People with disabilities also use the computer and the internet. It improves their independence and makes them less dependent on others. Microsoft has made the accessibility of its products a main development priority. As a result, there are more and more useful aids in Windows and Office in particular, which are not only useful for people with a disability. In fact these features make Windows 10 and Office 365 more accessible to everyone.
The features Microsoft builds into its software specifically for people with disabilities are called “accessibility features.” They can help users with, for example, low vision, hearing problems, neurodiversity such as dyslexia, ADHD and autism or concentration problems. The accessibility features are available to everyone and often surprisingly useful. We will explain some of these accessibility features and how to use them.
Ease of Access
Windows also has several options to make Windows 10 more accessible. Some of these were already present in earlier versions of the operating system, but clearly less well developed and, above all, very difficult to discover. In Windows 10 Microsoft has brought them together and given these features prominence at the main settings. Open the Windows settings via Start, Settings (or Windows key + I) and click on Ease of Access. Here you will find settings for working with high contrast, the font size, you can activate the magnifying glass and the narrator. These are all useful functions that people without disabilities only appreciate when they get to know them better. If you are now sitting behind the computer with reading glasses and you still cannot see the text properly, then enlarge the text in Windows via Display, Make text bigger. At first only the sample text is enlarged, but that changes after clicking Apply. If you really want to see everything bigger, you can also do that via the Make everything bigger option.
Another very useful tool is the magnifying glass. You switch it on via Windows key + plus sign and off again via Windows key + Esc. In Settings, Magnifier you will find a large number of configuration options for the magnifier. With the magnifying glass turned on, you can toggle between the different usage methods via Ctrl + Alt + M, such as a lens that moves with the mouse, enlarging the entire screen, or using a fixed part of the screen to display the magnification. Also using Ctrl + Alt + I you can invert the colours in the magnifying glass, which often makes the readability and visibility even better.
Windows also has an option to have the text being spoken so you don’t have to read it. This function is called the Narrator. Via Narrator, Enable Narrator you activate Narrator or use Windows key + Ctrl + Enter to turn it on or off. The Narrator can be controlled by scrolling through the screen elements with the Capslock + arrow key left or right. The selected screen part is read aloud. When a document or web page is open, the Narrator reads its title first and then the text. If you are entering text, it will be read aloud. So for every letter you type, you will be told which letter it is and whether it is a capital letter. This takes some practice, but can be a useful to help with visual problems. Via the options in the Settings you can adjust the speaking speed, but also pitch and volume.
Accessibility Functions Office 365
There are also accessibility functions in Office 365. We give you an overview of these functions.
If you have the latest version of Office 365, you can now also dictate text. You no longer have to type the content of your document. Click Dictation and select the desired language. Then click on Dictate and the red button indicates that the recording has started. If you now quietly record the text, Word will type it for you. You can also pronounce punctuation marks such as period and comma; these are neatly included in the typed text.
The above are the main accessibility features used in Microsoft software. As stated these functions help people with and without a disability make more use of their computer.
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