Getting old is no disgrace. Its just inconvenient at times.
Im old so you can take my word for it: Some of the changes aging brings can make using a computer challenging at times. Type thats big enough for a younger person can seem tiny.
Old age also can make a dent in our ability to hear, cause fingers to be less than nimble and worse yet create the false notion in our own minds that computing is a complicated affair beyond our reach.
Todays tips can be a help to anyone in those groups, regardless of age.
Today, well talk about ways a computer can be set up to compensate for common vision disabilities.
Eyes often get worse with age. Even bifocals or corrective surgery cant return vision to the way it was when young. For one thing, the eye gets less elastic and has more trouble shifting from one distance to another.
Type size isnt much of a problem with word-processing programs. All of them let you easily change the type size. And you can usually change the screen size without changing how the type will appear in a printed document.
And most Web browsers let you tinker with how the page appears on your screen, including adjusting width and type size. That may be enough for some. The help menu for your Web browser and word-processing program allows you to adjust type size.
But Windows provides a program that lets you make more dramatic changes. Ill assume you are using Windows 7 as I explain how to do that. But almost all the features Ill mention today are available with Windows Vista and even XP.
If my directions dont work for your version of Windows, use the search feature in Windows Help and type in this word: access.
That same procedure, typing the word access works in Windows 7, too. When I type that word, I am given a link to what Microsoft calls the Ease of Access Center. Click on it, and youll see an option to set the screen to high contrast. The high contrast setting can, for some people, improve the legibility of the screen.
Youll also see an option called Start Magnifier. If you click on that option, you can set it to either increase the size of all type or to create a virtual magnifying glass that can be moved around to magnify only one small section of the screen.
If your eyes still cant quite make sense of things, Windows can be set to tell you in a computerized voice whats going on. For instance, if your mouse hovers over a check box, it will tell you whether that box is checked or not. It also can read out loud the text you have on the screen whether it comes from a website or document youre typing.
Heres how to get that program, called Narrator, working for you. Click on the Start button. That will open a small window that includes a search box. In that box type the word narrator. Youll be able to set up the program to read aloud to you.
Spending a little time exploring the ways Windows can compensate for physical challenges is worthwhile. Using a computer comfortably is especially important for those who may have physical challenges.
The computer can let you travel to places legs can no longer take you and shopping, entertainment and paying bills can be done with a click.
email@example.com. Bill Husted writes for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.