GWKB1089 : FAQs for Using Window-Eyes and ZoomText simultaneously

Product: Window-Eyes
Author: Jeremy Curry
Date Added: 07/10/2008
Last Modified: 12/08/2014

This guide will help answer some of the most frequently asked questions for users who want to use both ZoomText and Window-Eyes simultaneously.

  Can ZoomText and Window-Eyes be installed and used on the same computer?

A:  Yes.  The current versions of ZoomText (10.1) and Window-Eyes (9) can be installed and used on the same computer, but with some limitations. There are no known problems installing both products on the same computer or using each product by itself on the same computer. However, there are some known limitations and usage requirements when using the two products together.  These limitations and usage requirements are as follows:

• Windows “Aero Themes” cannot be used while running Window-Eyes.

• ZoomText speech and echo features (i.e. program, typing, mouse) must be disabled while running ZoomText and Window-Eyes together.

• ZoomText will not track what Window-Eyes is speaking while using a web browser or during a read to end of text.  ZoomText will follow the cursor, which may not sync with the speech that Window-Eyes is speaking.

Q:  Does Ai Squared plan to make ZoomText and Window-Eyes work better together?

Yes.  Ai Squared is already working on changes to ZoomText and Window-Eyes that will deliver a greatly improved user experience and greater productivity when using the two products together.  More details will be forthcoming. Stay tuned for the latest news at

Q: When using Window-Eyes and ZoomText at the same time, are there any hot key conflicts?

Yes, some hot key conflicts exist between the two programs.  Follow the directions below to eliminate hot key conflicts.

There are several different ways to approach hot key conflicts. Hot keys can be redefined in both ZoomText and Window-Eyes. Or, hot keys can be disabled in either ZoomText or Window-Eyes. It is assumed that users who are using a full-fledged screen reader will want to use the hot keys that Window-Eyes provides rather than those provided by ZoomText. Using that assumption, a ZoomText configuration file has been created that disables all currently known hot key conflicts with Window-Eyes. Note that it is also assumed that users are using the default keyboard layout for Window-Eyes. It was also found that several ZoomText hot keys conflicted with the way typical Window-Eyes customers use programs. For example, Alt-Left Arrow is defined in ZoomText by default to move the Zoom Window to the left. However, many users use Window-Eyes and ZoomText together while browsing the web. In a web browser such as Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox, Alt-Left Arrow moves to the previous page. Thus, some ZoomText keystrokes have also been disabled that would likely affect a majority of customers. Another assumption was made that since a user of Window-Eyes/ZoomText combination is probably very low vision, the default magnification rate was increased from 2x to 4x. Additionally, ZoomText speech was also disabled.  The following changes to the factory defaults are included in the configuration file:

Changed from 2x to 4x


Hot keys:

The following hot keys have been disabled in ZoomText due to conflicts with Window-Eyes:

Adjust Window Tool: Control-Shift-A
AppReader: Alt-Shift-A
BGR Next Sentence: Caps Lock-Right
BGR Next Word: Control-Caps Lock-Right
BGR Previous Sentence: Caps Lock-Left
BGR Previous Word: Control-Caps Lock-Left
BGR Read Clipboard Text: Caps Lock-C
BGR Read Selected Text: Caps Lock-S
BGR Show Toolbar: Caps Lock-T
Cursor Enhancements On/Off: Control-Shift-R
Decrease Speech Rate: Control-Numpad-Minus
Desktop Finder: Control-Shift-D
Font Enhancements Type: Control-Shift-F
Increase Speech Rate: Control-Numpad-Plus
Jump Center: Alt-Numpad 5 (Numlock off)
Load Configuration 1: Alt-Shift-1
Load Configuration 10: Alt-Shift-0
Load Configuration 2: Alt-Shift-2
Load Configuration 3: Alt-Shift-3
Load Configuration 4: Alt-Shift-4
Load Configuration 5: Alt-Shift-5
Load Configuration 6: Alt-Shift-6
Load Configuration 7: Alt-Shift-7
Load Configuration 8: Alt-Shift-8
Load Configuration 9: Alt-Shift-9
Manage Application Settings: Control-Shift-M
Mouse Echo Mode: Alt-Shift-M
Move Mouse to View: Control-Shift-B
Navigate Reading Zones: Control-Alt-V
Record Clipboard Text: Control-Caps Lock-C
Record Selected Text: Control-Caps Lock-S
Save Application Settings: Control-Shift-S
Say Clipboard: Alt-Shift-C
Say Current Character: Numpad 5 (Numlock off)
Say Current Word: Control-Numpad 5 (Numlock off)
Say Next Sentence: Control-Alt-Right Arrow
Say Previous Sentence: Control-Alt-Left Arrow
Say Window Title: Control-Alt-W
Smooth Panning On/Off: Alt-Shift-P
Typing Echo Mode: Alt-Shift-T
Web Finder: Control-Shift-W
The following hot keys have been disabled in ZoomText due to conflicts with Windows or other programs:

