Veronica With Four Eyes

Low Vision Accessibility Settings For Windows 10

One of the first things that I do when I start working with someone who has been recently diagnosed with low vision is talk to them about how they use their computer. I’ve found that many people are not aware of the awesome low vision accessibility settings for Windows 10, and I’ve been able to help a lot of people make their computers easier to see so that they can complete tasks independently. Here are my favorite accessibility settings to enable for visual impairment, and my own personal Windows 10 low vision settings.

High Contrast Themes

A high contrast theme or high contrast mode uses a limited color palette with contrasting colors to make an interface easier to use. This is different than using an inverted display, though oftentimes the high contrast mode looks similar to an inverted display because of the darker color scheme. Users with photosensitivity or contrast issues can benefit greatly from using high contrast mode on their computer, as well as people in low-light environments.

To enable high contrast themes in Windows 10:

  1. Go to the settings menu
  2. In the search bar, type “high contrast settings” and click the first option
  3. Click the slider to turn on high contrast
  4. Alternatively, press the alt key on the left side of the spacebar, along with the left shift key and print screen key

Related links

Make text bigger

Since I regularly use large print when accessing print materials, it makes sense for me to have large print enabled so that I can more easily read menus on the computer or use Magnifier to make the text even bigger. I have the font size enabled to 225%, which is the largest font size available.

To make text bigger in Windows 10:

  1. Go to the “Ease of Access” settings
  2. Under the “Vision” category, click on “Display.” The option to make text bigger is in the first section of the list
  3. Adjust the slider to the desired size.

Related links

Make everything bigger

Besides having large print, I have display scaling enabled to make everything bigger on my computer, which changes the size of apps and text on the main display. Even though I could benefit from a more zoomed-in display, I choose to keep my display scaled to 150% to prevent issues with accessing apps or having text run off the page.

To make everything bigger/enable display scaling in Windows 10:

  1. Go to the “Ease of Access” settings
  2. Under the “Vision” category, click on “Display.” The option to make everything bigger is in the second section of the list
  3. Choose the desired value from the drop-down menu

Change the cursor thickness

When I am writing for long periods of time, I tend to lose track of where the cursor is on the page. One of the things that helps me is adjusting the cursor thickness so that it is a larger black rectangle. The cursor can be adjusted to twenty different settings- I have mine on size 8.

To change mouse cursor thickness in Windows 10:

  1. Go to the “Ease of Access” settings
  2. Under the “Vision” category, click on “Cursor and pointer.” The option to change pointer size is the second section of the list.
  3. Adjust the slider to your desired size.

Change Mouse Pointer Size

Starting in Windows 10 Version 1903 (May 2019 update), the mouse pointer can be enlarged to 15 different sizes, ranging from very small to gigantic. I use the size “6” for my pointer because it is large enough for me to easily track on the screen without having to worry about blocking information. When I’m using screen magnification software, I prefer to use a size “4” so I can still follow the mouse easily without it seeming overly large.

To change the mouse pointer side in Windows 10:

  1. Go to the “Ease of Access” settings
  2. Under the “Vision” category, click on “Cursor and pointer.” The option to change pointer size is the first section of the list.
  3. Move the slider to your desired size

Please note that this will only work in Windows 10 version 1903 or later, though it is free to get the latest update if the user already has Windows 10.

Related links

Change Mouse Pointer Color

There are four different color options available for changing the mouse pointer color- white, black, invert, and custom color.

To change the mouse pointer color in Windows 10:

  1. Go to the “Ease of Access” settings
  2. Under the “Vision” category, click on “Cursor and pointer.” The option to change pointer color is the first section of the list.
  3. Select your desired cursor from the list. White is the first cursor, black is the second, invert is third, and custom is fourth
  4. For custom cursors, select a color from either the suggested pointer colors or select the plus icon to pick a custom color. Users can also choose to type RGB values by clicking the “more” option.

Visual Feedback

While this isn’t technically a setting for the mouse, users with touch screens can benefit from having the areas they touch on the screen displayed darker and larger. This helps me when I am working with my desktop computer’s large touch screen.

To change Visual Feedback in Windows 10:

  1. Go to the “Ease of Access” settings
  2. Under the “Vision” category, click on “Cursor and pointer.” The option to change touch feedback is the third section of the list.
  3. Turn touch feedback on/off by clicking the slider

Increase icon size

Sometimes, the icons on the desktop are too small for people to identify. Luckily, there is an option to increase the icon size on the desktop, and even customize icons further- I go more into detail about how to do this in my post on customizing icons in Windows 10. I have my computer icons set to large.

To increase the icon size of programs on the desktop:

  1. Right-click on the desktop and wait for the drop-down menu to appear
  2. Hover your mouse over the “View” section
  3. Select small, medium, or large icons
  4. The changes will automatically take effect

Related links

Creating custom keyboard shortcuts

Custom keyboard shortcuts allow users to set their own key combinations for opening programs on their computer, which can help users that have difficulty with locating programs on their screen and make their computer easier to use. I go more into depth about how to do this in my post on creating custom keyboard shortcuts in Windows 10.

To create custom keyboard shortcuts in Windows 10:

  1. Pin the program to the taskbar, if it is not already there
  2. Right-click the desired program icon
  3. At the bottom of the drop-down menu, above “unpin”, right-click the name of the program. This might take a moment to pop up
  4. Left-click “properties”
  5. Click on the text box that says “shortcut key”
  6. Type in your desired keyboard combination by pressing the keys
  7. Once completed, click “ok”
  8. If desired, remove the app from the taskbar by clicking “unpin”

Related links

Summary of low vision accessibility settings for Windows 10

  • Enable a high-contrast theme to simplify colors and make text easier to see
  • Make text bigger on screen and enable display scaling to increase the overall size of items on the screen
  • Make things on the screen easier to see by increasing cursor thickness
  • Customize the mouse pointer, size, and color in Windows settings
  • For touch feedback, enable darker and larger visual feedback
  • Increase program icon sizes by right-clicking on the desktop
  • Create custom keyboard shortcuts for opening programs

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