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Windows 7 - An Overview of Accessibility Options

Windows 7 provides some accessibility options which make your computer easier to use, especially for those who are visually- or hearing-impaired. These accessibility tools include speech recognition, narration, an on-screen magnifying glass and an on-screen keyboard. There is also an entire Ease of Access Center where you can configure all of the available accessibility settings on your computer. Following is an overview of the accessibility options in Windows 7.

1 – Using an On-Screen Keyboard
If you don't have a keyboard attached to your computer or your existing keyboard is not working for some reason, you can activate the on-screen keyboard as an alternative input method. You'll find this utility in Start Menu > All Programs > Accessories > Ease of Access. The on-screen keyboard allows you to use the mouse to control a virtual keyboard. At the login screen, you can also access this feature by clicking on the accessibility icon in the bottom-left.

2 – Using the On-Screen Magnifier
The on-screen magnifier is also accessible from the same locations as the on-screen keyboard. This accessibility utility allows you to magnify everything that is on the screen. The magnifier provides three viewing options including full-screen, a lens or docked to the top of the screen. You can also change the zoom level. There are some additional options which allow you to change the size of the magnifier lens and invert the colours of everything being displayed in it.

3 – Using Microsoft Narrator
Microsoft Narrator is a utility which automatically narrates everything you do on your computer. This is a useful tool for those who are visually-impaired, since it reads aloud what is on the screen and which buttons you are pressing on the keyboard. You can choose whether you want Narrator to narrate the user's keystrokes, announce system messages and announce scrolling notifications. Further options allow you to select the voice and modify the speed, volume and pitch of the voice.

4 – Windows Speech Recognition
For anyone who has difficulty typing or simply prefers to dictate to their computer, Speech Recognition will likely be of interest. The program allows you to dictate emails and documents without even touching the keyboard. You can also use this feature for carrying out tasks such as running programs, clicking buttons and navigating the Internet all by just using your voice.
For this feature to work optimally, you'll need to have a high quality, noise-cancelling microphone. You'll also need to train the software for it to better recognise your voice. The more you use it, the more accurate it will become.


Microsoft Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and other countries. Speed improvements vary based on your system configuration. ErrorTeck is not endorsed or affiliated with either Microsoft or the third party applications it supports.