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Accessibility Options\windows\system\access.cpl

Provides options for the accessibility tools in Windows XP

To Open

Control Panel [Accessibility Options] Accessibility Options

Command Prompt access.cpl


Accessibility is Microsoft's term for the collection of tools and settings designed to make a computer easier to use for those with poor eyesight, hearing, or some other physical challenge. The settings in this dialog are shown on the following five tabs:


StickyKeys allows you to use keyboard combinations, such as Shift-Y and Alt-F4, without having to hold down more than one key simultaneously.

FilterKeys lets you configure Windows' behavior when a key is held down, such as how long a key must be held down before it starts to repeat and how fast it repeats once it starts (settings are also available in Control Panel [Printers and Other Hardware] Keyboard Speed). However, FilterKeys also lets you disable keyboard repeat completely.

ToggleKeys instructs the Windows to play sounds whenever you press Caps Lock, Num Lock, or Scroll Lock.


SoundSentry lets you substitute visual warnings (e.g., flashing the titlebar or the entire screen) for sounds normally made for the system.

ShowSounds lets you substitute captions for speech and other sounds in programs that support this feature (unfortunately, not many do).


High Contrast is a quick way to choose a color scheme with more contrasting colors, which may make text and other screen elements easier to see. These settings are also available through Control Panel [Appearance and Themes] Display Appearance tab, but this feature also lets you toggle between high contrast and standard colors with a hotkey.

The Cursor Options allow you to adjust the settings of the insertion point (text cursor) so that it is easier to see. To make the mouse pointer easier to see, use large pointers or enableMouse Trails (which leaves a ghost track when you move the pointer) by going to Control Panel [Printers and Other Hardware] Mouse and using the Pointers and Motion tabs, respectively.


MouseKeys lets you use keys on the numeric keypad to move the pointer around the screen (see Figure 4-2).

Figure 4-2. The Accessibility Options dialog allows you to enable or disable specific Accessibility tools you want

Move the pointer to an object and press Ins to start dragging. Press Del to end the drag. Press the - key to switch "clicking" to the right button. That is, - then 5 to right-click or - then + to right double-click. "Right-click" mode remains enabled until you press / to switch back to left-clicking. Hold down Shift while using the arrow keys to move the pointer pixel by pixel; hold down Ctrl to move in big jumps.

The Settings dialog box lets you control how fast the pointer moves and how quickly it speeds up when you hold down a key. Higher Top speed and a lower acceleration settings here will make your pointer easier to control. The "Use MouseKeys when Num Lock is [on/off ]" option allows you to use MouseKeys without giving up your numeric keypad for cursor movement or numeric entry, whichever you use more.


Automatic Reset instructs Windows to automatically turn off all accessibility features after a certain period of inactivity, a useful feature if several people use the same computer and you don't want to have to remember to turn off the features every time you're done using it.

Notification lets you specify whether messages or sounds should be used to let you know when an accessibility option is turned on or off.

SerialKey devices enables the use of special alternative input devices attached to a serial port, allowing you to take the place of your keyboard or mouse with a more appropriate device.


  • All of the settings in this dialog are also covered in Chapter 5.

  • As an alternative to the settings found here, the Accessibility Wizard can be used to help you choose which settings are right for you, one-by-one.

See Also

Accessibility Options, Control Panel

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