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Visual Assistive Technology on the Public Computers

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All the Library's public computers use the Windows 10 operating system and include the assistive features listed below. Library staff will be happy to help you access and get started with them.

Enlarging text in a browser and other programs

The text in a browser window can be enlarged either by going to the browser settings or holding down the Ctrl key and pushing the mouse wheel forward. Pulling the wheel back reduces the size of text. Using the Ctrl key and mouse wheel also works in Microsoft Office programs and in some programs from other software companies.


Magnifier can enlarge everything on the computer screen, including the desktop. To turn it on press the Windows key and the plus (+) key. To turn it off press the Windows key and the minus sign (you may need to push that combination multiple times if the screen is enlarged more than 100%). When it’s on you’ll see a magnifying glass icon at the upper left of the screen, and when you put your cursor over the magnifying glass you’ll see two arrows that you can click to access the settings.

The default view is Full Screen, which magnifies the entire screen, and you’ll need to move your mouse to the edge to see the outer edges of the screen. “Lens” magnifies a portion of the screen around the cursor, and “Docked” magnifies a rectangular portion of the screen around the cursor, but the magnified image appears in a set (docked) area at the top of the screen. That docked area can be expanded by stretching it.

Windows Narrator

Windows Narrator is an audio screen reader that helps people who can’t read a computer screen use a computer. A computerized voice can be used to read the text in a browser screen, the text and menu items in a Microsoft Office program, or what’s been selected on the desktop when you move from one item to another using keyboard shortcuts or the mouse.

Windows Narrator has been getting good reviews from the American Foundation for the Blind. To see a 2017 review of Narrator click here. To see an updated 2018 review click here. Because Narrator is patterned after JAWS, someone accustomed to using JAWS will probably be able to use Narrator without too much trouble.

Someone who has not used a screen reader before will need to know the location of keys on a standard keyboard and learn Narrator's keyboard shortcuts. Generally, staff will not have time to do much more than get you started with it, unless it’s part of a scheduled Book-a-Tech session. If you'd like help learning to use Narrator please schedule a Book-a-Tech session. Personal, one-on-one Book-a-Tech sessions are available at all branches by appointment.