New Vision Concepts
EZTaskBar Users Manual

 EZTaskBar OverView

The primary interface to EZReader consists of a taskbar located along the bottom of the desktop, just above the Windows taskbar. There are two versions of the taskbar - one that is used to access all 75+ EZReader low vision applications and a second that is a magnified version of the Windows taskbar. The two taskbars are referred to as the EZTaskBar and the EZWinBar.

The EZWinBar displays the same icons that the user pins to the Windows taskbar, whereas the EZTaskBar provides custom icons to access the EZReader suite of 75+ custom applications. The user can control which icons/applications are shown on the EZTaskBar.

From either taskbar, the user clicks on an icon to run the indicated application. When the mouse hovers over an icon, a large font popup tip is shown as a reminder of which application the icon represents.

EZReader Home Page

Table of Contents

Introduction:

Core EZReader:

Shutdown/Restart:

Colors:

   

Magnifications:

Sound:

Internet:

Clipboard and OCR:

     

Files/Folders:

Email:

Applications:

Links:

Utilities and Games:

Other:

 EZWinBar: Magnified Windows Taskbar

The first of the two EZTaskBar taskbars is called the "EZWinBar" and is an easy-to-see, enlarged version of the Windows Taskbar. The second of the two EZTaskBar Taskbars is called the "EZTaskBar". Only one taskbar version can be shown at a time.

The first 5 icons on the EZWinBar are custom functions and are the same on both EZTaskBar taskbars.

  • Exit EZTaskBar
  • Show CenterBar
  • Taskbar Selection
  • Shut Down PC
  • Restart PC
- exits EZTaskBar
- toggles between EZTaskBar located along bottom of screen or centered on the desktop
- toggles between the magnified Windows Taskbar (EZWinBar) and the custom low vision taskbar (EZTaskBar)
- closes all open applications and shuts down the PC
- closes all open applications and restarts the PC

Before shutting down or restarting the PC be sure to save all changes in any open files!

Pressing the ESC key or right-clicking anywhere will also close EZTaskBar.

Using EZWinBar:
To start an application, just single-click on the application icon.

Customization:
There are a variety of keyboard shortcuts available to modify features of the EZWinBar - size, position, background color and more. These shortcuts are shared between the two EZTaskBar Taskbars and are listed below in another section.

Icons:
Windows applications typically provide a 32x32 icon for use on the Taskbar, which EZWinBar uses by default. But when magnified, those icons look pixelated so EZTaskBar provides a library of about 50 larger icons for common application icons that are automatically used to give a better display. If a user has an application not covered by the icon library, EZTaskBar will default to showing the magnified 32x32 icon.

To add an icon for use on EZWinBar, simply place the 128x128 icon in the "freeicon" subfolder and give it the name "app.ico", where "app" is the EXE name that the TaskBar shortcut points to. For example, the "freeicon" folder already contains the "excel.ico" icon, where "excel.exe" is the icon corresponding to the pinned app shortcut of "excel.exe".

Limitations:
Applications displayed by EZWinBar are found in a special Windows folder which lists the applications pinned to the Taskbar. Some pinned applications are not kept in that folder and so are not shown by EZTaskBar. Future updates to EZTaskBar may display pinned applications that are not listed in that special folder. The Ctrl-F keyboard shortcut can be used to open the folder containing pinned applications.

The EZTaskBar Taskbar also does not show System Tray applications. These also may be added in future versions of EZTaskBar.

Moving EZWinBar
The EZWinBar can be moved to a new location by dragging it with a mouse. Click on a blank area between icons to start dragging. Double-click on any blank area to return EZWinBar to it's default position. At startup, the EZWinBar is always shown in the default position.

Hiding the Windows Taskbar
Using Ctrl-Y, the EZWinBar can be positioned to cover the Windows Taskbar, or positioned so that the Windows Taskbar is always visible.

 EZTaskBar: Customized Low Vision TaskBar

The second of the two EZTaskBar Taskbars is called the "EZTaskBar". Large bold letters, high-contrast colors, large icons and simplified custom-drawn graphical icons are used to enhance the ability of low vision users to see and operate this taskbar.

