Window-Eyes: Performance, Reliability, and Stability
"Unleashing the power of your mind's eye."
©1995-2005 GW Micro, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Phone: 260-489-3671
Released: 1/19/05

Welcome to Window-Eyes 5.0


Your productivity just got better. Thanks to the revolutionary power of Window-Eyes 5.0, with new support for Microsoft Word, and an innovative color identification feature (not to mention the existing robust features of Window-Eyes, like powerful, W3C compliant web access with Internet Explorer), you now have the power to be more successful at work, at school, and at home.

Keeping In Touch

Now that you are a proud owner of Window-Eyes 5.0, why not join up with other Window-Eyes users on the GW-Info e-mail list? To subscribe, send an e-mail message to Leave the subject blank, and type "join gw-info" in the body (without the quotes). Soon after you send your message, you will receive a confirmation. Reply to that confirmation and you will become a member of the largest public network of Window-Eyes users, always eager and willing to answer any questions you may have. Although we encourage all users to help each other with questions and problems, you can take comfort in knowing that the GW-Info list is constantly monitored by GW Micro employees. You can also contact us directly by using the contact information listed above.

Thank You!

Window-Eyes is developed with you in mind. Please feel free to contact us regarding any questions, comments, or suggestions that you may have; we are anxious to hear from you. Now read on to learn more about your latest investment, and thank you for choosing Window-Eyes!

What's New between Window-Eyes 5.0 and Window-Eyes 4.5?

Word Specific Features

The following section deals with the specific Word features that Window-Eyes 5.0 now supports. As you will see, there are many new features available.

The Microsoft Word DOM (Document Object Model)

Window-Eyes 5.0 offers 100% text accuracy, 100% of the time thanks to the use of the Microsoft Word DOM. The DOM (Document Object Model) allows Window-Eyes to communicate directly with Word, insuring that the text you hear is exactly the same text in your document. This is a first in the screen reader industry.

Microsoft Word Hotfixes

Thanks to our working relationship with Microsoft, we now offer the most stable, feature-rich support for Word. During our development cycle, we found a few Word bugs that affected all users of the Microsoft Word DOM. Microsoft has released several hotfixes to resolve these bugs, and we are helping to distribute them, since they benefit all screen reader users. We believe it's important – and responsible – not only to provide our own bug fixes, but to help you update the software we all rely on. For more information on obtaining the latest versions of Microsoft Word, and the latest hotfixes, please visit

* Columns - Columns are commonly used in newspapers, magazines, and multi-pane layouts. Window-Eyes will restrict reading to the current column, rather than letting text from each column bleed through on a single line. This has long been a problem for many screen readers.

* Fields - Fields are textual placeholders used for automatic generation of a specific type of element, such as document information, calculations, or even personal data on a job application. Window-Eyes can announce when you enter/leave fields, and count fields on the current line.

* Headers / Footers / Page Numbers - Headers and footers provide page information outside the boundary of the main document. Headers appear at the top of a page, and footers appear at the bottom. They often include items such as page numbers, chapter titles, dates, and author names. Window-Eyes can announce headers, footers, and page numbers.

* Miscellaneous Verbosity – Window-Eyes can also indicate the following features and elements:
o Indicate AutoCorrect - Will indicate when a word has been auto-corrected by Microsoft Word.
o Indicate Borders and Shading – Will indicate when the cursor enters or leaves an area that has been styled with either a border or shading.
o Indicate Smart Tags – Will indicate when a word contains a Smart Tag.
o Indicate Styles – Will automatically speak the format style of the current element when moving from one style to the next.
o Automatically Dock Toolbars – To ensure that text is not hidden by any of Word’s floating toolbars, Window-Eyes provides the option to dock the toolbars from the document area to the toolbar.

* Pictures / Objects – Inline pictures and objects are elements that are positioned directly in the text of a document. Non-inline (or floating) pictures and objects are elements that have a fixed position regardless of the surrounding text or other elements. Window-Eyes can announce when the cursor encounters one of these pictures or objects.

* References – Window-Eyes can read the following references:
o Comments – Comments are notes added to a document. The comments are usually displayed in balloon windows in the margin of the document area.
o Footnotes/Endnotes – Footnotes and endnotes are used to provide additional information (for example, further explanation, comments, or references) for specific text in a document. They're also used in some academic writing styles.
o Indicate References – Window-Eyes will announce when a reference is encountered, and will read the associated reference information.

