DOS | Macintosh | Windows 95/98/ME/2000 | UNIX and Linux | Listing by Platform
Visual Cursor Enhancers
The BIG Mouse Cursor for Windows. Shareware ($22).
Meta-Mouse is a program for Microsoft Windows whose purpose is to improve the visibility of the mouse cursor. This is accomplished in several ways: (1) The cursor can be made to blink on and off, (2) The cursor can be made much larger, displaying either a large black arrow with a white border, a large white arrow with a black border, a large inverse-color arrow, or numerous others, (3) The cursor can be made to change its shape dynamically (see the "Ultra-High Visibility" option), and (4) The normally "white" part of the cursor can be changed to one of several other colors, including dynamic color cycling. Shareware ($18 + S/H).
Dwell Pick emulates the button click of the mouse. When combined with a pointing device, it enables you to manipulate Microsoft Windows as though you were operating a mouse. When the pointer rests in a particular area for a user-defined time, it allows single and double clicking as well as dragging.
KeyMouse provides movement of the Windows cursor in any of eight directions using either of the two KeyMouse keysets. The Windows cursor is moved in the direction corresponding to the 'arrow' cursor keys and diagonally with the 'Home', 'End', 'Page Up' and 'Page Down' keys. The 'Insert' ('Ins') and 'Delete' ('Del') keys behave as the left and right mouse buttons respectively. Shareware ($9.95). See http://www.vsisystems.com/keyboardmouse.htm
New software is available now, at low cost, to enable people with poor eyesight to comfortably use personal computers running Microsoft Windows. Compatible with Windows, versions 3.1 and 3.11 and with Windows 95, this utility increases the screen images by any amount the user selects, from 1X to 10X. Big-W is not limited to English language users; it functions equally well in all language editions of Microsoft Windows. Big-W is suitable for PC users throughout the world. Shareware ($39.95 + S/H).
Lens normally magnifies an area of the screen around the mouse pointer. It can alternately try to track the caret (the "text cursor") in text applications, if you enable Track Caret mode, or it can display a magnified fixed area of the screen, if you choose Freeze Location mode. Shareware ($5).
Loupe displays a magnified view of whatever is beneath the mouse cursor, much like a printer's or jeweler's loupe. Freeware.
MagWind is a magnifying glass for Windows that gives you the ability to view the screen all the way to the pixel level. It is easy to use by just placing the cursor inside the program's window to activate the magnification feature and move it to the portion of the screen you want enlarged. Two lens options are available. The In-Place lens starts at 200 percent; pressing the left mouse button enlarges the image, while Shift or Control reduces it. The Durable Lens, which works in any application running, uses the left mouse button to drag to a new location and the right to resize. You can select the lens type, mark it as always on top, set it to show a portion of the screen in the lens, and more. Shareware ($20).
The Magnifier is a Screen Magnifier for Windows 3.x, Windows 95, and Windows NT. The software supports 2 times through 10 times magnification, may be sized as needed or positioned anywhere on screen, and has several features such as Auto-Position that make it a powerful and useful utility! Shareware ($29.95). See http://www.imgpresents.com/magnify/mag.htm
The FITALY One-Finger Keyboard for Windows is a stand-alone utility usable as an ergonomic replacement for the Microsoft On-Screen Keyboard. The FITALY key arrangement minimizes pen travel: 84% of the text-entry keystrokes are placed in a very tight pattern, with the remaining keystrokes never more than two keys away. In addition, each key is placed near the keys most likely to follow it in English text. The effect is to minimize pen travel. In addition, the layout practically eliminates hand movement when typing text. Shareware ($39). See http://www.fitaly.com/new/fitalysa.htm
No-Keys for Windows offers a virtual (on-screen) keyboard for people with limited mobility or manual dexterity. Using a mouse, you select characters from the floating keyboard palette, or select a scan mode that cycles through groups of keys. A popup option allows No-Keys to remain in front of other applications and you can use No-Keys to load other Windows programs. Detailed user help is available, making No-Keys worth considering if keyboarding poses a problem. Shareware ($25). See http://220.127.116.11/program.html
SoftKBD was created in the hope of providing motor impaired individuals with an opportunity to use a powerful computing environment for personal and professional gain. Using an on-screen keyboard and a mouse, or mouse like pointing device, a user simply "points & clicks" to enter information in Microsoft Windows applications. Shareware ($20).
It's a shareware released keyboard simulator, for people with physical problems, who can't use a conventional keyboard. The operator uses a mouse button synchronized with blinking keys in a little window on the screen. The simulator allows control of all Windows 3.1 applications with keyboard interface, in a simple and efficient manner, only with a mouse button. Shareware ($30 + S/H).
Shorthand is a typing productivity tool designed to work concurrently with a Windows word processor or text editor application. Just as a stenographer uses shorthand symbols to represent longer words or phrases, Shorthand allows you to represent words or phrases with a much shorter abbreviation or keyword. Instead of typing in the word or phrase, you type the shorter keyword and Shorthand will take care of inserting the longer word or phrase into your word processor. Shorthand is not limited to word processors. It works just as well with most Windows dialog boxes. Shorthand can be used to enter names, logins, passwords, internet addresses directly into terminal windows. Shareware ($25).
Word Completion / Prediction
For an in-depth discussion of word completion/prediction and a list of companies which produce word completion/prediction products, see http://trace.wisc.edu/docs/word_pred_prog/ctg_wp.htm
Keyboard Audio Feedback
TALKEYS is a Windows program that speaks out the keys on the keyboard as you type them into any Windows program. The program "intercepts" your keystrokes into most Windows applications or programs like word-processors, spreadsheets and databases etc. and speaks them out as they are typed into whatever application or program you are using.
It is hoped that TALKEYS will be useful for persons with visual difficulties such as low vision, visual impairment and blindness. TALKEYS may be of assistance to visually impaired persons in using Windows programs for typing text, data, numbers etc. because TALKEYS will provide them aural (spoken) feedback of the keys they are typing.
Voice Output Applications
Clip&Talk adds speech abilities to Windows applications. It is designed to work with other Windows programs, such as word processors, spread sheet programs, E-mail readers, Web browsers, ... or just any Windows application that can put text to the Clipboard. Talking controls are done by using hot keys, which can be pressed from the main applications directly. It works like an add-on part to your favorite applications so they can produce speech as well as visual output. Freeware version has total reading length limited to 600 words (approximately). See http://www.niad.sussex.ac.uk/product_details.cfm?ID=876
Clipboard text will be loaded and read aloud automatically when you start the program. You may open and have files with the txt extension read aloud from inside the program. Freeware. See http://www.pixi.com/~reader1/
This program reads-in text files and converts each word to a phonetic equivalent, producing fairly natural-sounding speech. You can control the speed at which the text is read and the volume and even add words to the dictionary. WinSpeech also supports DDE, so other Windows applications can send text to it for reading. This demo is limited to reading the first 200 words of a file each time it's run but gives a good idea of what the program can do. This update adds improved speech quality, direct reading from the Clipboard, a separate dictionary and editor, and other improvements. Demonstration Version. See http://www.zdnet.com/swlib/
Morse code is one of the most efficient alternative computer access methods. EzMorse is based on a modified military morse code system where dots and dashes are combined to form codes representing all the characters on the keyboard. EzMorse is most effectively used with a dual switch where one switch enters a dot and the other, a dash. No previous knowledge of morse code is necessary to start using ezMorse: the user learns while he or she goes along. It takes the average user about four hours to memorize the codes for the alphabet. Typing speeds of up to 35 words per minute are not uncommon for morse code users.
For other Microsoft Windows software resources available, including Access Pack, see http://trace.wisc.edu/world/computer_access/win/
Talking Caller ID 16 is a shareware program that actually talks to you, telling you who is calling before you pick up the phone. The program can also notify you via pager or e-mail of calls received. There is no need to run over to your caller id display to see who is calling. See http://www.talkingcallerid.com/
This collection of typing tutorial programs includes programs that operate in Windows as well as in DOS. TU.EXE is a DOS tutor. WINTU.EXE will work under Windows. T.EXE is a small typing timer program. More information is available at http://home1.gte.net/bharrell/download.htm.
Microsoft distributes Dvorak keyboard layouts that make the most frequently typed characters on a keyboard more accessible to people who have difficulty using the standard "QWERTY" layout. There are three Dvorak layouts: one for two-handed users, one for people who type only with their left hand, and one for people who type only with their right hand. The left- or right-hand keyboard layouts can also be used by people who type with a wand. See http://www.microsoft.com/enable/products/dvorak.htm
Decompresses many file types. Shareware. See http://www.winzip.com/