2000 Conference Proceedings

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ZoomText Xtra: The Basics Basic Skills in Magnification and Screen Reading


Scott Moore
Ai Squared
Manchester Center, VT

This session is intended for counselors, trainers, teachers and end-users that have little or no experience with ZoomText. The following topics will be covered, with hands-on exercises for attendees to try:


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We will begin with instruction on how to start and exit ZoomText, including how to deactivate (and reactivate) its features without having to exit the program. A variety of methods for executing these commands will be covered, including buttons, menu items and hotkeys.

We will then show how to activate and deactivate screen reading. Deactivating screen reading will allow us to focus on magnification features, without the initial distraction of speech output. Once we have covered all the magnification features, we will reactivate speech and focus on screen reading features.

For beginning users, it is essential to know how to get answers on your questions about ZoomText. For this reason, we will cover the ZoomText help system. This discussion will include using the Help tool, context-sensitive help in dialog boxes and the on-line help system.

There are a large number of hotkeys in ZoomText which control almost all of its functionality. But knowing the 8 essential hotkeys will give you control over the most important magnification features. These 8 hotkeys will be covered in detail.


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The main feature of any magnification program is its magnification levels. We will cover how to change magnifications and how to determine what power you are currently using. We will also demonstrate how the smoothing of magnified text works, by showing how the screen looks with and without smoothing.

ZoomText has several ways to enlarge the screen. Magnification occurs within one of 5 different zoom window types. We will cover how to switch between different zoom windows and how to size and position a zoom window.

Once ZoomText is configured with the desired magnification level and zoom window type, these settings can be saved. By saving a default configuration, ZoomText will automatically use these settings the next time it starts up. We will show you how to save a default configuration and how to restore the configuration to the "factory" settings.

Many of the advanced features of ZoomText are contained in a series of dialog boxes. These dialogs can all be accessed from the Options menu. Although we will not have time to go through all of these settings, we do want to show you how to access these dialogs, so that you can explore the dialog boxes on your own.

DocReader is a reading environment that allows you to read multi-page documents from any text-based program. We will show you how to launch DocReader and cover basic reading operations, including starting and stopping, moving around within a document, changing magnification and colors and exiting DocReader.


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The ZoomText "caret reader" allows you to read text while moving the caret (text insertion point) in a document. The typing echo feature echoes keystrokes as you type. We will show how these screen reading features work and how you can configure their operation.

Finally, we will cover how to run Windows programs without using the mouse. Knowing how to use keyboard shortcuts is very helpful when using a magnifier at high magnification levels and essential when using a screen reader without a magnifier.

 


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Reprinted with author(s) permission. Author(s) retain copyright.