Windows XP: Using the Accessibility Wizard

Lesson 13: Using the Accessibility Wizard



By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:

  • Adjust Windows XP for vision, hearing, and mobility needs

What is the Accessibility Wizard?

Wizards are helpful programs that lead you through a series of steps. Usually, each step asks you to input some information and then uses that information to accomplish a certain task. Microsoft Windows XP's Accessibility Wizard allows you to customize your computer with tools designed to help meet your vision, hearing, or mobility needs.

To open the Accessibility Wizard:

  1. Choose StartAll ProgramsAccessoriesAccessibilityAccessibility Wizard.
  2. The Accessibility Wizard opens.


  1. Open the Control Panel.
  2. Click the Accessibility Options link.
  3. The Accessibility Options window opens.
  4. Under Pick A Task, click Configure Windows to work for your vision, hearing, and mobility needs.
  5. The Accessibility Wizard opens.
Accessibility Wizard's welcome page

While Windows XP provides basic accessibility tools to users with special needs, many users with disabilities purchase additional programs and devices to aid in their daily computer use.

The Text Size page

Once you've successfully opened the Accessibility Wizard, click Next to beyond the welcome screen.

In the Text Size window, click or use the arrow keys to select the smallest text you can read. Click Next.

Accessibility Wizard

The Display Settings page

On this page, you'll see some check boxes that allow you to select how your display appears. You can choose to change the font size, use Microsoft Magnifier, and display personalized menus. You may also be able to switch to a lower screen resolution, depending on your computer. Make your selection(s) and click Next.

Accessibility Wizard

The Set Wizard Options page

On this page, select the type of disability you have so the wizard can help you select some options to meet your needs. For example, if you choose "I have difficulty using the keyboard or mouse", the next several pages present you with options to best meet your needs. Make your selection(s) and click Next.

Accessibility Wizard

Continue using the Accessibility Wizard until you reach a summary screen. Windows XP is now configured for your needs.

The Magnifier

Remember, the Accessibility Wizard, working with your responses, enables such utilities as magnifier, narrator, on-screen keyboard, and utility manager. However, you can also turn them on via the Start menu.

Microsoft Magnifier makes the screen more readable. It creates a separate window that shows a magnified portion of your screen.

To open the Magnifier using the Start menu:

  • Choose StartAll ProgramsAccessoriesAccessibilityMagnifier.

Whether you open the Magnifier using the Accessibility Wizard or the Start menu, the Magnifier Settings window opens.


Here, you can:

  • Set the magnification level. The default setting is 2. Use the drop-down arrow to select the size that meets your needs.
  • Follow the mouse cursor. By default, the Magnifier shows whatever you are pointing to with your mouse.
  • Follow keyboard focus. By default, the Magnifier follows what you do on the keyboard.
  • Follow text editing. When typing a document, the Magifier follows the cursor and magnifies the text as you type or make changes.
  • Invert colors. This feature inverts the colors in the Magnifier.
  • Start minimized. The Magnifier starts as a minimized option on your computer.
  • Show the Magnifier. By default, the Magnifier shows at the top of the screen.

The Narrator

The Narrator can read items on the screen to you. However, the Narrator works only in English and may not work with every program installed on your computer. Your computer will also need to be equipped with a sound card and speakers in order for the narrator to function properly.

To open the Narrator using the Start menu:

  • Choose StartAll ProgramsAccessoriesAccessibilityNarrator.

Whether you open the Narrator using the Accessibility Wizard or the Start menu, the Narrator window opens.


Here, you can:

  • Announce events on screen. Narrator announces new windows that appear or system messages.
  • Read typed characters. Narrator reads typed characters aloud.
  • Move your mouse pointer to the active item. Narrator moves your mouse pointer to the active window item for you.
  • Start Narrator minimized. Narrator starts as a minimized option.

The Onscreen Keyboard and Utilities Manager

The Onscreen Keyboard opens an onscreen keyboard on your screen. You can use the mouse to click the keys. This is a limited version, but you can learn about other utilities such as this at the Microsoft Accessibility page.

The Utilities Manager is a helpful tool that allows you to manage all Accessibility tools.

To start the Utilities Manager:

  • Hold down the Windows key + U.


  1. Choose StartAll ProgramsAccessoriesAccessibilityUtilities Manager.
  2. The Utilities Manager opens.
Utility Manager

This window tells you which Accessibility tools are currently running and can help you troubleshoot any problems.


  • If you have special needs, open the Accessibility Wizard to enable tools to best suit your needs.


  • Open the Magnifier, Narrator, Onscreen Keyboard, and Utilities Manager to explore these accessibility resources available to you and those who use the computer.