Assistance using Microsoft Windows XP


Microsoft Windows XP has a built in magnification utility, which is free although a little limited in use.

As their disclaimer says:
"Magnifier is intended to provide a minimum level of functionality
for users with slight visual impairments. Most users with visual
impairments will need a magnification utility program with higher
functionality for daily use."

However, if you find it is satsfactory for regular use, the advantage is that it is a built-in utility with
Windows and is free.

Below are instructions for switching on the magnifier:

Action Using the mouse Using the keyboard
Click once on the start button. Press the Windows key ()on the keyboard or hold the Ctrl key down and press Esc (called the Escape key).
Move the mouse to "All Programs". If an additional menu does not automatically appear, click once. Press P on the keyboard and the press the Enter key or the right arrow key.
Click on or move the mouse over the Accessories option until another menu appears next to it. Press A to go to the first option starting with that letter. If it is not the Accessories option use the uparrow and downarrow keys to find it and the press enter.
Click on or move the mouse over the Accessibility option until aonther menu appears next to it. Press A to go to the first option starting with that letter. If it is not the Accessibility option use the uparrow and downarrow keys to find it and the press enter.
You should then see the accessibility menu. You should then see the accessibility menu.
Click on the magnifier option Use the arrow keys to highlight the magnifier option and press enter.


Alternative Instructions:

If you find the keyboard instructions above a little difficult to follow, there is an alternative below:

Action Using the keyboard
Press the Windows key (with the symbol on it).

The "Run" window should be displayed.

Type in the word magnify.

Press ENTER.

  Notes: A message box with a link to more information about Microsoft Magnifier may appear. To close the box, press ENTER.

To use Magnifier but hide the Magnifier Settings box, select Minimize by pressing ALT and SPACEBAR,then N.

To turn off Magnifier, in the Magnifier Settings box, press ALT and X.


Magnifier Settings:

Initially you may get a which gives you some general information about the magnifier. If you do, click OK or press ENTER to get the next screen shown below which has some magnifier settings on it. You will also see the screen view split in half (or thereabouts) with the top half magnified. These settings can be adjusted as shown below.

Display Action

These are the default settings, which many people will find satisfactory. However, you can adjust them if you wish and most of the effects have an immediate effect so you can try them out without making them permanent.
At the bottom of the box shown opposite are buttons labelled Help and Exit. Clicking on Help does, as expected, display some additional help for this utility. However, be warned that clicking on Exit, closes the magnifier and removes it from use. You should minimise the window by clicking on the little box at the top right (third from the end) with the symbol in it. This will leave a Magnifier Settings option on your toolbar across the bottom of the screen. Clicking on the red "X" button at the top right has the same effect as clicking the Exit button.
You can adjust the magnification level with the downarrow button near the top of the Settings screen. Experiment with this to find a value to your satisfaction. The "Tracking" options are best experimented with. Switch off "Follow mouse cursor" and you will see that the magnified screen, instead of keeping focus on where the mouse pointer is, allows you to move around the standard screen and the magnified section does its best to follow ehere you are.
If you have some difficulty seeing the magnified screen, try the "Invert Colors" option as this reverses the colours used in the magnified screen. The effect is imediate and you can always switch it off if you don't like it by selecting the option again.
The "Start Minimized" option in the Presentation section can be useful to enable once you have got the settings as you like. It saves you minimising the settings window every time you run it by doing it for you.

If you find the magnified area is not large enough, or is too large, you can adjust it as explained below.

Adjusting the magnified area:  
The illustration opposite shows how you should see the screen with the magnifier enabled. An upper portion of the screen will be magnified. If you move the mouse pointer to the split (the top of the unmagnified area), the pointer should change to double headed arrow as shown opposite.
If you want o adjust the position of the split, press and hold the left button on the mouse and move it up or down as required - this is called a "click and drag" action. You can split the screen as far as half way down the actual screen display. The effect is visible as soon as you do it.