Both EZTaskBar taskbars present the same 5 functions on the left side:

  • Exit EZTaskBar
  • Show CenterBar
  • Toolbar Type Selection
  • Shut Down PC
  • Restart PC
- exits EZTaskBar
- displays the CenterBar and hides the EZTaskBar or EZWinBar
- toggles between the magnified Windows Taskbar and the customized low vision Taskbar
- closes all open applications and shuts down the PC
- closes all open applications and restarts the PC
Pressing the ESC key or right-clicking on any icon will also close EZTaskBar

If you hover the mouse over one of the EZTaskBar icons for 1-2 seconds, a popup message will be displayed, giving a one-word description of the function the icon performs.

Customization:
The keyboard shortcut section below discusses how to modify the EZTaskBar size, position, colors and other features.

Icons:
The EZTaskBar draws its own graphical icons, using user-specified colors. Optionally, icons may be replaced by user-specified letters. Some low vision users find the letters easier to see than graphical icons.

Limitations:
At HD resolution and full icon size, all available EZTaskBar icons will not fit within the desktop width. The user can either resize EZTaskBar to show smaller icons or can specify which icons will be displayed. At full HD resolution 15 icons can be displayed in the width of the desktop. Details on selecting icons for display are provided further below.

The EZTaskBar does not show System Tray applications.

Moving EZTaskBar
The EZTaskBar can be moved to a new location by dragging it with a mouse. Click on a blank area between icons to start dragging. Double-click on the same blank area to return EZTaskBar to it's default position. At startup, the EZTaskBar is always shown in the default position.

Hiding the Windows Taskbar
Using Ctrl-Y, EZTaskBar can be positioned to cover the Windows Taskbar, or positioned so that the Windows Taskbar is always visible.

 CenterBar

The default EZTaskBar and EZWinBar are conveniently displayed along the bottom of the desktop, leaving the desktop mostly clear for viewing applications.

However, at large icons sizes the user can display only a limited number of the total available utilities. To see all available icons, the taskbars have to be set with smaller icon sizes.

As a way around that situation, EZTaskBar offers the "CenterBar", as shown in this image, which always display all available icons at the full 128px icon size. The CenterBar can display the icons for both the EZTaskBar and EZWinBar.

When the CenterBar is shown, EZTaskBar and EZWinBar are automatically hidden.

The user can drag The CenterBar to any location and that location will be used whenever the CenterBar is displayed again.

If the CenterBar is open when EZTaskBar is closed, then the CenterBar will be displayed the next time EZTaskBar is opened.

  Wide Toolbars

Some of the EZTaskBar application have more toolbar buttons than will fit in the width of the desktop. In those applications, a "wide" toolbar is used which shows as many of the application icons as will fit. This requires that a few of the application available toolbar icons will be missing.

To make sure all application toolbar icons can be accessed, EZTaskBar can split the toolbar into rows of icons, as shown in this image:

The rightmost icon is pressed to move to the next row of icons, cycling to the top row when the last row is reached.

The Ctrl-T shortcut is typically used to toggle display of the wide toolbar. A wide toolbar option is not provided when the number of toolbar icons fits comfortably within the desktop width.

  Icon Sizes

Both EZTaskBar taskbars can be set to any of 5 icon sizes using the key command "R", as shown here in true size. Not all available icons are shown here, only enough to show the available EZTaskBar sizes.

  Color Pairs

EZTaskBar can be displayed using any of 4 color pairs, as shown here. The selected color pair determines the foreground and background color of both EZWinBar and EZTaskBar.

  Graphics vs Letters

EZTaskBar can be set to show letters or graphical icons, as shown here:

For low vision users, the letters may be easier to read than the graphical icons.

EZWinBar does not support displaying letters.

  Select Icons for Display

EZTaskBar can be set to show any combination of the available icons, whereas the EZWinBar icon count is fixed at the number of applications pinned to the Windows Taskbar.

Here are some examples showing EZTaskBar displaying a subset of the available icons.

The keyboard shortcut S will pop up this dialog, which allows the user to select which icons will be shown. Click on an icon to toggle whether the icon will be shown on EZTaskBar or CenterBar. Visible icons will be displayed with a thick border whose color can be selected by the user. In this image, a white border is used.

Note that there are 3 blank separators between each application icon. These are place holders for future applications but may also be used to put spaces between application icons to make the display easier to see.

Be sure to press the Save button to incorporate any changes that are made.

