Blog Date: 
Wednesday, September 25, 2013

In the previous NFB Tech Tip we discussed the Windows Vista Start Menu and some of the new features that offers.  In this article we are going to continue with some other, new Windows Vista features and describe how Window-Eyes provides the screen access you need.

You may remember that pressing the Windows Key plus the letter E opens the Windows Explorer program.  In Windows XP, Windows Explorer would give you a way to manage files on your computer.  At that point you could press either the F6 key or the TAB key to navigate from group to group.  In Windows Vista you can still do that same thing but in a more full featured way.  For example, there is a new address area.  The address area in Windows Explorer is similar to the breadcrumb feature found on some web pages: it contains items that show you how to get back to where you started. For example, opening up the Window-Eyes program folder causes the command bar to display "Program Files -> GW Micro -> Window-Eyes," with each of the options linked to their respective folders. Once you select one of the items in the command bar, you can either press ENTER to open that selected folder, or press the DOWN ARROW to open a list of folders contained in the selected folder.

There is also a new search feature.  Much like the search feature of the start menu, each Windows Explorer window also contains a search edit box.  As soon as you begin entering information into the search box, the search begins taking place.  This can save a lot of time.

You can TAB to the navigation pane where you might see the words, Documents, Pictures, Music, etc.  This  provides links to common folders, as well as a tree view containing all of the drives, folders, and files on your computer.   As an example, this is a very quick way to move to a specific drive.

Moving to the command bar provides information that will change depending on the files that are listed.  You might have buttons named Organize, View, Play All, Burn, etc.   It displays tasks that are relevant to the files displayed in the Explorer window. For example, a folder containing music files will have command bar buttons that are relative to music tasks, such as a Burn command for burning music to a CD. A list of documents might bring up other command bar actions, such as e-mailing or sharing the selected file.

When you TAB to the list of files or folders, pressing TAB once more takes you to the current folder's list view headers. The list view headers provide an easy to way to choose how information is sorted.  List view headers function differently under Windows Vista than they do under XP. First, the headers are always present, regardless of which view your folder is in. Second, you can actually TAB to the headers, and arrow through them. Once you have selected a header, you can press the DOWN ARROW to open a menu containing various options for the selected header.

Finally, there are additional views-Windows Vista introduces new methods of sorting files in Windows Explorer, including Group by, and Stack By. For example, using Group By Name, Explorer will group folders and files into alphabetical groups A-H, I-P, Q-Z. Names like Internet Explorer would show up in the I-P group. Window-Eyes would show up in the Q-Z group. Groups can also be expanded (to display all contained files and folders) or collapsed (to hide all contained files and folders).

For further information on Window-Eyes, please visit the GW Micro site.