School for the Visually Impaired
Tips for Computer Users with Low Vision - American Foundation for the Blind
Giving Your Windows System a High-Contrast Look
Go to the Windows "Control Panel." To do this, open the "Start" menu. The Control Panel may be under "Settings," depending on which version of Windows you have. Once in the Control Panel, pick "Display." In the "Display" dialog box, select the "Appearance" tab, which is located in the row across the top of the window. One of the items under "Appearance" is "Color Schemes." Some of the high-contrast schemes will even change the default font to a larger size. In that list, keep hitting "H" until you find a scheme that looks good, then press "Enter." Close the "Control Panel" with Alt-F4.
Making Web Pages Use High-Contrast Colors
These changes will affect all of the AFB site (except the Braille Bug, which has its own Change Colors feature for kids) but will not affect the look of any other web site.
Using Your Windows System Colors on Web Pages
First, select one of the high-contrast color schemes in Windows that works well for you. In Internet Explorer (IE) 5, go to a web site that looks very different from your color scheme. You are doing this so that it will be obvious when you have succeeded in changing IE's settings, so pick a site that is conspicuously different from your preferences.
While in Internet Explorer 5 or higher, bring down the "Tools" menu and pick "Internet Options." This dialog box should be fairly visible, because it will respect your Windows colors and show up in high contrast. Pick "Colors," which you can do by pressing Alt-O. In this little dialog box, check the box labeled "Use Windows colors," then pick "OK." For now, do not be distracted by all the color choices you find here.
Depending on the page you have selected as your test, you may see it change colors before your eyes. If not, don't worry. Many pages will not be affected by this setting alone.
To change the color of pages that use stylesheets, pick the "Accessibility" button in the "Internet Options" dialog box. If you are following along step by step, you are already in the right place. Just press Alt-E. In the little dialog box that comes up, the interesting option is "Ignore colors specified on Web pages." Check this box and pick "OK."
Now the page on the screen, which is partially obscured by the "Internet Options" dialog box, should switch to the high-contrast color combination you have selected in the Windows "Control Panel." Pick the "OK" button in the dialog box and enjoy browsing.
A few notes: some pages use images of text instead of actual text. These images won't respect your high-contrast color scheme and won't change.
AFB's web site uses stylesheets to give you the high-contrast colors we described above. Telling your browser to "Ignore colors specified on web pages" will cause your browser to ignore the high-contrast colors you chose for AFB's pages.
If you have an older version of IE, you may find that these directions do not work or that the feature does not exist. Because Microsoft has greatly improved the accessibility features of IE, we strongly encourage you to upgrade if possible.
Changing Colors With Netscape Navigator
First, select one of the high-contrast color schemes in Windows that works well for you. Then, in Netscape, go to the "Edit" menu and select "Preferences." In that dialog box there is a "Category" listing. Press Alt-C to jump to it if you prefer to use the keyboard. In that section, select "Appearance" by pressing the "Home" key, then arrow down to "Colors." If you are a mouse user, just click on "Colors" in "Category."
Now in the dialog box you will find two relevant checkboxes. Check both "Use Windows colors" and "Always use my colors, overriding page." Finally, pick "OK."
Changing Text Size With Internet Explorer
First, you must instruct IE to ignore font sizes that the web page's creators have specified. To do this, pull down the "Tools" menu and pick "Internet Options." There, choose "Accessibility Options" by pressing Alt-E. Then, check the boxes labeled "Ignore font styles specified on Web pages" and "Ignore font sizes specified on Web pages." Select "OK" in the dialog box and again in the "Internet Options" dialog box. This will return you to the page you were viewing.
Now, whenever you want to increase or decrease the size of the print on a web page, pull down the "View" menu (Alt-V) and select "Text Size" (X). Here, you can choose any option, ranging from "Largest" to "Smallest." You may be tempted to hit "Largest" again and again. Unfortunately, this will not provide any additional increases in type size.
Changing Text Size With Netscape
While viewing a web page in Netscape, press Control-] (hold down the control key
and press the right bracket key). This will make the print larger. To make the
print smaller, press Control-[.
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