* Revisions – Revisions (or markup) contain changes such as insertions, deletions, and formatting changes that have been applied to an original document. Window-Eyes will announce when a revision is encountered and will read the associated revision text. It will also read the revision author's name, date, and number of revisions.

* Sections – Sections are portions of a document which contain specific formatting options that differ from the rest of the document. For example, a document may begin with text in two columns, and end with text in three columns. Each group of columns would be considered a section. Window-Eyes will announce when the cursor enters a new section of a document.

* Spelling / Grammar – When Window-Eyes finds a spelling or grammar error, it's possible to correct them "on the fly." Just press SHIFT-F10 to bring up a context menu with several options for the current error. Use the feature to count and indicate spelling and grammar errors.

* Tables - Tables are displayed much like a spreadsheet, however they can be designed in a non-uniform way by merging cells. With other screen readers, reading keys may not work as expected in non-uniform tables, and navigation may be confusing. Window-Eyes can indicate whether a table contains non-uniform rows or non-uniform columns. In addition to the traditional tab/shift tab, there are several Window-Eyes hotkeys used to navigate through table cells

* Element Properties – Window-Eyes can summarize the properties of a particular element, such as different format styles, including colors, fonts, and formatting (bold, underline, italic, etc.).

* Page Navigation – The Page Navigation dialog provides the ability to quickly navigate through or review the components of a document in one comprehensive dialog. Window-Eyes will list all comments, hyperlinks, bookmarks, footnotes/endnotes, objects, revisions, form fields, and spelling and grammatical errors.

* Additional Word Features
o Drop cap: Window-Eyes fully supports drop cap letters (initial characters of a word whose font size is significantly larger than the rest of the word) and will incorporate them seamlessly into their associated line.
o Vertical Text: Window-Eyes fully supports vertical text when reading by line, and will indicate if the text is presented from top to bottom or from bottom to top.
o Speak Summary has been enhanced to provide detailed information about the current document.
o Cursor Position Information: When using the Cursor Position hot key, Window-Eyes will speak the position to 1/100th of whatever unit Word has been configured to use. For example, if Word has been configured for inches, the Cursor Position hot key might read, “1.83 inches from left, 3.55 inches from top, page 8.”
o Insert vs. Overtype: Regardless of whether the dedicated INS key is pressed, or the INS key on the number pad is pressed, the insert and overtype modes will always be announced, and will always function properly.
o Format Alert – Window-Eyes can indicate offsets from the left margin of the current section. Window-Eyes can indicate if two or more spaces exist on a line, as well as tab spacing. For example, if a line contains, “This tab is space space a tab test,” Window-Eyes would announce, “This tab is 2 spaces a tab test.”
o Selecting text: In addition to 100% text accuracy 100% of the time, Window-Eyes also boasts 100% selected text accuracy 100% of the time, regardless of the selected text color.
o Document Specific Settings – Window-Eyes now supports the ability to save specific settings for specific documents using the Document Specific Settings feature. Currently, only Word documents are supported, and only field names can be saved per document. Additional settings will be able to be saved per document in future versions of Window-Eyes.

Color Dictionary

Initially, Window-Eyes presented both foreground and background colors in an RGB (Red/Green/Blue) format that, although extremely accurate, was somewhat difficult to interpret without memorizing multiple combinations of colors. For example, one shade of red might be equal to r255,b0,g0, while another might be equal to r100,b10,g10.

To remove the confusion of RGB values for both foreground and background colors, Window-Eyes 5.0 introduces a revolutionary color dictionary concept that not only indicates colors by names, but also indicates when an unknown color is close to the shade of a known color. For example, instead of reading r255,g0,b0 for the color red, Window-Eyes will now simply say, “red.” Instead of saying, r100,b10,g10, Window-Eyes will now say, “shade of red.”

Like all other Window-Eyes dictionaries, the Window-Eyes Color Dictionary is completely customizable. Colors that have already been defined can be altered, and new colors can be added. For example, the color red could easily be defined as, “my favorite color.” Then, whenever Window-Eyes would encounter the color red, it would announce, “my favorite color.” This can be specific to individual programs and applications.

