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Tips to make your computer work better for you

There's a common misconception that accessibility features are only meant to be useful for someone with a disability.

While it's certainly true that Microsoft's accessibility features are designed with and for people with disabilities, one of Microsoft's core inclusive design principles is "extend to many." This means that our accessibility features are created to help your computer adapt to you, to make your experience better, breaking the idea that people are meant to adapt to their computers.

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Woman wearing headphones is seated at a small table and types on a Surface computer.

1. Make your PC more comfortable to use.

  • Make everything legible. Do you want larger text on your screen? You can change the text size. If you want everything to be bigger or brighter, you can change all of that, too.
  • Always find the text cursor. If you sometimes lose the cursor on-screen, you can make it easier to see and find when you're typing.
  • Give your eyes a break. Color filters in Windows 10 are a great way for someone with colorblindness to differentiate colors on the screen. But color filters can also help anyone who has been working on a computer for several hours and wants to give their eyes a break by using the grayscale filter.

Try it now: Press the Windows logo key + U on your keyboard. The first page is Display settings, and on that page, you'll find settings to Make text bigger, Make everything bigger, and Make everything brighter. Select Mouse pointer or Text cursor from the settings menu to make those easier to see and find. And select Color filters to select the filter that feels best for you.

Explore the settings a bit and try a few things out to see what feels best for you. And don't worry about breaking anything—any changes you make in Ease of Access settings can be changed back to the way they were before.

2. Get help while working on reading, writing, and arithmetic.

The future really is now when it comes to technology that helps us learn. Technology helps students learn in the classroom, from PowerPoint presentations and web pages to e-books, and technology can help us learn and teach at home too. Here are some highlights:

  • Capture your thoughts more quickly. Instead of typing, you can dictate your essay, work brief, or even your journal. Dictation helps you stay in your writing groove without getting slowed down by your typing, especially if you can talk or think faster than you type. To use dictation in Microsoft Word, select Dictate on the ribbon.
Text editing in PowerPoint with the cursor highlighted in yellow

Free speech-to-text

Learn how to use Dictation in Word, OneNote, PowerPoint, and Windows 10.
  • Get help learning or teaching math at your own pace with OneNote, Microsoft's note-taking app. Simply write or type any math problem and Math Assistant can solve it for you—helping you reach the solution quickly, or displaying step-by-step instructions that help you learn how to reach the solution on your own.
  • Prep for an upcoming presentation with PowerPoint Presenter Coach. Present your slides as you usually would, and PowerPoint will show you a dashboard with feedback to help you improve.
  • Customize your reading experience so you can read or teach someone to read at a comfortable pace. The Immersive Reader takes text and it gives you options on how the text appears. If you're helping a child learn how to read, it can even split words into syllables. Listen to Emmy's story to hear how Immersive Reader in Microsoft Edge helped her find confidence and academic success, and stay up to date with new features by reading our blog.
Immersive Reader screen showing color and text settings menu

Free speech-to-text

This powerful tool can also read to you and translate words or entire documents into 67 languages. It is included in Word, Outlook for the web, OneNote, Teams, Flipgrid, Forms, Microsoft Edge, Minecraft, Whiteboard, and Office Lens.
  • Have text read out loud to you. Immersive Reader will read aloud to you. If you're not in an app that offers the Immersive Reader, you can use Magnifier reading for any text you see on your computer. And if you're using Microsoft Edge, there's a Read Aloud option there, too.

The products mentioned in this section are all included in Microsoft Office. You can use Office on the web for free.

3. Have some fun.

  • Customize your gaming experience with the Xbox Adaptive Controller. The Xbox Adaptive Controller allows gamers to use whatever controller setup works best for them, and it connects to joysticks, mounts, and other accessories so it fits right in with the accessories you might already have.
  • Use Xbox Copilot to link two controllers so they play like one. Copilot allows both people to play the game and can be helpful when one person needs or wants extra help while playing. Learn more about Xbox accessibility.

4. You can help make our online world a more inclusive place.

  • Add alt text. Inserting a picture in an email? Or placing screen shots in a presentation? Adding alt text lets people with vision impairments understand what's in the picture. Learn more about writing alt text.
  • Use the built-in Accessibility Checker in Office apps. When the Accessibility Checker runs, it will point out any elements of your Outlook email, PowerPoint presentation, Word document, or Excel spreadsheet that you might want to review a second time. For example, it will check if you included enough color contrast to make sure text on a background is readable. Using the Accessibility Checker is a good habit to make sure anything you share is accessible.

These tools can help you learn, work, and create at home more comfortably on your computer. Our Disability Answer Desk is available for customers with disabilities to get the help they need.

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