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How to Use the Magnifier Feature for the Visually Impaired in Windows 7

One of the big improvements to the Ease of Access features in Windows 7 is the Magnifier. Windows 7's Magnifier feature, primarily used by the visually impaired, offers much greater control than earlier versions of Windows.

The Windows 7 Magnifier allows you to zoom into an area of the screen. The section you zoom into appears in a panel across the top of your screen. As you move the mouse, the area around the mouse appears magnified in this panel. Here's how you use it:

  1. Choose Start→Control Panel→Ease of Access→Ease of Access Center.

    The Ease of Access Center contains a wide variety of ways to help users with physical limitations.
    The Ease of Access Center contains a wide variety of ways to help users with physical limitations.

    The Ease of Access Center appears, and Windows 7’s ethereal voice kicks in, explaining how to change its programs.

    If you’d rather not hear the Narrator, deselect the checkbox that says Always Read This Section Aloud.

  2. Click the Start Magnifier button in the Quick Access to Common Tools pane.

    The Magnifier feature will start immediate, and you'll notice a panel at the top of the screen.

  3. Click the magnifying glass to display the Magnifier toolbar

    The Magnifier toolbar.
    The Magnifier toolbar.

    With these tools, you can increase (click the Plus button) or decrease (click the Minus button) magnification.

    Click the Views drop-down list to switch the magnification panel from docked to full screen.

  4. Click the gear icon for Magnifier Options


    You can use the Magnifier options to customize the way Magnifier works on your computer.

    • Adjust the percentage change of zoom.

    • Turn color inversion on or off.

    • Change the tracking from following the mouse (default) to following keyboard focus or the text insertion point.

    • Click the link to Control Whether Magnifier Starts When I Log On.

  5. When you finish making changes, click OK to apply the changes or Cancel to discard them.

    To turn off the Magnifier, click the X in the Magnifier toolbar.

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