The keyboard shortcut Ctrl-R will pop up this next dialog, which allows the user not only to select which icons will be shown, but will also allow entry of the letter to be displayed and a short description of the icon function. The description is used as the popup tooltip that is seen when the mouse hovers over an icon.

Each row has 3 items: 0/1 to turn off/on the icon, a letter to be displayed and a short description (the tooltip) of the icon function.

Be sure to press the Save button to incorporate any changes that are made.

Also, be careful to maintain the file formatting.

  Shut Down PC

In Windows 10, shutting down the PC requires that a user press 3 Windows buttons, all of which are too small for a low vision user to see easily. Both EZTaskBar taskbars have a large, single-click button to simplify the task of shutting down the PC.

A large, easy-to-see dialog asks the user to confirm the shut down.

  Restart PC

Restarting a PC requires that a user press 3 Windows buttons, all of which are too small for a low vision user to see easily. Both EZTaskBar taskbars have a large, single-click button to simplify the task of restarting the PC.

A large, easy-to-see dialog asks the user to confirm the restart.

  Colors

As mentioned earlier, EZTaskBar can display content using one of 4 color pairs. The Colors button on the EZTaskBar is used to change colors. The letter "C" on the keyboard can also be used.

Press the color icon on EZTaskBar to toggle through all available color pairs.

The four default color pairs are:

  2-Color (Binary) Mode

EZTaskBar can take a snapshot of the entire computer screen and convert all colors to the current color pair. The converted image will then fill the screen, freezing all action until the user presses ESC or right-clicks the screen to return to the live screen.

The use of 2 colors is commonly used by low vision users to make the screen more readable by selecting a color pair that better complements their vision limitations.

When in 2-color mode, the user can press the up/down arrow keys to adjust how much foreground or background color is used in the image. The left/right arrow keys restore the default FG/BG balance.

Press the 2-color mode icon on EZTaskBar to display the screen in 2-color mode. Press ESC to return to true-color mode.

In some cases, the user may want to compare the original with the binary version. For that case, EZTaskBar has a binary "half-screen" mode (Ctrl-H), where the left side of the screen is displayed normally and a binary version of the left side is displayed on the right side of the screen.

  High Contrast

EZTaskBar can display the built-in Windows 10 high contrast capability, which applies to the entire screen. One of the good features of the built-in high contrast mode is that it does not affect images. This is especially useful when viewing web pages.

Users can go to Settings/Ease of Use/High Contrast to set their choice of colors, but these high contrast colors (a white on black theme) are recommended:

High contrast colors are preferred over the color inversion option of Magnifier because the high contrast color modification provides more readable results.

It is recommended that the Magnifier be set on a 50% zoom increments. More than that causes the displayed image to "jump" visually when changing room factor.

  Magnify Plus

When first pressed, this icon will turn on the built-in Windows 10 Magnifier. Subsequent presses will increase the level of magnification.

Through Windows 10 Settings, the user can choose between the docking, lens and full screen magnification but the lens magnification is recommended because it provides less disruption both visually and physically to the user.

The WinKey + Add key combination may also be used to start Magnifier and to increase magnification.

  Magnify Minus

This icon will reduced the magnification of the Magnifier, to a minimum of 100%. It has no effect if the Magnifier has not been opened.

The WinKey + Subtract key combination may also be used to reduce magnification.

  Exit Magnifier

This icon will close the Magnifier. It has no effect if the Magnifier has not been opened.

The WinKey + ESC key combination may also be used to exit Magnifier.

  Magnifier Type

This icons toggles between the 3 types of Magnifiers windows - Lens, Docked Window and Full Screen. It has no effect if the Magnifier has not been opened.

The Ctrl-Alt-M key combination may also be used to toggle through the Magnifier display options.

  Volume Control

The volume control dialog makes it easy to raise, lower and mute the volume. IT can also mute the speakers and microphone.

Just press the + or - to change volume. This affects sound level on all Windows applications.

Press the Speaker icon to mute the speakers.

Press the Microphone to mute the microphone.

  Speakers

For faster access, the mute speaker button can be displayed directly on EZTaskBar.

Press the Speaker icon to mute or unmute the speakers. This affects sound level on all Windows applications.

When muted, the speaker icon will be overlaid with a large X.

