For some students with low vision, using a larger monitor and adjusting the display using the built-in accessibility provides enough visual access to the computer screen. When that isn't enough, she may need magnification software. See our handout on Training tips for using Magnification programs.
Screen magnification programs (also referred to as screen enlargement utilities or large print programs) allow users to enlarge a portion of the screen. They turn the computer monitor into a viewport showing only a portion of an enlarged display. Users then use the mouse or keyboard to move this viewport to view different areas of the display.
Example of a viewport of a computer screen
Specialized features of some magnification programs include:
Many magnification programs contain a special feature called "scrolling". Scrolling automatically moves the text from left to right and from top to bottom at a speed chosen by the student. This makes reading information displayed on the computer screen easier.
For programs that include an audio output feature, text may be highlighted as each word is spoken, similar to the talking word processors. The advantage is that the text from an encyclopedia, a web page or from another application program can be read directly from the source.
The student may also be able to choose where text is displayed as it is read. For example, in the ZoomText Xtra Level II program, students can select from the following display choices when reading:
Normal Mode displays the document in its original format. Scrolling occurs vertically and horizontally.
Prompter Mode wraps lines of text within the screen margins and scrolls vertically.
Ticker Mode displays text in a single continuous line that scrolls horizontally. The unmagnified image is displayed below the magnified line.
Each of the following products have demos available for download from the Internet: