People use mostly keyboards, mouse or trackpad to navigate through the commands, however, if a user has any difficulty seeing, hearing or using these three elements, they may use OS X’s comprehensive set of accessibility features, that make Mac easier to use.
How to Use Universal Access Panel
Accessibility features can be found within the Universal Access panel of System Preferences.
- Cursor Size: This option makes the mouse pointer larger to help the user distinguish it better.
- Display: This option sets your screen to Grayscale (black and white colors) or White on Black (just like a film negative). To toggle the modes, click “Command + Alt + ^ + 8”.
- Enhance Contrast: The option increases the starkness of the difference between dark and light. The shortcuts “Command + Alt + ^ +.” and “Command + Alt +,” have the same effect.
- Flash: This is a visual alternative to the alert sound.
- Mouse Keys: You should turn on this feature if you want to control the mouse pointer using the numeric keypad section of your keyboard.
- Sticky Keys: This function allows the user to enter key combinations in sequence rather than simultaneously.
- VoiceOver: This feature provides spoken feedback to help the user navigate between items, applications and windows with the keyboard.
- Zoom: Once activated, the shortcuts “Command + Alt +” or “Command + Alt -” zoom in and out on any area of the screen, following the mouse pointer around.
You may wish to activate the OS X Speech Recognition features. In OS X you can use this technology to give commands in certain applications, switch between programs, open some programs, and so on.
Note: On a Mac laptop, hold down the FN key to access the numeric keypad.
Ten OS X tips for new Mac Users
- The first tip is an obvious one: Enable right-click and adjust tracking speed of your mouse or trackpad: Head to System Preferences – click on Mouse and next mark Secondary Click, thus enabling right-click. Below you’ll see a slider and you can adjust tracking speed.
- Placing the Dock on the side of the screen: You can place the Dock on the side of the screen by going to System Preferences, clicking on Dock, and then using Position on screen where you’ll choose between Bottom, Right or Left. Why will you want to change the position? Because if you place the Dock on the side you will get more vertical place for other icons.
- Minimize windows into application icon: When you have just a couple of items on the screen, it doesn’t really matter, but when you have many windows open. Note that when you minimize windows into applications, the Dock is growing because minimized windows are added to the Dock. To do this: Go to System Preferences – Dock and once there mark Minimize windows into application icon. Now the open windows are presented as icon and don’t take extra space on your Dock.
- Enable “Show Desktop” Hot Corner: Of course there are keyboard shortcuts which can help you see desktop quickly. But you can easily assign this task to your mouse. You to this by going to System Preferences, clicking on Mission Control, then clicking on Hot Corners, selecting one of the four Active Screen Corners, and then choosing Desktop, then you click OK and close System Preferences (see the Video).
- Enable three finger drag with trackpad: You can enable this feature which will help you easier move applications through the screen. For this, head to System Preferences, but once there DON’T GO to Trackpad, as you might think, but choose Accessibility. Once there, scroll down to Mouse & Trackpad. Click this pane and then click Trackpad Options. Next click Enable dragging and from the drop-down menu select three finger drag option. To finish, click OK and close System Preferences. Now you will be able to move content with three fingers.
- Show Keyboard, Emoji & Symbol Viewers: Of course you can see emoji by going to Edit and then opening emoji. But you can add this possibility by going to System Preferences – Keyboard and checking Show Keyboard, Emoji & Symbol Viewers in menu bar. After you close System Preferences, you will see this option added to your menu bar on top of the screen.
- Set Full Keyboard Access to “All controls“: Go to System Preferences, click Keyboard, click Shortcuts and you will see the choice Full Keyboard Access: in windows and dialog, press Tab to move keyboard focus between Text Boxes and lists only or All controls. If you choose All controls, you will be able to use the keyboard to perform all the operations without using your mouse or trackpad.
- Clean up the Finder: Go to Finder – Preferences, and once there check everything you’d like to see or uncheck all the unnecessary items.
- Disable Shadow on screenshots: This feature is one of the personal preferences. Apple adds shadows for aesthetic purposes. If you prefer to disable Shadows, go to Launchpad, then go to Other, next go to Terminal and disable screenshot shadows.
- Add a shortcut to the Library: Many users find this option extremely handy. Just go to Go in the Menu bar, look for Library in the drop-down menu. You can drag your Library icon to your side bar, and now you can quickly access the library.
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