  MicroPhone

For faster access, the mute microphone button can be displayed directly on EZTaskBar.

Press the MicroPhone icon to mute or unmute the microphone.

When muted, the microphone icon will be overlaid with a large X.

  JukeBox

A music player is provided which can read MP3, AU and MIDI files. A sample of songs are provided for demonstration purposes.

Playing is continuous - playing all selected/checked songs until Stop is played.

If you exit JukeBox, the current song will play to completion but other checked songs will not be played.

The following toolbar commands are provided:

The following keyboard shortcuts are supported:

  Bookmarks

This option presents the Chrome browser bookmarks as a list of links in a web page, displayed in the user's default browser. The user can click on any link to open that web page.

The bookmark font size may be changed using the EZTaskBar "BigX" icons or by using the Ctrl-Wheel option supported by most browsers.

  Google Search

This option displays a large popup dialog in which a user can type in a search term. Once typed, the user presses "Enter" to open their default browser with a Google search on the search term.

The entered search term is saved between calls to the search dialog.

Press ESC to cancel the Search.

  GoTo URL

This option displays a large popup dialog in which a user can type in a URL. Once typed, the user presses "Enter" to open their default browser to that URL.

Pressing the ESC button returns to the CenterBar.

EZTaskBar will automatically fill in the http:// and https:// part of the URL so that the user does not need to type that in.

Press ESC to cancel the request.

  Screen Capture

EZTaskBar provides a method of capturing part of the screen without having to drag the mouse. After starting the screen capture, click on the upper left corner of the area to be captured. That will place a red box on the screen. Then click on the lower right corner of the area to be captured. That will draw a red box around the area to be captured. The box will remain visible for about 1 second, then disappear. At that point, an image of the selected area is placed on the clipboard.

  OCR Conversion

Once an image has been captured and placed on the clipboard, EZTaskBar can extract text from the image, then place the text on the clipboard.

Progress of the conversion will be indicated by the following two popup messages.

  View Clipboard

EZTaskBar can display both text and images that are found on the clipboard. It will detect the type of information on the clipboard and display a dialog appropriate for the content.

Text will be displayed like this:

The following toolbar commands are provided for the clipboard text viewer:

The following keyboard shortcuts are supported:

Images will be displayed like this, with the image shown on a background of gray:

The following toolbar commands are provided for the clipboard image viewer:

  Speak Clipboard

EZTaskBar can speak any text found on the clipboard. Press the Speak icon on EZTaskBar to speak the text content of the clipboard. Press it again to stop speaking.

EZTaskBar will notify the user verbally if the clipboard has no text.

  Folder Browser

Opening a file or folder that has several parents can be a difficult task for low vision users. To make that a simpler task, EZTaskBar provides an easy-to-use file/folder browser. It displays a tree of folders on the left and a listing of files from the selected folder on the right. Content is display in the user-selected large fonts and high contrast colors.

Files may be opened within EZTaskBar or using the default client for that file type.

The following toolbar commands are provided:

The following keyboard shortcuts are supported:

  File Search

EZTaskBar works with the 3rd party program called Everything to do an almost instant search for files any where on the users PC.

Everything maintains an accurate database of all files and folders on the PC and can perform a search almost instantly. EZTaskBar taps the output of Everything and wraps it in an applications designed for low vision users.

A search term is entered via a popup dialog that uses very large fonts. The user types in the search term and presses Enter, which will generate a list of all matching files.

The following toolbar commands are provided:

The following keyboard shortcuts are supported:

  Contacts

EZTaskBar allows the user to enter a list of contacts. Each contact must have a minimum of 2 lines - a name and an email address.

If a 3rd line is provided, it must be the contacts phone number followed by the text message server for that contact, such as "2146689913@txt.att.net"

Any number of additional lines may be entered but are not used by EZTaskBar. A contact's street address is an example of what might be included in the contact information.

The string "<<>>" is used to separate contacts. It must be left-justified on a line of its own.

The first contact in the list must provide the user's account information on 3 lines, like this:

  Email and Text Messages

EZTaskBar can send email and text messages, but it cannot receive either.

The screen consists of a list of contacts and a box in which to type the body of the email (limited to 256 characters).

The email will be sent to all checked contacts (those with an X in the first column).

