Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Pointer Control from the Keyboard

What would you do if your mouse happens to stop working for a day or two, you would have a really tough time trying to get your work done on your computer wouldn't you? You would have to spend most of your time working with your keyboard, trying to remember all the shortcut keys and the combination keys to use and all of this would have to be done from your memory. How about something a bit better?

Windows has a facility where you can use a keyboard to control the mouse pointer in the absence of a mouse. Note that this trick will not work if a screen reader or screen magnification program is running because these programs remap the keyboard.

  1. Open the Control Panel.
  2. Select the Accessibility option.
  3. From the dialogue box, click on the Mouse tab.
  4. Tick the checkbox of Use Mouse Key.
  5. Click OK to close the Accessibility Options window.

Note: You can also press Left Alt key + Left Shift Key + Num Lock together to open the MouseKeys dialogue box. Then press Enter to turn MouseKeys ON. Press Cancel to turn MouseKeys OFF.

You can use the numeric pad (the number pad on the right hand side of your keyboard) as MouseKeys, but only if the Num Lock is ON.

On the numeric keypad, use the following keys to control the mouse pointer:

  • 2, 4, 6 and 8 to move the cursor on the screen toward Down, Left, Right and Up.
  • To perform a left single click, press 5.
  • To perform a right single click, press ^DDS (minus).
  • To perform a left double click, press + (plus).

To increase the speed of the pointer movement, double click the mouse icon on the taskbar and select the Settings button from the dialogue box. Now you can increase the speed of the pointer by selecting the Pointer Speed option.

Place a check in the box that says, "Hold down Ctrl to speed up and Shift to slow down." Now, if you press the Ctrl key while holding the arrow key, the pointer speed will increase and if you hold the Shift key while holding the arrow key, the pointer speed will decrease.

Note: If you want to use the numbers from the numeric keypad while using the MouseKeys, select the OFF radio button from Use MouseKeys when Num Lock is the option. If you select ON again, the numeric keypad will be used as MouseKeys.

So, from now on, even if your mouse goes bad, you still have options to move the cursor!

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