Jump Left: Alt-Home
Scroll Down: Alt-Down Arrow
Scroll Left: Alt-Left Arrow
Scroll Right: Alt-Right Arrow

To install the ZoomText configuration file that we have created, perform the following steps:

IMPORTANT NOTE: If the following configuration is saved as the default setting, the current ZoomText settings will be overwritten. Also note that this keyboard layout has been designed using Window-Eyes 9.0 and ZoomText 10.1.

1. Download the ZoomText configuration file to a known location. The default name of the file is zten-WE-US.zxc.
2. Open ZoomText by pressing Control-Shift-U or click on the ZoomText User Interface.
3. Once ZoomText is open, press Alt-F to open the File menu.
4. Press Enter on Open Configuration.
5. Navigate to the zten-WE-US.zxc file, and open the configuration.
6. You can make this your default configuration. NOTE THAT THIS WILL OVERWRITE THE DEFAULT SETTINGS. To make this your default, open the File menu in ZoomText by pressing Alt-F.
7. Down Arrow to Save As Default.
8. Press Enter.
9. A dialog will appear and ask the user to verify if they want to save the current ZoomText settings as the default. Press Tab to navigate to the Yes button.
10. Press Enter.

All known hot key conflicts will then be disabled in ZoomText. To re-enable those hot keys, or to change the hot keys to a different hot key that does not conflict, you will need to access the Hot keys dialog in the Settings menu in ZoomText.

Q: Is it possible to access the web when using ZoomText and Window-Eyes simultaneously?

A: Yes, it is possible to access the web when using ZoomText and Window-Eyes simultaneously. Continue reading for details

Screen readers use a different method to access the Internet than screen magnifiers. Since web browsers provide little or no access via the keyboard, Window-Eyes provides special access to webpages via Browse Mode. However, using this mode means that the screen will most likely not track visually with ZoomText. So, as a low vision user, you must make a choice when browsing the web with Window-Eyes and ZoomText: You will need to choose to use Browse Mode in Window-Eyes to access webpages, and listen to the webpage or you will need to turn off Browse Mode to access the Internet. To learn more about how to use Browse Mode, you should access the Window-Eyes manual located in the Window-Eyes Help menu.

To turn off Browse Mode to access the Internet, do one of the following:

1. Temporarily turn off Browse Mode by pressing Ctrl-Shift-A. Note that Browse Mode will turn back on every time a new web page opens.

2. Click the physical mouse inside of an edit box. Browse mode will automatically turn off, which will allow typing in the edit box.

3. Turn off Browse Mode permanently.

To turn off Browse Mode permanently, perform the following steps:

1. Open the web browser.
2. Press Ins-V.
3. Down Arrow to navigate to AutoLoad.
4. Tab until Window-Eyes speaks, “Should Browse Mode be on by default?”
5. Press Down Arrow to select the No radio button.
6. Press Enter.
7. Open the Window-Eyes Control Panel with Ctrl-Backslash.
8. Press Ctrl-S to save settings
9. Restart the web browser.

When the web browser opens again, Browse Mode will no longer load automatically. You will be able to hear any text that you type into edit boxes. However, without Browse Mode, you will not be able to perform a read to end or use Window-Eyes Quick Navigation hot keys. This function can only be used when Browse Mode is active.