The power of the Window-Eyes color dictionary becomes evident when you imagine scenarios where Window-Eyes might announce a color as being “shade of my favorite color” or “shade of important information,” such as an email program.


Window-Eyes 5.0 is proud to be the first screen reader to include robust support for the Mozilla web browser, a popular alternative to Internet Explorer.

Enhancements between Window-Eyes 5.0 Window-Eyes 4.5

* Window-Eyes 5.0 now fully supports Windows 2003 SP1 (beta)

* The following set files have been updated: MSN Messenger, Microsoft Office 2000, Microsoft Office XP, Microsoft Office 2003, Outlook Express, and the Window-Eyes defaults.

* The default and laptop layouts have been enhanced. Both layouts include CTRL-SHIFT-A for the MSAA toggle, and the laptop layout has been completely redesigned to rely less on the numpad, providing a more comprehensive keyboarding experience.

* Window-Eyes now defaults to the following settings:
* CTRL-ALT-ARROW keys to modify Voice Up/Voice Down/Voice Selection/Voice Parameter
* Split Mixed Case defaults to On
* Menu Shortcuts defaults to After Option
* Non Menu Shortcuts defaults to After Option
* Focus Window Type First defaults to Off
* Color Changes defaults to On

* We have updated the Internet Explorer Element Properties dialog (INS-E by default). The element description is now the first line of the properties list, and the colors now use the Window-Eyes color dictionary.

* All known issues have been resolved in MSN Messenger 7 (beta)

* We fixed several small, and one rather large, memory leaks.

* Pointer identification now has all correct options in set2text and text2set

* Under Windows 2000 (and greater) top and bottom indexes were not spoken when the verbosity setting was on for list views in details view due to a bug in the operating system. We have worked around this problem.

* Window-Eyes now allows Braille displays to access up to 50 different COM ports

* ASCII character 160 reported as dots on Braille display. Window-Eyes now converts this to a space on the Braille display just like we do for speech.

* We cleaned up field names in many Word dialog controls.

* Various issues in Microsoft Word dialogs have been resolved.

* MSAA provides the check box state for some MSAA checkboxes associated with list boxes and treeviews. Window-Eyes was ignoring these states, but now we pay attention to them. An example of the listbox case can be found in applications that use the Inno Setup installer.

* Multi-selection list boxes now work in Internet Explorer.

* We resolved a problem where Window-Eyes would not read anything for a combo box that was set to a blank entry.

* This version of Window-Eyes contains an updated version of DCM. This version resolves a fatal error when using some dual monitor systems. Although dual monitor systems are not supported at this time, all known conflicts should now be resolved. Please note that this updated version of DCM will not affect any other DCM application; all the companies in the DCM group should currently be using this version. If you have any video problems, please let us know.

* We fixed some reading problems for AOL's next version

* Thanks, once again, to Window-Eyes Error Reporting, we have resolved many reported blowups, further increasing the stability, reliability, and performance of Window-Eyes.

* We resolved a problem where the ASAP virus scanning software would crash when Window-Eyes was set to start before login.

* The DECtalk USB driver has been added.

* Delphi hotkey controls now work.

* We fixed a problem with applications that use system carets.

* ANSI 159 for Polish code page was shown as upper case. This has been resolved.

* We resolved a problem where the Window-Eyes Error Reporting dialog would come up more than once.

* When attribute changes is enabled we now only speak the attribute or attributes which have changed rather than all the attributes regardless of which actually changed.

* We resolved a problem with the Papenmeier Braillex EL 40s Braille display and added default hot keys for it.

* We resolved a problem where Window-Eyes would not slow down the rate of speech or indicate capital letters when spelling (including phonetically spelling). The same was true for the current character hotkey.

* Window-Eyes will now keep screen savers from kicking in during the read to end function.

* The Office 2000, Office XP, and Office 2003 set files now offer context help for the Word spell checker, and have been updated to conform to the new Office support.

* The Window-Eyes Default set files (WEFILES) have been updated with new graphics, and a new color dictionary.

* All set files now use CTRL-ALT-ARROW keys to modify voice parameters on the fly, have Split Mixed Case set to On, Menu Shortcuts set to After Option, Misc. Shortcuts set to After Option, Focus Window Type First set to Off, and Color Changes set to On.

* Window-Eyes now supports Bluetooth technology for those Braille displays which offer it, such as the Brailliant display from PDI.