5 Mac OS X Accessability Featurers & Tips

Since I know you all live to find ways to tweak those OS X devices, the below few tweaks lifts up those hidden rocks that are normally left alone. The Accessibility panel of System Preferences is one of them.

1. Change the cursor size

OS X Change Cursor Size

OS X Change Cursor Size

A very common use for Mac’s is to hook them up to big screen or even TV screens to consume media, an issue that can occur unless you have superman vision is that the minute cursor is hard to follow and control. Well you can change the size of the cursor making it any size that suits form a little bigger to massive.

Go to Apple Menu > System Preferences, click Accessibility, and then click Display. Drag the Cursor Size slider from Normal (smallest) toward Large, settling on the size you want to use; the cursor changes size as you drag the slider.
Changing this setting will change even the standard mouse pointer, as well as any other cursors (the text input cursor, for example) although it won’t work in all applications. The Safari hand point will become bigger too.

Great so we can all now see our cursor on those huge 80” OLED displays.

2. Zoom everything, easily

The ease and ability to zoom into anything really easily with the iPhone or iPad is great, now who wants to do this across other devices, yes indeed. So you can activate keyboard shortcuts to zoom the entire display, or you can use a scroll gesture such as the a two-finger vertical drag on a track pad (just like those iPhone screens), or a turn of a scroll wheel will also zoom, once you press a modifier key, such as the Control key.

OS X Zoom In

OS X Zoom In

Go to Apple Menu > System Preferences, click Accessibility, and then click Zoom. Select the Smooth images option, so that you don’t see the pixels in images as they grow larger. You have a couple of Zoom Style choices: Full screen zooms everything on the display, whereas Picture-in-picture zooms the area around your cursor.
Click the More Options button to see additional settings, such as the exact magnification of the maximum and zooms, and how the screen image moves in relation to your pointer.

With a bit of a configuration on these setting, zooming into anything can be as easy as the portable devices.

3. Get silent, visual alerts

As cool as you think the new awesome ringtone theme tune from Revenge or Game of Thrones is; people are not going to be overly impressed with hearing it over and over again. So the options are to get a good pair of headphones or be a little more discreet, this brings us to the next tip…

Roll on over to System Preferences with that over-sized cursor you now have, and click the Sound pane. Click Audio, and check Flash the screen when an alert occurs. Instead of hearing a sound, you’ll see a subtle flash whenever your Mac alerts you to something, such as when you receive a notification, or when OS X beeps. Click Test screen flash to see what this effect is like. This is great if you work in a very quite office or work on public transport or on a long haul flight etc

OS X Flashing Screen Alerts

OS X Flashing Screen Alerts

4. Make modifier keys sticky

Do you have long fingers? Well unless you have a good set of piano fingers then you may find it hard to stretch and press the Command-Option-Shift-W, the Safari keyboard shortcut to close all windows.

Pressing more than one modifier key (the keys you use in shortcuts together with letters or numbers, namely Command, Option, Control, and Shift)

If you have normal or even small fingers, what you want to do is Click Keyboard in the Accessibility System Preferences pane and selects Enable Sticky Keys.

If you activate this option, you can press the Command key once to activate it, and it stays “pressed” until you press it again.

Excellent, this nifty little setup makes it easy to press several of the modifier keys, as they will all add up. So now if you click the Options button, you can choose to have the keys display at the top-right of your display so you will never forget what has been pressed, magic.

5. Mouse with your number pad

There may be an occasion when you don’t fancy using your track pad, but would like to use your number pad to control your mouse cursor; strange but there may just be a time.
Follow the following steps:

Click Mouse & Track pad in the Accessibility System Preferences pane. You can now turn on Mouse Keys, this let’s us move the cursor by pressing keys on your keyboard. This technique will work with the number pad on a full-size keyboard, or with the 7-8-9, U-I-O, and J-K-L keys, just like playing those old shoot me up games. Move the mouse in any of eight directions, in tiny steps, by pressing the outside keys in that square, and click the mouse by pressing the 5 or I key.

Click the Options button to adjust some settings for this feature, you can then set shortcuts and create the ability to run this command by pressing the option button a set number of times.

So I hope your can find a few good uses for these tips.

5 Mac OS X Accessability Featurers & Tips

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