Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Windows Disability Settings and On-screen Keyboards Help with Keyboarding

Do you use Windows keyboard settings designed to accommodate disabilities? There are three excellent settings that can make your life easier: Sticky keys, Filter keys and Toggle keys.
Sticky keys: When turned on, Sticky keys allows you to press keys simultaneously which would normally take two hands, and it still lets you close the window. For example, it lets you hold down the CTRL key first and then ALT and then DEL and the computer will "hold" all three down in succession for you.

Filter keys: This control allows users with tremors or accidental extra keystrokes type without the keyboard picking up the second hit. If you struggle with banging extra keys or hitting one multiple times, this should help.

Toggle keys: For folks with visual impairments, when Toggle keys is on, a specific tone is played when CAPS, CAPS LOCK, NUMBER LOCK or SCROLL LOCK are on.

How do I access these features?
First, go to your Start button in Win XP. Then choose settings/control panel/accessibility options. Click on the keyboard tab and then check the boxes for each feature you want to enable. There is a settings button for each one that give you more options as far as shortcut key assignments that turn these features on/off and some preferences. When done, click OK.

If you have further issues with keyboarding, there are other options in the way of a "soft or virtual keyboard". Windows has their on-screen keyboard (link to MS tutorials) and there is also an excellent one called Click-n-type you can download for free. It also has a free word prediction add-on you can download too. If you are ready to throw a keyboard out the window, you can use a mouse or a track-pad to type on the screen without touching a keyboard at all.
Some supportive links:
All the best to you!

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