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Guide

Low vision accessibility settings for Windows 10

My favorite low vision accessibility settings for Windows 10. How to make Windows 10 computers easier to see and use for people with low vision and vision loss.

When I had to reinstall Windows on my computer, one of the first things I did was configure low vision accessibility settings for Windows 10, because without assistive technology features like this, I wouldn’t be able to use my computer at all. A lot of people I’ve talked to over the years have been surprised about the number of low vision settings for computers and the amount of features Microsoft has released, and it’s always exciting for me when I find a new feature that makes it easier for me to use my favorite devices. Here is a list of low vision accessibility settings I use for Windows 1o, with many of these settings available for Windows 11 as well.

High contrast themes

High contrast mode/high contrast themes are a display feature in Windows 10 and Windows 11 that removes non-essential display graphics and formatting, allowing users to select color schemes for their device’s display, text, links, and similar items. This is ideal for users with low vision, light sensitivity, or diminished contrast vision, as well as for users who are working in low-light environments.

The next two sections are excerpts from the Microsoft Support page for high contrast themes/high contrast mode. High contrast mode is used in Windows 10, while high contrast themes are used in Windows 11. Both provide the same functionality.

To enable high contrast mode in Windows 10

To enable high contrast themes in windows 11

Related links

Inverted display and system wide dark mode

Inverted display is an alternative to high contrast mode, and changes a light-colored display with dark text to a dark-colored display with light text. This can be helpful for users with low vision that are sensitive to bright lights or want to have a high contrast display without removing any background graphics.

For users that prefer a darker display across applications in general, system wide dark mode can be helpful for making display screens seem less harsh/bright, with options to set individual apps for dark mode/light mode.

To invert colors and show an inverted display

To turn on system wide dark mode

Related links

Make text bigger

There are two ways to make text bigger with low vision accessibility settings for Windows 10, including applying a system-wide large font and using Windows Magnifier. I have an entire post on Windows Magnifier linked below, but also use large font sizes on my computer as well.

To make text bigger in Windows 10:

Related links

Make everything bigger

Instead of or in addition to large print, display scaling enlarges all display items on the page such as windows, dialog boxes, text, images, and more, with additional options for adjusting display scaling. I personally have my display scaling set at 150% to avoid having graphics run off the edge of the page.

To make everything bigger/enable display scaling in Windows 10:

Change mouse pointer size and color

I love my large mouse pointer, which makes it easier for me to locate items on the screen. I use a custom color pointer in turquoise/green, because it is highly visible on the page and I don’t frequently interact with a lot of content that is the same color.

To change mouse pointer size and color in Windows 10:

Related links

Add visual feedback

When I am using a touch screen, it helps to be able to visualize where I am tapping and to show visual feedback. This isn’t particularly helpful when I am using a mouse, but is great for using touch screen displays.

To add visual feedback:

Related links

Change the text cursor indicator and appearance

I write a lot, and having options to customize the text cursor indicator and appearance makes it easier for me to find my cursor while typing a long document. The text cursor indicator is especially helpful, as I can quickly spot the colored dots on a page.

To change the text cursor indicator:

Related links

Increase icon size

I have a few different customization options enabled for my computer icons, including custom designs and larger icon sizes. This is super helpful for locating programs, as I rely on bright colors to identify icons more than I rely on text.

To increase the icon size of programs on the desktop:

Related links

Creating custom keyboard shortcuts

Custom keyboard shortcuts allow users to set their own key combinations for opening programs on their computer, which can help users that have difficulty with locating programs on their screen and make their computer easier to use. I go more into depth about how to do this in my post on creating custom keyboard shortcuts in Windows 10.

To create custom keyboard shortcuts in Windows 10:

Related links

Bonus- add website to the taskbar

When I was redesigning my desktop and toolbar on my Windows 10 and Windows 11 computers, I added website links to my taskbar so I could select the icon to immediately open a new tab or browser window with a specific website. This was a game changer for writing posts for my website, as I only have to click two buttons to start writing a new post and don’t get distracted by deciding to go to another website instead.

To add a website to Windows taskbar from Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome:

Related links

More resources on low vision accessibility for Windows

By Veronica Lewis/Veronica With Four Eyes, www.veroniiiica.com

Post updated July 2023; originally posted November 2016

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