January 7, 2010

How to Use the Magnifier and Narrator of your Vista Computer

Microsoft has included a host of ease of access features in the Vista operating system two of which are the Magnifier and the Narrator. This article shows how you can use the Magnifier and the Narrator features in your Vista computer.

The Magnifier when started opens a number of magnifier windows on top of your monitor depending of the number of windows that are open in your desktop. So as not to clutter the top portion of your desktop, ensure that you have only a few windows open in your desktop. Close those windows that you are not concerned with at the moment.

Using your mouse, hover over the portion of any window that you want magnified and you will see a magnified image of that particular portion of the window. This will be very useful if you are somewhat visually impaired and you want to read the text on the window that you are working on.

To start the Magnifier, open a few windows in your desktop then click on the Vista start button then click on All Programs. Click on Accessories then click on Ease of Use then click on Magnifier. Focus your eyes on the magnified windows at the top portion of your desktop as you move your mouse around the windows that you want magnified. To close Magnifier, click on File then Exit on the Magnifier control window.

The Narrator can read to you the text on an open window on your desktop. However, not all windows can be read by the Narrator. I have tried using it and what I found is that the Narrator is unable to read web pages on an Internet browser and even documents opened on Microsoft Word.

What you can do is to copy the text you're interested in from the browser or Microsoft Word window and paste it onto a blank Notepad window. If the Narrator is already activated, it will immediately read the text that you have pasted on the blank Notepad window. You can stop the Narrator from reading further by pressing the Control key on your keyboard or by just clicking on any space on the Notepad window.

To resume reading the text on the Notepad window, you can just click on the title bar of any open window and click again on the title bar of the Notepad window that the Narrator is reading. However, the Narrator will start reading again from the beginning of the text. The same effect can be achieved by pressing Insert then F7 or F8 on your keyboard.

Adobe Reader has its own narrator so if you want the text on Adobe Reader to be read, just click on View, hover your mouse on Read Out Loud, then click on Activate Read Out Loud. Click on View again, hover your mouse on Read Out Loud, then click on Read to End of Document. To stop the reading of the text aloud, repeat the procedure and click on either Pause or Stop. After you're done, repeat the procedure and click on Deactivate Read out Loud.

To use the Narrator in talking verbally with someone, just start the Narrator, then open a blank Notepad window and type the sentence that you want to say. Move the cursor to the beginning of the sentence using the left arrow key of your keyboard, move the cursor one line up using the up arrow on your keyboard, then move the cursor back to the beginning of the sentence using the down arrow key on your keyboard. Repeat the procedure for other sentences that you want to say.

You can also type a full paragraph and to begin reading it, just click on the title bar of any open window then click on the title bar of the Notepad window that you want to read. When you have many paragraphs already typed, just position the cursor on the beginning of the paragraph you want to read and press the Insert key and then F6 on your keyboard. You can press the control key on your keyboard anytime to stop the Narrator from reading anything on any window.

To start the Narrator, just click on the Vista start button then click on All Programs, then click on Accessories. Click on the Ease of Access and click on the Narrator. To close the Narrator, click on the Exit button on the Narrator window and click Yes on the confirmation window. You can control how fast the Narrator reads, how loud the voice is and how high or low the pitch of the voice is by clicking on the Voice Settings on the Narrator control window.

Even if you don't need to use the Magnifier and the Narrator features of your Vista computer, it pays to know how to use them for you'll never know when the time may come that you might need to help someone use them. The Magnifier and the Narrator features are indispensable tools to help the handicapped make better use of computers.

Read my article on how to use your Vista computer's desktop features at: http://publishtoweb.blogspot.com/2010/01/how-to-use-your-vista-computers-desktop.html.

Read my other article on how to do some useful tasks with your Vista computer at: http://publishtoweb.blogspot.com/2010/01/how-to-do-some-useful-things-with-your.html

Read my other article on how to setup parental controls in your Vista laptop at: http://publishtoweb.blogspot.com/2010/02/how-to-setup-parental-controls-in-your.html

Read an article on working quickly and taking care of your Vista computer at: http://publishtoweb.blogspot.com/2011/12/working-quickly-while-taking-care-of.html.