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How to Modify Windows 8 for the Physically Challenged

Nearly everybody finds Windows 8 to be particularly challenging, but some people face special physical challenges, as well. To assist them, the Control Panel’s Ease of Access area offers a variety of welcome changes.

If your eyesight isn’t what it used to be, you may appreciate the ways to increase the text size on your computer screen.

Follow these steps to modify the settings in Windows 8:

  1. Load the desktop’s Control Panel.

    You can fetch the Control Panel any of several ways:

    • Mouse: Right-click the screen’s bottom-left corner and choose Control Panel from the pop-up menu.

    • Keyboard: From the desktop, press Windows+I, scroll up to the words Control Panel, and then press Enter.

    • Touchscreen: From the desktop, slide your finger from the screen’s right edge inward, tap the Settings icon, and tap the words Control Panel.

  2. When the Control Panel appears, select the Ease of Access category, and choose the Ease of Access Center icon.

    The Ease of Access Center appears. The ethereal voice of Windows 8 kicks in, explaining how to change its programs.

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  3. Choose the Get Recommendations to Make Your Computer Easier to Use link.

    Look for the link called Get Recommendations to Make Your Computer Easier to Use. That makes Windows 8 give you a quick interview so that it can gauge what adjustments you may need. When it’s through, Windows 8 automatically makes its changes, and you’re done.

    If you’re not happy with the changes, move to Step 4.

  4. Make your changes manually.

    The Ease of Access Center offers these toggle switches to make the keyboard, sound, display, and mouse easier to control:

    • Start Magnifier: Designed for the visually impaired, this option magnifies the mouse pointer’s exact location.

    • Start Narrator: The awful built-in narrator in Windows 8 reads onscreen text for people who can’t view it clearly.

    • Start On-Screen Keyboard: This setting places a clickable keyboard along the screen’s bottom, letting you type by pointing and clicking.

    • Set up High Contrast: This setting eliminates most screen colors but helps vision-impaired people view the screen and cursor more clearly.

    Choose any of these options to turn on the feature immediately. Close the feature’s window if the feature makes matters worse.

    If you’re still not happy, proceed to Step 5.

  5. Choose a specific setting in the Explore All Settings area.

    Here’s where Windows 8 gets down to the nitty gritty, letting you optimize Windows 8 specifically for the following things:

    • Blindness or impaired vision

    • Using an alternative input device rather than a mouse or keyboard

    • Adjusting the keyboard and mouse sensitivity to compensate for limited movements

    • Turning on visual alerts instead of sound notifications

    • Making it easier to focus on reading and typing tasks

    Some centers that assist physically challenged people may offer software or assistance for helping you make these changes.

For more information about Windows 8 and its features, explore Windows 8 For Dummies, available online.

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