| By Michael Lasky |
Some of the more useful apps in Windows 7 are hidden in plain sight — in the Accessories folder.
For example, the Ease of Access tools found at the bottom of the Accessories list has a treasure trove of helpful utilities originally designed for sensory-impaired users.
Find your way to the Ease of Access Center
From the how-did-I-ever-live-without-it, screen-capture Snipping Tool to Sticky Notes to the surprisingly robust speech-recognition and text-to-speech app Narrator, Windows 7 has a worthy cache of utilities that can make everyday computing tasks easier and more useful.
Most of these utilities reside in Win7’s Ease of Access Center (EOAC), and Windows provides many routes to the EOAC. You can type the letters access into the Start button’s Search programs and files box, press the Windows+U keys, find it under Accessories in the All Programs menu, or look for it in Win7’s control panel.
Although Microsoft obviously made it easy to launch the EOAC, I’ll bet many Win7 users have never ventured there — possibly assuming it was meant for people with visual or audio impairments.
Taking a cue from its name, the EOAC offers a Quick access menu at the top of the window for instantly launching common tools (shown in Figure 1). It’s followed by a list of usability settings that can make the mouse and keyboard easier to use, make the display easier to see, and more.