows you to press each key in sequence one at a time instead. This is a good solution for visual and mobility impairment.

FilterKeys ignores brief or repeated keystrokes. Vision- or mobility-impaired users, as well as folks learning to use a computer for the first time, can benefit greatly from this simple option.

ToggleKeys works well for those with vision and mobility disabilities, allowing you to hear tones when these keys are pressed: Cap Lock, Num Lock, and Scroll Lock.

Show extra keyboard help in programs shows extra help (if available) in some programs on how to accomplish commands using the keyboard. We hope that more software developers include extra help in future releases.

Sound: Turns on visual clues, along with computer sounds, for those having trouble hearing sounds on a computer. This solution also works well for hearing-impaired users or if a noisy environment drowns out computer sounds.

SoundSentry creates a visual warning each time your system makes a sound. You can flash the active caption bar, window, or desktop.

ShowSounds works well with programs that have the capability to show captions along with sounds. This provides an even better clue if you have trouble hearing computer sounds.

Display: Creates a more readable Windows viewing environment for those with low vision.

High Contrast settings provide you with easy-to-read schemes that alter font size and colors. For instance, if you have trouble seeing black on white, change the scheme to white on black with really large type. Click the Setting button next to High Contrast to reveal preset schemes.

Cursor Options allows you to change the cursor blink rate (which can be annoying if set too fast) and the width of the cursor (helpful for those who have trouble seeing the insertion cursor).

Mouse: Allows you to switch input control of the mouse pointer.

MouseKeys lets you control the mouse pointer with any keys on your numeric keypad. Click the Settings button to fine-tune the speed of MouseKey controls. This is helpful for those who have trouble with a mouse.

General: Controls certain aspects of accessibility features, such as automatic turn-off after idle time and audible notification when features are turned on or off with shortcut keys.

Automatic reset turns accessibility features off when a computer is idle for a selected period of time.

Notification provides visual or audible notification when an accessibility feature is turned on of off using a shortcut command. This feature is of great assistance to those who may press key combinations in error that coincidentally turn accessibility features on/off.

SerialKeys is used for setting up alternative input devices—such as a puff and sip device—through a serial port for those who can't use a conventional keyboard.

Administrative options allows a system administrator to apply accessibility settings at logon and as default for new users. Accessibility settings are activated after a user is logged on to his account. A disabled user may also need those same settings activated at the logon screen.

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