An attachment can be sent with an email but not with an attachment. The attachment file can be selected from within the EZTaskBar file/folder browser by selecting a file and pressing the Attach toolbar button. The user may also elect to send the content of the clipboard as an attachment by pressing the Attach button in the EZTaskBar clipboard viewer applications (text or image).

Sending emails or text messages requires user account information, which is stored in the first contact of the contact list, like this:

The following toolbar commands are provided:

The following keyboard shortcuts are supported:

  Calendar

A simple monthly calendar may be displayed.

The user may move forward or backwards on the calendar, one month at a time. Or, the user can jump to the current month.

The current date is highlighted using an enclosing box.

  Calculator

The calculator provides basic mathematical operations, including square root, percentage and inverse functions. The user enters the equation and then presses "=" to calculate the answer.

The full equation as entered by the user is displayed along the top of the calculator.

A history of solved equations is maintained on the right size of the calculator.

The Equation, History and Memory values are maintained between sessions.

The following toolbar commands are provided:

The following keyboard shortcuts are supported:

  File Editor

The EZTaskBar File Editor application is the same application as is found in the flagship EZReader suite. It consists of a text file editor which can save whatever the user types in. It always saves the content to the same file name, so the user does not have to do anything except press Save.

The following toolbar commands are provided:

When Sticky Note is displayed, the following keyboard shortcuts may be used:

  Book Reader

The EZTaskBar book reader software is similar to the book reader found in the flagship EZReader suite. This version allows the user to view any of the 88 books that are distributed with EZTaskBar. Suggestions for book titles are welcome!

Features of the book reader include:

When the book reader is displayed, the following keyboard shortcuts may be used:

The flagship product EZReader supports an unlimited number of books and folders, including the option to import and view Kindle books. It can also import newspapers and magazines from the NewsLine program of the National Federation for the Blind.

  EZFreeCamera

EZTaskBar installs with a copy of the free camera viewer, EZFreeCamera, which can view any camera attached to the users PC. For users who want only camera capabilities, EZFreeCamera can be downloaded as a stand-alone application.

Details of EZFreeCamera operation are found on the EZFreeCamera home page.

The flagship product EZReader provides another document camera viewer called EZCamera, which has a higher zoom range and utilizes special algorithms to provide a higher quality zoomed image. It also provides a variety of other features, such as taking snapshots, extracting text from video images (OCR) and binary color display of the video image.

  Browser Links

EZTaskBar can contain up to 10 icons which open user-specified URLs.

When a link is opened, EZTaskBar adds a special window (called the "BigX") to the upper-right corner of the browser - providing large, easy-to-see icons to close the browser or to zoom in or out of the browser.

Use Ctrl-S to open and edit the URLs, as well as the letter to display on EZTaskBar and CenterBar.

The BigX button is especially useful for low vision users as an alternative to using the small "x" that is found in the upper right corner of all Windows applications. The BigX window can be dragged out of the way if the user needs to access whatever is under the window.

  Screen Savers

To help darken the desktop when the PC light may be a distraction from other tasks the user is doing, EZTaskBar provides two screen savers. One completely darkens the screen (Ctrl-D) and the other is an animated screen saver drawn from the movie The Matrix.

Only the Matrix screen saver is available from EZTaskBar. The Dark screen saver can be accessed only by using Ctrl-D.

  Word Finder Game

EZTaskBar provides the full-screen game Words. The object is to play words similar to the way words are played in the game Scrabble. The more letters you play, the higher the score.

Words is a solo game. You do not play someone online and do not play against the computer. There are 98 letters that you attempt to play on the board by forming interconnected words, similar to how Scrabble is played.

The three areas of the game, left-to-right, are called:

To play you can move one letter at a time from the Hand to the Table or you can move the entire word from the Tray to the Table.

After you make a play you can draw letters.

Instead of playing you can return specific letters for new letters from the pool. Letter in the Tray are returned. If there are no letters in the Tray, then all Hand letters are returned.

The game is to play words on the Table until you cannot make any more valid plays, or until the letter pool is empty.

Game Actions:
Here are the actions you can take, all done with the mouse:

  UnSnarl Game

EZTaskBar provides the full-screen game UnSnarl. The object is to drag the dots until no connecting lines cross over one another.

