Screen Magnification Literacy

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Screen Magnification Literacy

Karen McCall, M.Ed.

Karlen Communications

Contact Karlen Communications

Karlen Communications web site
If you do not live in the province of Ontario, or can not access the Assistive Devices Program, this is stil a good document to use as a resource. It may provide the new computer user with some guidelines toward participation in their own learning process. You can use this document and share it with others as long as you maintain the footer and credit at the bottom of each page.

What You Should Know After 10 Hours

A writing Aid [using the ADP guidelines] is a computer and adaptive technology such as a screen magnification or screen reading program.

Training should be done in your home on your computer system. This allows you to get comfortable with the way your own computer works. It is recommended that your training be done over a period of time rather than all in one or two days. Generally one and a half to two hours a day, one day a week is best for learning new technology. This will let you practice what you have learned and give you time to have questions ready to ask for the next training session.
If you are not “fluent” in these things, make sure that they have been covered and that instructions on how to do them are left with you. Feel free to take notes, request notes, have a friend or family member sit in on the training or tape the training sessions to refer to later. This is your training, have fun!

Basic Windows Knowledge



Start Menu – what is it and how to use it [Windows Key or Control + Esc]

Start Menu – Programs – how to use this

Start Menu – Settings – how to use this

Start Menu – Find – how to use this

Start Menu – Documents – how to use this

Desktop – what is it and how to use it [Windows Key + M]

Taskbar – what is it and how to use it [Alt + Tab]

How to use Desktop shortcut keys [Control + Alt + ?]

How to assign Desktop shortcut keys

Alternative keystrokes for Left Mouse Click [Enter] and Right Mouse Click] [Shift + F10]

What is the Control Panel [Windows Key, S for Settings, C for Control Panel]

Control Panel – Accessibility Options – Display – High Contrast

Control Panel – Display – Appearance – modify anything not quite “visible” for you

Control Panel – Display – Effects – Large Icons

Font Smoothing in your magnification program – especially if you are using High Contrast Black Settings, you need to change the way your computer shows you white text on black

What else can I change in the Control Panel

What should I not touch in the Control Panel

My Computer – what is it and how to use it

Create a Folder on the hard drive

Create a Folder on the floppy disk

The difference between having focus on a file or a Folder [Alt + F for File Menu, Open or Save As dialog box]

Delete a Folder – what NOT to Delete [Delete Key]

Windows Explorer – what it is and how to use it [Windows Key + E]

Shutdown the computer properly [Windows Key, U for Shutdown, Enter, S for Shutdown or R for Restart]

Screen Magnification Based Knowledge



How to change the reading speed/rate if your magnification program has speech

How to change the pitch

How to change the voice selection

How to change the magnification setting

Using a scroll tool if available

How to change the cursor size and colour

How to change the general colours in the magnification program

Basic reading keys for navigating through either standard documents or Internet based documents

How to edit and make changes to the pronunciation dictionary if available

How to work in and save default settings files

How to launch your screen magnification if it accidentally gets turned off

Basic understanding of what else can be changed even if you do not have the need to do so now

How to get screen magnification related Help – using the Help files

Basic Word Processing Knowledge

Generally, if you are going to be working in MS-Word or Corel WordPerfect, have your training begin in this word processor. Although it is true that if you know how to use simple things like NotePad or WordPad, you can transfer the skills to a more powerful word processor; if you are going to work in Word, then why not learn in Word? Again, you have control over your own training and learning how to use MS-Word or Corel WordPerfect to create, save and open documents is a basic need.

The keystrokes listed in this section are Standard Windows keystrokes and are not screen magnification specific.



How to launch the word processor from the Desktop [Control + Alt + ?]

How to create a New Document [Control + N for New]

Entering text into your new document

Moving through text character by character [Left or Right Arrow]

Moving through text word by word [Control + Left or Right Arrow]

Moving through text line by line [Up or Down Arrow]

Moving through text paragraph by paragraph [Control + Up or Down Arrow]

Moving through text sentence by sentence [if available with your screen magnification]

Moving through text screen by screen [page Up or Page Down]

Moving to the top of a document [Control + Home]

Moving to the end of a document [Control + End]

Moving to the beginning of a line [Home]

Moving to the end of a line [End]

Select a character [Shift + Left Arrow or Shift + Right Arrow]

Select a word [place cursor at beginning of a word, then Shift +Control + Right Arrow]

Select a line [Home to get to beginning of line, then Shift + End]

Select a paragraph [place cursor at beginning of paragraph, then Shift + Control + Down Arrow]

Select entire document [Control + A for All]

Copy text [Select text then, Control + C for Copy]

Cut text [Select text then, Control + X for Cut]

Paste Text [Select text then, Control + V for Paste]

Inserting the Cut or Copied text somewhere else in a document

Delete a character [Delete Key or Backspace Key]

Delete a word [Control + Delete or Control + Backspace]

Undo Delete [Control + Z]

Repeat Typing [Control + Y]

Save a document [Alt + F for File, A for Save As …]

Save a document you have been working on [Control + S]

Print a document [Control + P]

Print Current Page in document [radio button in Print dialog box]

Print Selected Pages [radio button in Print dialog box]

Print in either Portrait or Landscape format [Properties in Print dialog box]

Go to a page in a document [Control + G, enter page #, press Enter, then Esc to get rid of the Go To dialog box]

How to Spell Check text

How to use the Thesaurus

Centre text [Control + E]

Left align text [Control + L]

Right align text [Control + R]

Full justification [Control + J] – note that unless you absolutely feel the need for full justification it is not used normally in a word processed document

Bold text [Control + B, this is a toggle]

Italicize text [Control + I, this is a toggle]

Underline text [Control + U, this is a toggle] – again, in word processed documents, normally bold will do, don’t combine these effects or it gets messy looking!

Change Font and Font Size

Find and Replace text

Find and Replace formatting codes [can be done in both Word and WordPerfect]

Delete a file from My Documents [for the new computer user, this is a safer way to Delete documents from your hard drive – you only see the documents in the My documents Folder – only Delete documents in this Folder]

Open a document you have already created [Control + O]

Open a file on a floppy disk

Using the word processor help files

Closing a document [Control + F4]

Closing the word processor [Alt + F4]

Other tutorials that are available - how much, which ones are free and where can I buy them?

There is a wonderful book called “The PC is Not a Typewriter” which explains some important changes in the way documents are now formatted for the electronic age. The basics are

  • not to indent paragraphs [use a blank line between paragraphs]

  • left justify text unless you are creating a heading or title

  • one space between punctuation not two spaces – especially after periods, and

  • don’t “over format” less is more in word processing [I have overdone the bold a bit here to make the keystrokes stand out for you.]

This should give you the basics for creating documents and editing text. You can access the Help files in your word processor and this should also be covered in your training. Be sure to ask for training materials and places to find material already created. This can include Internet resources or publications you can buy to supplement your training and move you into more functions of your word processor.

The important thing to remember is that a computer responds to what you tell it to do. If you don’t understand something, ask for it to be explained in a different way. Find out if there are other computer users in your area who are using the same equipment that you might talk to about using the screen magnification with your word processor/Windows. Your training is a starting point for your computer experience and not the ending point. Most of all have fun!
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