Adjusting Your Browser to Suit YOU
By Rochelle Caviness - Updated: December 6, 2005
No matter what browser you use to surf the Internet; Internet Explorer, Firefox, Netscape, or any of the other browsers out there, most likely you can adjust it so that it will better suit your visual needs. Adjusting your browser to suit your needs will make your web surfing more pleasant and more productive.
Browsers come with certain default settings. These settings vary somewhat from brand to brand, but these settings are generally fairly similar across all the brands. In the realm of viewing, this often means that your browsers will have a white background, with black text. The font used is usually Courier or Times New Roman, and the font size is generally about 12 point. While many people find these settings acceptable, many others, especially those with vision impairments do not. If you fall into the latter category, never fear. With a little experimentation and a few easy clicks and you can adjust your browser to display a background color and font size and color that best meets your needs.
Instructions on how to adjust your browser's settings
Each browser and, often, each version of each browser, has specific instructions on how to adjust the browsers setting. Rather than attempting to paraphrase these instructions, I have elected to compile a list of links that will take you to each company's instructions page. I'm aware that this is not a comprehensive list. If you notice that I've missed your favorite browser, please drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will update this list. Thanks for your help.
IE4 Font Size Quick Tip: To increase font size in IE4, click on View, then Internet Options, then Font Button, then Size Menu, and then use the pull down menu to make selection, then click OK.
IE5 & IE 6 Font Size Quick Tip: To increase font size in IE5 and IE6, click on View, then Text Size, then click on the desired size. The sizes range from smallest to largest, with largest being equivalent to about a 16 point font size.
Netscape Communicator 4.x Quick Tip: In Netscape Communicator 4.x, you can temporarily increase your browser's font size by pressing control and the ] sign. The more you press this short cut, the larger the font. To make the font smaller, press control and [.
You can also increase and decrease the font size by clicking View in the menu bar, and then increase or decrease font.
Netscape 7.X Quick Tip, Netscape 7.X, you can quickly increase the browsers font size by pressing the control key in conjunction with the plus + key. You can decrease the size by pressing the CTRL key and the minus key. You can also increase the font size by clicking View, Text Zoom, then the desired size. Or you can permanently set the font size by clicking Edit, Preferences, Appearances, Fonts, then set your browser to the desired font style and size.
Adjusting Windows, MACs and Other OS (Operating Systems)
Most computer operating systems allow you to adjust your computer to meet your own needs. Some have accessibility wizards that can walk you through some standard changes, such as switching to a high contrast scheme. Others may require that you follow a series of steps to institute a change. However, once you have set your operating system to meet your needs, you may find that this also helps you adjust your browser to your unique requirements.
For example, Netscape 4.x- 7.x, allows you to use your Windows color settings, as the browser's default color setting.
To do this with Netscape, go to Edit - Preference - Appearance - Colors. Simply check the box that says, "Use Window Colors" and the box that says "Always Use My Colors" and then click OK.
To set IE5 and above to use your Window Default colors, click Tools in the main toolbar, then Internet Options, then the Accessability button in the lower right-hand corner of the screen, and then click on the box that reads 'Ignore Colors Specified on Webpages'. You can also use this window to assign your own style sheet for use on the webpages, as well as telling the browser to use your default Windows font sizes and styles.
Your computer's help files should have detailed information on how to adjust your OS's to meet your needs. You can also find information online for a variety of OS at:
"But wait," you say. "I've made the adjustments, but some pages still have text that is too small or icky colors. What's up?"
Unfortunately, some web designers write the code on their pages so that you cannot change their predetermined settings. In such a case you may need to use a zoom text or magnifying program to make the text larger.
Personally, I think that this is simply a lack of foresight on their part. Some people just never imagine that someone else might want, or need, to change the designer's webpage settings. As more webpage designers become aware of the importance of making their webpages accessible to everyone, hopefully this will cease to be a problem.
Here at Large Print Reviews, we have designed our pages with very little, if any, prefixed settings. If you adjust your browser to make the text bigger, or to change the colors, the web pages should adjust accordingly. If not, let us know by sending an email to our webmaster at email@example.com, and we will try to determine if we have made a mistake in our design. If so, we will attempt to correct it as quickly as possible. Thank you for your help.