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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Screen Magnification Systems

A screen magnification system enlarges text and graphics on a computer screen. It is loaded into the computer’s memory and functions similarly to a magnifying glass moving over a page, following the cursor, and magnifying the area around it. Using a mouse or keyboard commands, a user positions the cursor on the section of the screen to be magnified or has the cursor move automatically across and down a magnified page at a preset speed. The magnified area may also be emphasized with color and shading, so that users who lose their place on screen may easily locate a magnified area. Fonts used in magnification programs are usually designed to smooth out the jagged or “stair-step” appearance of computer-produced diagonal or curved lines. Today’s full-featured screen magnifiers can magnify all items on a screen, including the mouse pointer, text cursor, icons, buttons, and title bars. The magnifiers also provide a set of mouse tracking features.

Persons with considerable vision may not need a screen magnification program. Instead, they may use a larger monitor that allows for larger text or graphics while keeping all material on the screen. Larger text and graphics can be achieved by lowering the screen resolution so that bigger pixels are used.

In addition, the appearance of objects or texts on a screen may be altered using the accessibility wizard in a Windows system, which provides a number of options. These options include adjustments for the font size, screen resolution, scroll bar size, icon size, color scheme, mouse cursor appearance, and mouse cursor blink rate. The main accessibility feature in Windows, however, is its screen magnifier which can also be set up through the accessibility wizard. Although the default color scheme in Windows is black text on a gray background, this can be changed to be more easily distinguished using one of Windows high-contrast color schemes.

Recently, screen reader manufacturers have added text-to-speech output to their products. This allows people with low vision to use a combination of magnification and speech. If a user requires primarily speech output or is losing vision, a screen reader may be a better choice.

Following are some questions to consider when purchasing screen magnification systems:
•   Is the magnification software compatible with your computer’s operating system?
•   Does it include cursor enhancements?
•   What is the highest magnification level?
•   Is screen reading software included?
•   Does it allow for inverted colors?

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There are 13 Products in the Category

Product Table

Product NameProduct DescriptionDistributor ContactImage/Multimedia Available?
Dolphin GuideAll-in-one software suite with built-in large print and spee...
Eye-Pal® AcePortable battery-operated and braille-compatible screen read...
Eye-Pal® ROL (Read Out Loud)Lightweight, battery-operated, portable scanner and reader t...
Eye-Pal® VisionFast, accurate, and easy-to-use scanning and reading applian...
iMax for MacScreen magnification and screen reading software for Mac use...
iReader Reading DeviceCompact and portable lightweight reading device that scans a...
MAGic (without speech)Offers several magnification modes. Has a magnification rang...
Supernova ProCombined screen reader and magnifier that allows users to ac...
Supernova Reader Magnifier StandardCombined screen reader and magnifier that allows users to ac...
ZoomText FusionScreen magnification and screen reading software that provid...
ZoomText MacMagnification and screen reading software for the Mac.
ZoomText MagnifierScreen magnification system with eight zoom window types. Fe... Order ZoomText Magnifier from The Chicago Lighthouse Store
ZoomText Magnifier/ReaderScreen magnification system integrated with basic screen rea... Order ZoomText Magnifier/Reader from The Chicago Lighthouse Store

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