See Your Screen More Easily with Built In Accessibility [OS X Tips]



As we all age, chances are our senses will age along with us. As someone with great vision most of my life, I was aghast a couple of months ago when I couldn’t read the writing on a watch battery, no matter how close or far I held it from my eyes. So sad!

Luckily for us, and for thousands of users with visual impairments, OS X has a plethora of ways to interact with the Mac, all built right into the operating system. In this tip, we’ll focus on the vision side of things.

Blind users swear by VoiceOver, the robust screen reading system that is also on iOS devices, allowing those with very little to no vision to interact with their consumer devices right out of the box.

However, there’s a whole ton of folks who don’t need the full screen reading capability of VoiceOver, but just need a little boost in the magnification department. We showed how to increase the mouse pointer size, but the Zoom function allows users to increase the size of EVERYTHING on the screen, from menus to app icons to text. To enable it, simply hop into System Preferences and click on the Universal Access preference pane.

There, Zoom is a simple on or off affair, with some great key commands to zoom in and out as a user desires. Once magnified, the screen can be navigated simply by moving the mouse to an outside edge of the monitor – the whole scene will shift. This can be disorienting at first, but can be gotten used to quickly.

The White on Black contrast changer option below Zoom allows people with certain eye conditions to switch the contrast, thus reducing eye-fatigue. It also comes with a few key commands for easy control while not in the preference pane.

  • prof_peabody

    Nothing personal, but I find some of these “tips” articles kind of offensive lately.  This one is particularly stupid.  

    Pointing to a standard, built-in functionality of the OS that’s been part of the base system for more than a decade and calling it a “tip,” is both disingenuous and stupid.  I mean this isn’t even an *obscure* preference like the Finder preferences that most people don’t know where to look for.  This is just one of the Preference panels and is covered in every “dummies” book for OS-X since the mid-nineties.  

    What’s the next “tip”?  How to work the screen saver?