Need more control over cursor-pointer

By fw2004
Dec 23, 2012
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  1. Hi;
    I am trying to improve the Win XP environment for my elderly dad. He has trouble in MS Office 2000 grabbing the resizing pointer for tables. I have lowered the mouse speed, hoping that can help, but what I am thinking is that he needs a better mouse.
    That said; is there any way to enlarge the "focus area" for the mouse pointers in MS Office 2000, or in Windows XP generally?


  2. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    One thing you can very easily (and reversibly) experiment with is changing the resolution of the entire screen. A screen size of 1024 x 769 pixels might help. It is also usually just a question of right-click on the desktop, select properties, then the tab 'settings' has a screen-resolution pull-bar taking you from 800x 600 up to the maximum the video card can handle.

    Somewhere in that range should prove a good compromise for aged eyes and shaky hands. Obviously it is a compromise between what area you see all in one screen and how big it looks (and hence the size of capture areas for the mouse).

    I sincerely hope you are not talking about a portable here - I cannot imaging anything worse to work with when you are 'getting on a bit' !! A small desktop PC with a big monitor is the best answer.

    On the question of mice, I am not aware of any mice being 'better' than others, and you have already taken one step (speed) that might help. I would add the great importance of the 'right' screen pointer. It is possible to download many different pointers, such as mice with tails, ghosts, you name it. All are equally stupid when what your Dad needs is a big, sharp, arrow-head, where there is no ambiguity whatever about which part of the screen pointer is the active bit. XP has a set of possible pointers, of which I use the one labelled 'Windows Standard (large) (system screen)". I am not sure if that is normally available in all XP versions, but I am certain it will be a free download if you need to look for it.
  3. fw2004

    fw2004 TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 152

    Thanks much!
    I have changed the pointer to one of the larger ones, with a black outline. That seems to help. I believe the monitor is already set to 1024 X 768. A larger monitor with a digital interface would be nice, but to do that I would need to replace the entire system, as his does not have a DVI output; only analog.
    My dad has asked me several times whether upgrading to a later version of MS Word would help, but having Office 2010 installed on my own system, I dread having to teach my dad how to go from 2000 to 2010. And I don't think that the upgrade would solve his problem.

    There are a number of "laser" mice on the market. I am lead to believe that these mice have a higher resolution, and thus would allow for more precision in positioning the cursor. That said, higher resolution means that you have to move the mouse a greater distance to cross the screen, and that would be pretty much the same effect as lowering the mouse speed. My dad didn't like the slower speed, so I had to return it to where it had been, which is only two tics from the lowest setting anyway.
    But with a higher precision mouse, AND the right software driver, one should be able to move the mouse quickly across the screen while at the same time have more control over the exact cursor position.
    I use an Evoluent vertical mouse, which I have come to love. It is a high precision mouse which allows the hand to rest in a more natural position on the mouse. But this mouse cost me $70, and I don't think my dad wants to spend that much on a mouse.

    Another thing that came up was that the mouse pad was very dirty. I found that placing the mouse directly on the desktop improved the response. After washing the mouse pad thoroughly, it seems to be working better.

    I'll keep working on this as I come up with new ideas, and maybe, eventually, we will have an optimal setup.

  4. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    On the video front, there are still largish monitors readily available with more than DVI interface, such as AOC i2342Vh which is 23" widescreen 1920 x 1080 with VGA, DVI and HDMI and retails from UK Argos at £130 (dont know your locality, but that is really cheap). Then there are also video cards, which can be extremely cheap although here the interface with the motherboard is likely to be a low of AGP, or PCI or PCI express. AGP is in very limited supply, I suspect.

    As a last point, no, whatever else you may consider, don't upgrade Office. Ultimately, you will start needing to read DOCX documents, which word 2000 will choke on, but at that point, a conversion to Open Office, or Libre Office would be painless, not least because it is free. Also an entirely familiar interface.

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