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For Seniors: Improve Visibility on a Windows Laptop

You can set up Windows on your computer to use higher screen contrast to make things easier to see, read descriptions to you rather than make you read text, and much more.

1

From the Desktop, press Win+I and then click Control Panel.

The Control Panel will appear.

2

In the Control Panel window, click the Optimize Visual Display link under the Ease of Access tools.

A dialog box will appear.

3

In the resulting Make the Computer Easier to See dialog box, select the check boxes for features you want to use:

High Contrast: Turn on the Higher Contrast When Alt+Left Shift+Print Screen Is Pressed setting. High contrast is a color scheme that increases the darkness of darker elements and the lightness of lighter elements so it's easier for your eyes to distinguish one from the other. You can choose to have a warning message appear when you turn this setting on, or play a sound when it’s turned off or on.

4

You can also go to the PC Settings from the Start screen Charm bar (Win+I→Change PC Settings) and click Ease of Access.

In the Ease of Access panel, you can click the Highlight the Cursor setting to turn on this feature that helps you see the cursor on your screen.

Hear Text and Descriptions Read Aloud: You can turn on a Narrator feature that reads onscreen text or an Audio Description feature to describe what’s happening in video programs.

5

You can also go to the PC Settings from the Charm bar to access a setting that allows you to turn the Narrator on or off, or set Narrator to start automatically when you start your computer.

You can also choose a voice style, speed, and pitch in these settings.

Make Things on the Screen Larger: If you click Turn on Magnifier, there will be two cursors displayed onscreen. One cursor appears in the Magnifier window, where everything is shown enlarged, and one appears in whatever is showing on your laptop (for example, your Desktop or an open application). You can maneuver either cursor to work in your document. (They’re both active, so it does take some getting used to.)

Make Things On the Screen Easier to See: Here’s where you make settings that adjust onscreen contrast to make things easier to see, enlarge the size of the blinking cursor, and get rid of distracting animations and backgrounds.

6

When you finish making your settings, click OK to apply them and then click the Close button to close the dialog box.

If you bought a laptop with a smaller screen and find text is hard to read, don’t run out and buy a new laptop. It’s possible to connect your laptop to a standalone monitor using a port on the side of the computer (called a VGA port). If you mainly use your laptop at home, this may be a less expensive way to upgrade your screen to a larger size.

Consult your laptop manual for instructions on how to hook up to a separate monitor.

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