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10 Tips for the Awkward Age of Computing

Aging computer users can use Windows to personalize and customize their computers to make them easier to see, hear, and more comfortably use.

As we rack up birthdays, sooner or later we all experience some loss of vision, hearing, or physical dexterity. Fortunately, personalization options in Windows make it easy to adjust your PC.

Here are ten tips from cartoon Brian Bassett on how to counter the effects of aging to make your computer more comfortable to use.

#1 A Screen Too Far

[image: Squinting to see his laptop screen, Adam gets so close that his nose creates a bulge in the back of the screen.]

[image: PDF document] Download enlarged image in PDF format (1.3 MB)

Do you find yourself fighting the urge to press your nose against the screen because you can't see text and objects clearly? Consider changing your monitor display settings to increase the size of icons or text for individual documents and webpages. Learn how to make the computer easier by changing text size and zooming in on webpages in Windows 8, Windows 7, and Windows Vista.

#2 Easy on the Eyes

[image: One panel, black on white, shows Adam with tired eyes; second panel, white on black, shows Adam happy and rested using high contrast.]

[image: PDF document] Download enlarged image in PDF format (2.0 MB)

If the images on your computer screen appear indistinct or don't seem quite as sharp as they once did, you can customize the colors displayed on screen to make things easier to see. Learn how to make the computer easier to see in Windows 8,
Windows 7, and Windows Vista.

#3 Built-in Bifocals

[image: Adam types at a regular keyboard while viewing a tiny computer through two giant lenses suspended in front of his monitor.]

[image: PDF document] Download enlarged image in PDF format (1.1 MB)

Having trouble seeing things that are close up? Magnifier, one of the accessibility utilities in Microsoft Windows, opens a window that enlarges all or parts of the screen you choose—just like a magnifying glass. Learn how to make the computer easier to see with Magnifier in Windows 8, Windows 7, and
Windows Vista.

#4 Lights, Camera, Action

[image: Adam sits in a film director's chair wearing sunglasses and shouting instructions to his computer through a megaphone.]

[image: PDF document] Download enlarged image in PDF format (1.7 MB)

If stiff joints or other dexterity issues are slowing you down, try using Windows Speech Recognition to write email and documents by speaking commands rather than using the keyboard and mouse. Learn how to use Speech Recognition in Windows 8, Windows 7 and Windows Vista.

#5 Tune In, Tune Out

[image: Adam sits at his computer smiling, a cork in each ear as his children argue in the background.]

[image: PDF document] Download enlarged image in PDF format (6.7 MB)

Are you having trouble hearing email alerts and other audible notifications of system events? Try to adjust the sound volume of your computer or use text or visual alternatives to sounds in Windows 8, Windows 7 and Windows Vista.

#6 Talk to Me

[image: Adam's computer shouts, "Meeting at Noon," the sound blows back his hair and scatters his papers.]

[image: PDF document] Download enlarged image in PDF format (1.5 MB)

If your vision is beyond the point where magnification is enough, Narrator in Windows can help by converting text and captions to speech. If this problem is persistent, you may need a device called a screen reader. Learn how to hear text read aloud with Narrator in Windows 8, Windows 7, and Windows Vista.

#7 Cursor in a Haystack:

[image: Adam is searching through hay on top of a haystack; a mouse pointer is stuck in his backside.]

[image: PDF document] Download enlarged image in PDF format (565 KB)

Who took the mouse pointer? If you find yourself searching for mouse pointer more often than you search the web, you can change the size, appearance, width, speed, color, and blink rate of your cursor, or the appearance of your pointer. Learn how to change mouse settings in Windows 8, Windows 7, or Windows Vista.

#8 Losing Your Grip

[image: Adam's computer mouse squirts from his right hand, arcs through the air, and lands in his coffee cup.]

[image: PDF document] Download enlarged image in PDF format (914 KB)

To maximize mouse comfort, try a Microsoft mouse that is designed for maximum comfort. Also, learn how to control the mouse with Mouse Keys to move the mouse pointer. Try Mouse Keys in Windows 8, Windows 7, or Windows Vista.

#9 All Together Now

[image: Adam twists himself into knots using both hands and feet to press different keys at once. His wife calmly pushes one key for the same result.]

[image: PDF document] Download enlarged image in PDF format (1.1 MB)

For most people, the keyboard is the main way to enter information into and control their computer. But are you controlling your keyboard, or is your keyboard controlling you? Discover tips to make your keyboard easier to use in Windows 8,
Windows 7, and Windows Vista.

#10 All Shook Up

[image: Adam shakes so badly his coffee spills everywhere. His computer says, "Maybe you should try decaffeinated first."]

[image: PDF document] Download enlarged image in PDF format (1.1 MB)

If you have a mild tremor or your stiff fingers are creating typos and other keyboard errors, Filter Keys can give you the equivalent of a steady hand by enabling your computer to ignore brief or repeated keystrokes that you make accidentally. You can set your PC to ignore or slow down brief or repeated keystrokes by turning on Filter Keys in Windows 8, Windows 7, and Windows Vista.

Re-publication of Illustrations

If you would like to use any of the illustrations shown here for re-publication, please follow the instructions below:

  1. Position your mouse over the illustration.
  2. Using your mouse, right-click on the image.
  3. Click Save picture as.
  4. Save the .gif file to your computer.
  5. In any accompanying text, please include the following credit: Courtesy of Brian Basset and Microsoft Corporation.

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