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It's unfortunate but true that many people have difficulty viewing the screen or hearing audio, and for that reason there are a number of accessibility options built into Windows 8.1 that we can explore. Many more options, actually, than there were in Windows 8. And, we can still continue to do things the old fashioned way in the old desktop environment if that's what you're accustomed to. So, let's take a look at how it's done beginning here on the Start screen. Let's go to our settings. You can go to one of the hot corners in the top or bottom right hand corner or use Windows i on the keyboard.
To open up settings and then click Change PC settings. Over here on the left you'll see a category for Ease of Access. Let's click it. Look at all the options here. We have Narrator options for hearing text and controls on out screen. We have a Magnifier selection. High contrast for viewing the screen using different schemes and themes. Also, Keyboard, Mouse and other options that can be adjusted. Let's begin with the Narrator already selected at the top. By default it's turned off.
As soon as you turn this on, you're going to hear a voice, and then there are a number of options down below that can be adjusted. Let's turn it on by clicking this slider. >> PC settings Window. On. Narrator toggle switch. >> We can start the Narrator automatically by clicking this slider. >> On. >> Start Narrator automatically. Toggle Switch. >> A little further down. Get into some of the voice options. Maybe we want to hear a different voice. >> Selected. Microsoft David. One of. >> Choose a voice. Microsoft Zero.
Combo box. Selected. >> Choose a voice. Microsoft Hazel. Combo box. Selected Microsoft. >> Choose a voice. Microsoft David. Combo box. >> I'm going to keep that selection. We can adjust the speed and pitch of the voice using the sliders, want to slow it down or speed it up. (CROSSTALK) A higher-pitched voice. Or a lower gauge voice. >> 8, 9, 13, 15, 17, 12 >> I like 12.
Down below the sounds we hear can be turned on and off. Reading hence for control, characters that we type, words that we type. Lower the volume of other apps when the Narrator's speaking. All of these turned on by default. Also, you have options with the Narrator when it comes to cursors and keys highlighting the cursor, where it is. The insertion point, and activate keys on the touch keyboard when you lift your finger off the regular keyboard. That can be turned on as well.
Let's scroll all the way up and turn the Narrator off. There are other options for seeing our screen such as the Magnifier. Clicking this and turning it on allows us to choose from different view types. By default, you can see that this little magnifying glass, which is clickable to bring back our options, allows us to zoom in and out at different levels. That's 100%. If we really want to magnify we need to go up to at least 200%. But there are different ways to view. This just simply magnifies the entire screen and now we have to move our mouse around to see left, right, top and bottom.
I'm not keen on this one. So we're going to go back to the Magnifier here. Click the magnifying glass, and change the view to Lens. This option gives us the equivalent of a magnifying glass that we can simply move around to magnify the area on the screen that is of interest to us. And again, we can go to the magnifying glass icon, click the Close button to close it up, and that turns it off as well.
Notice other options when it's turned on to invert colors, start it automatically and tracking follow the keyboard focus or the mouse cursor. Both of those can be turned on or off. Another option is something called High contrast. Click that and you'll see that default is at none. But when we click the drop down, we have a number of different themes. Let's try number one. You can see that color scheme, how it's going to be a little bit different looking at our screen when we click Apply. It'll just take a moment to change to that theme. Now we're looking at all the same information but definitely it's a different type of view.
Let's click the drop down and try another one. Like High Contrast Black. And, High Contrast 2, what does that look like, that might be better. Whatever one you decide on, click Apply to have it applied to the screen you're looking at, and you can see it's a subtle change. I'm going to click the drop down and go back to none. Click Apply, and we're back where we started. We also have Keyboard access options. And you can see we can use an on screen keyboard. When you turn this on, the on screen keyboard that we're using.
Is not the equivalent of the one that we can click from our taskbar at the bottom of the screen. This one we're going to use our mouse to point and type Now if you do have a touch screen, you can touch the keys as well. I'll close that up. Closing it up turns it off, and you can see we have something like Sticky Keys. So when you press one key at a time for keyboard shortcuts. Ctrl+Alt+Delete, you would tap one of them after the other to achieve the same as pressing all three at the same time.
There's also something called Toggle Keys, where you hear a chong when you press Caps Lock, Num Lock and Scroll Lock. And Filter Keys, which you can ignore brief or repeated keystrokes. Turning that on means if you hold your finger down a little too long, you won't get a whole bunch of keystrokes. It'll just do the one that you meant and continue on. Alright, let's go back to our lefthand side, click Mouse to look at mouse options. We have pointer sizes that can be adjusted, pointer colors. I'm going to go to a different size, a little larger.
Notice it's the pointer itself, but also the cursor when you're working in text. And we can change the color. Now I have a larger, black pointer. The default being the first one in each of these categories. Notice also we can use the numeric keypad to move the mouse around the screen. If we turn this on, they start to act like cursor keys. We can also hold down Ctrl to speed up and Shift to slow down. And when it comes to our mouse keys, and the Num Lock is on, we can use those mouse keys so long as this is turned on. And Num Lock is turned on as well.
I'm going to turn the numeric keypad off so we're not dealing with those keys at all, and go on to other options that appear here. Notice we have animations in Windows. Show Windows background, both of those turned on. These are defaults that we would use whether we have difficulty viewing the screen or not. But we can change them. So animation might be confusing and we want to turn them off. Same thing for the Windows background. Or, when it comes to notifications that pop up, sometimes five seconds isn't long enough for some people.
We can click the drop down and increase that. I'm going to leave it at five seconds for me. We can also adjust the cursor thickness so it's easier to find on the screen. Notice as we move the slider to the right, the numbers grow, and so does our little sample here for our cursor. going to bring it back down to 1. There's also something called Touch feedback, where you'll see visual feedback when you touch the screen. So, if you're using a touchscreen, that should be turned on. So, you'll see a little flash where you're touching.
Use darker, larger visual feedback, which is ideal for presentations. That too, could be turned on. But, we'll leave it off as default. Alright, let's press our Windows key to return. And, those are some of the ease of access options you have directly available to you from the Start screen. Way more than we could access in say Windows 8. And of course, if we want to go back to the old way of doing things of Windows 7 and earlier, we can go to our Desktop and our Control panel to access the ease of access center there. Just right click the Start button.
Select Control panel. And from here, you'll see ease of access. When we click that link, we go into that center. There's the Ease of Access Center and its subcategories that you can go to directly by clicking the link. If we choose Ease of Access Center, we might hear a little message. If you don't, it means that Always Read This Section Aloud has been turned off. But you might hear the Narrator. You could start the Narrator, the magnifier onscreen keyboard, and set up high contrast in this environment from here as well.
Let's close this up, knowing that it's there if we need it. And return to our Start screen, where we'll continue with additional settings coming up.
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