You can adjust the difficulty (3 levels, each with more dots), the size of the dots and lines, and can also change the display colors.

When you unsnarl the dots and lines, the game will congratulate you!

  Solitaire

Solitaire is perhaps the most popular card game there is. I'm working on a suitable version of the game for low vision users, but until then, EZTaskBar can take you to an online site where you can play the game:

Solitaire

  Falling Sand

The falling sand games have long been a favorite of game players of all ages. I'm working on a suitable version of the game for low vision users, but until then, EZTaskBar will can you to an online site where you can play the game:

Falling Sand

  Smart Phone

Users who have an Android smart phone can attach their phone to their PC via USB and then display and operate their phone from the PC screen using keyboard, mouse or touch-screen actions.

The Android must first be placed in developer mode, which usually involves these steps:

It is best to leave developer mode on at all times to give instant PC screen access to the phone screen.

When the phone is in developer mode and attached to the PC, pressing the EZTaskBar Smart Phone button will open a window like this, from which you can view and operate your Android phone:

Note the large X in the upper right hand corner that EZTaskBar provides to simplify shutting down the smart phone window.

Also note in this image that EZTaskBar has been placed in "minimal icon" mode, where only the two left icons are visible. Minimal icon mode is achieved by right clicking on the CenterBar icon.

  User Color Pair

The user may change the 4th color pair (Black on Yellow) to a new color pair, using the following dialog which may be called up with the Ctrl-U keyboard shortcut.

Select the text color with the left mouse. Select the background color with the right mouse. Press the Save button on the toolbar to save the new color selection.

Setting the default color pair does not automatically change colors to that color pair.

  EZTaskBar Keyboard Shortcuts

EZTaskBar uses keyboard shortcuts to customize how EZTaskBar looks and operates. There are several dialogs presented by EZTaskBar and each has its own set of shortcut keys.

Except for underlined shortcuts, the shortcuts apply to both the EZTaskBar and CenterBar dialogs. The underlined shortcuts do not apply to the CenterBar.

    SETTINGS----------------------

  • A- AutoBar on Link
  • B- Use BigX
  • C- Color Pairs
  • F- Follow Icon Size
  • G- Graphics vs Letters
  • H- High Contrast
  • T- TaskBar Type
  • Z- Zoom Icons
  • Ctrl-B- toggle using Beep
  • Ctrl-I - Use Tooltips
  • Ctrl-H - Force1920
  • Ctrl-L - Mute speakers
  • Ctrl-M - toggle messages
  • Ctrl-N - toggle MagType
  • Ctrl-O - Show Outline
  • Ctrl-P - Mute microphone
  • Ctrl-Q - Show Icon Text
  • Ctrl-S - Use Browser Icons
  • Ctrl-X - Show Splash
  • Ctrl-Z - Show Version

    POSITION----------------------

  • I- Reposition
  • J- Fixed Desktop Width
  • N - Tw-Icon Mode
  • Q - TopMost
  • R - Resize icons
  • Y- Overlap Taskbar
  • Ctrl-G - EZWinBar Icon Gap
  • Ctrl-J - HalfScreen Binary
  
    SYSTEM--------------------

  • F1 - Online Help
  • ESC - Exit
  • Right-Click - Exit
  • U - Online Update
  • X - Exit
  • Ctrl-K - Open INI
  • Ctrl-T - TeamViewer

    DIALOGS------------------

  • D - Keyboard Image
  • E - Editor
  • K - Keyboard Shortcuts
  • L - Reader
  • M - Camera
  • O - toggle CenterBar
  • P - toggle Magnifier
  • S - Icon Selection
  • V- Variable Settings
  • Ctrl-A - Smart Phone
  • Ctrl-D - Dark Screen Saver
  • Ctrl-R - Icon Full Settings
  • Ctrl-U - Colors
  • Ctrl-V - Volume
  • Ctrl-W - Show Browser
  • Ctrl-Y - Show Clipboard

    FOLDERS---------------

  • W- Startup
  • Ctrl-C - CMD
  • Ctrl-E - Installation
  • Ctrl-F - Pinned
  • 1-10 - Display Nth Link

  Win10 ShortCuts

Low vision users will find these Windows 10 shortcuts useful. These are part of Windows 10 and do not require that EZTaskBar be installed.

Thank you for considering EZTaskBar!