How To: Use the cool features in the Ease of Access Center on Windows 7

Use the cool features in the Ease of Access Center on Windows 7

There's a handy new feature in Windows 7 called the Ease of Access Center, which brings together settings and programs that can make your PC easier to use. This is where you get quick access to programs like Magnifier, Narrator, On-Screen Keyboard and more. Learn about the accessibility.

Windows 7 gives you more ways to interact with your PC by taking advantage of new strides in speech recognition and touch technology.

Windows Speech Recognition now works better—and with more programs. So instead of using the keyboard, you can just tell your computer what to do. Start an e-mail by speaking the recipient's name, surf the web without a keyboard, or dictate your documents.

Magnifier is a help to people with low vision, but everyone will appreciate its ability to enlarge hard-to-see text and pictures. Full-screen mode magnifies the entire desktop, and lens mode zooms in on particular areas. Inside the Magnifier window, you can click buttons and input text as you normally would.

On-Screen Keyboard:
On-Screen Keyboard lets you "keyboard without a keyboard," with a choice of several different input methods: clicking mode, hovering mode, and scanning mode. With Windows Touch and the right hardware, you can also input text by tapping directly on the screen. And word prediction speeds things up: type the first few letters of a word, and Windows will finish it for you.

Text prediction in On-Screen Keyboard is not included in Windows 7 Home Basic.

Narrator and visual notifications:
Windows 7 can read on-screen text aloud and describe some events (like error messages), helping you use your computer without the display. With Audio Description, you can hear a narration of what's happening in a video. Windows can also replace sound alerts with visual cues like a screen flash, so system alerts are noticeable even when they're not heard.

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