For the last few years, all personal computer operating systems and Internet browsers have included features to provide accessibility by persons with various handicaps. For the "Hard of Seeing," these excellent features provide a more easily read screen in any context without the need for additional software or any special hardware.
Quick Overview for Web Browsers
Most Web browsers, including Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla FireFox, and Apple Safari, provide methods to control enlargement from both the keyboard and the mouse.
Web browsers usually provide both "zoom" and "text size" controls. For best results, use the zoom controls.
Zooming with the Keyboard
Each keystroke is a combination of the control key (marked Ctrl on most keyboards) and one other key. For example, to enter the combination of control and the letter A, press and hold Ctrl, press and release A, and finally release Ctrl.
To enlarge the text on screen, press Ctrl and the Plus Sign (+) key.
To reduce the text on the screen, press Ctrl and the Minus Sign (-) key.
To restore the screen to the original size, press Ctrl and the zero (0) key.
For the plus and minus keys, you may use either the keys on the top row of the main keyboard, next to the 0 key, or you may use the + and - keys on the numeric keypad.
However, you must use the 0 key at the top of the keyboard. You will note that the three keys involved here, 0, - and +, are grouped together on the main keyboard.
Zooming with the Mouse
A mouse with a scroll wheel can be used to control the text size.
To enlarge or reduce the text, hold down the Ctrl key and move the wheel. One direction of the wheel will enlarge while the other will reduce.
Zooming with the Programs' Menus
The zoom controls are usually found on the menus provided by the programs. Consult the help files or documentation for your particular program or visit the manufacturer's accessibility Web site as described below.
Some programs provide a visual feedback regarding the zoom level. As shown in the image to the left, Internet Explorer shows this information on the status toolbar on the bottom right of the window.
Manufacturer Information about Accessibility
The leading manufacturers of personal computer operating systems maintain Web sites with specific information relating to their products.
Microsoft and Windows
For information about Microsoft's commitment to accessibility in its software products, visit:
This site provides details about accessibility in Microsoft products, demos and tutorials regarding accessibility features, profiles of accessibility in action, and details about Microsoft's history and strategy for accessibility. Microsoft has an Accessibility Business Unit devoted to this issue.
Apple and MAC OS/X
Apple has a long and pioneering history with accessibility. See its site at:
For specific information about Apple's initiatives with respect to vision, see: