Computer Accessibility

Individuals with vision, motor, and hearing impairments can use a computer by accessing the accessibility features on Windows or Apple based devices. Sometimes, various software contains accessibility options as well. For those with motor (physical) limitations, external options are available to accommodate specific options within the built-in computer accessibility features. This link ( leads to the accessibility page for Windows 7,8, and 10.

Windows PC Computers Accessibility Options


Accessibility features on a computer running Windows 7

Click "Start">"Control Panel" > "Ease of Access Center." Screen_shot_2011-11-18_at_2.10.19_PM.png Then click on the accessibility desired.

  • High contrast. If it’s hard to read text on your screen, you can change the theme of your PC to a color combination that’s easier to read.
  • Make everything on your screen bigger. If things on your screen are too small to read, you can use this setting to magnify everything on the screen.
  • Pressing Windows+Volume Up. This works on newer laptops and tablets. First, choose a setting (Narrator, Magnifier, or On-Screen Keyboard), and then turn it on with a quick press of the Windows logo button and Volume Up button together.
  • Show notifications for. If you find that notifications appear and disappear too quickly, you can change how long they’re visible—so you have time to read and react to them.
  • Cursor thickness. If the cursor is too small for you and hard to spot on the screen, use this setting to change its thickness.
  • Use the computer without a display. Here, you can turn on Narrator, turn on audio descriptions for videos, set up Text to Speech, and change how long dialog boxes stay open.
  • Make the computer easier to see. If you occasionally have trouble seeing items on your screen, adjust these settings to make the screen easier to see. You can change to a high contrast theme, turn on Magnifier, adjust colors, and remove unnecessary animations and background images.
  • Use the computer without a mouse or keyboard. Windows includes an on-screen keyboard that lets you enter text by selecting characters on the screen. You can also use Speech Recognition to control your PC with voice commands, and dictate text into programs. For more info, see How to use Speech Recognition.
  • Make the mouse easier to use. This setting lets you change the size and color of the mouse pointer, and use the numeric keypad to control the mouse.
  • Make the keyboard easier to use. You can adjust the way Windows responds to mouse or keyboard input so that key combinations are easier to press, typing is easier, and accidental keystrokes are ignored.
  • Use text or visual alternatives for sounds. Windows can replace system sounds with visual cues and display text captions for spoken dialog in multimedia programs.
  • Make it easier to focus on tasks. These settings include a number of ways to help you focus on reading and typing. Use them to turn on Narrator, adjust how the keyboard responds to certain keystrokes, and change the way certain visual elements are displayed.
  • Make touch and tablets easier to use. When you choose this option, Narrator starts automatically when you press the Windows logo button and Volume Up button together. You can change this so Magnifier or On-Screen Keyboard starts instead.

Windows accessibility resource weblinks:
Accessibility Guides for Educators Accessibility

10 Free Screen Readers for Blind or Visually Impaired

Coming soon: The wonderful world of Windows 10! Until then, please access this link for information on Windows 10 accessibility. or here on the Microsoft site.

Macintosh Computers Accessibility Options


Accessibility features can be found under the "System Preferences."

Click on the Screen_shot_2011-11-18_at_1.14.41_PM.pngand then going to the Screen_shot_2011-11-18_at_1.14.24_PM.pngUniversal Access icon.

You can bring up this window anytime with a simple shortcut.
  • On the built-in keyboard of a Mac notebook computer, press Fn-Option-Command-F5.
  • On a Mac notebook with Touch ID (power button),* triple-press Touch ID.
  • On an external keyboard, press Option-Command-F5.


Accessibility features include Voiceover, Zoom, and Display and can accommodate persons with vision, hearing or physical disabilities (enable access for assistive devices).

Apple accessibility resource weblinks:

Apple Technology for Diverse Learners


An essential teaching and learning resource written by Apple Distinguished Educators.

Ghostreader The most realistic sounding voices (text-to-speech) for Apple devices (purchased item)