Wednesday, May 30, 2012

3 Alternatives to Windows Magnifier

Windows provides a lot of accessibility options that help people with special needs. The accessibility options in Windows can be accessed from the Control Panel. You can also open accessibility options by searching for “accessibility” from the Start Menu search in Windows 7.

In Windows 7, there are four major tools which come under accessibility options.

  • Magnifier – lets you magnify a part of the screen
  • On screen keyboard – lets you type directly from the screen using touch enabled screen or a mouse instead of the keyboard.
  • Narrator – reads on-screen text aloud. This is especially useful for the visually impaired.
  • Hi contrast – sets a very high contrast theme in Windows so that everything gets clearer.

In this article we will look at some third party magnifier tools that will help you use the magnifier more productively and effectively.

clZoom

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clZoom is a free and portable utility which will zoom a part of the screen up to 1600%. The beauty of clZoom is that it can be operated using the mouse wheel. The biggest feature of clZoom is that it supports multiple monitors which the original magnifier utility from Microsoft does not support.

Using clZoom is extremely easy. The user has to click on the clZoom window and drag the mouse cursor to the point of zooming. The clZoom window will show the magnified view of the point. You can use the mouse wheel to zoom in or zoom out.

ZoomIt

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ZoomIt is a utility from Microsoft itself. It is provided from Sysinternals suite. ZoomIt comes with a lot of options and shortcuts to operate the tool using the keyboard directly. ZoomIt provides with the configuration options when you start it for the first time. By default, pressing Ctrl + 1 will toggle the zooming action. After pressing Ctrl + 1, you can use the arrow keys the mouse wheel to zoom In and zoom out. Pressing the right click button or the escape key will toggle you out of the zooming functionality.

The LiveZoom and Draw functions of ZoomIt will let you annotate the screen for presentation purposes. ZoomIt can zoom the screen up to 50 times the original size.

Virtual Magnifying Glass

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Virtual Magnifying Glass is an open source magnifying tool with advanced options. It provides a different way of magnifying by using the mouse as a magnifying glass. So it will zoom the point wherever the mouse cursor goes. Virtual Magnifying Glass has an option to zoom in from 1x to 16x. There is no option to change the zoom dynamically. So you will need to setup how much zoom you want and also the size of the magnifying glass attached with the mouse cursor.

Virtual Magnifying Glass sits in the system tray and gets activated on double clicking the system tray icon.

This is a guest post by Usman who runs his own tech blog at Technize.com

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