Learning method

General points
Files and Folders
The Finder
Apple menu*
Scanning panel
Mouse action
Electronic mail
Keyboard shortcuts
System Preferences*
Making scanning panels I*
Making scanning panels II*

Any application has preferences. You have to determine what parameters you prefer. To open the Preferences window, choose “Preferences” in the application menu (the menu with the name of the application), or type “Command ,” () keyboard shortcut (last key, first column, third row of Keyboard and Mouse bis scanning panel).

As an example, let us examine the SwitchXS preferences, not to do an exhaustive presentation, which already exists, but just to emphasize certain points that I believe to be important. When you open the SwitchXS preferences, a window appears with a popup menu, top left. Once you have clicked that popup menu, a list of sections appears: General, Switches, Scanning, Keyboard, Mouse, Audio and Speech, SmartTransparency


Automatically launch SwitchXS after login : if that case is not ticked, each time you start or restart your computer, you will need someone to launch SwitchXS. You can also choose this option in System Preferences / Accounts / Login Items (see chapter System Preferences).

Remember the position and size of each panel : when you change panel, if that case is not ticked, you risk to find it placed anywhere on the screen next time.

Default panel : choose in that popup menu, the most often used panel, so that when SwitchXS does not know which panel take, it takes the default one.

Automatically load last used panel for each application : you save time ticking that case especially that, if you have plenty of panels, SwitchXS remembers which panel you use for each application.  

Warn before quitting : each time you switch off your computer, if that case is ticked, before SwitchXS quits, you will have a dialogue window asking if you want to go on.

Display button labels : for mouse keys, it lets written on the key what the mouse does. Interesting at the beginning, when you are not used to the pictures. 

Display button labels in bold : makes labels easier to see.  


Features in that section are not for me, as I cannot use more than one switch and cannot keep it down, so I have nothing to say about that section, apart from the popup menu “Select input device” which is on “USB Mouse”. If you choose “Keyboard” only the physical keyboard is active, and you cannot use SwitchXS.,

Auto-stepping : is what I use. It makes scanning pass from line to column, and from column to key, when you switch. 

Auto-selecting : is all the opposite. I do not know more about it.


Scan speed : a great advantage with SwitchXS is that you can increase speed by infinitesimal steps. In the right field, you type your speed, and you increase slowly by steps of 0,05, which difference cannot be felt. Thus, people can reach speeds which would be impossible with larger steps.

Menu scanning speed : is a percentage of scan speed. For example, if you put the cursor at 50, the menu scanning speed will be twice as more slow than scan speed.

Scan speed for first : in such a scanning system, all firsts are difficult to reach : first row, first column of a row, and first key of a column. This is why my scanning panels have dark blue keys that do nothing, at each first. But you can choose to put a little latent pause before each first ; that is what proposes this rule. Personally, I also use that possibility, it lets me have faster scan speed.

Scan cycles : when someone does lots of mistakes, as I do, it is advantageous to have at least two cycles, so that scanning repeats twice ; therefore, if you miss a row, a column or a key, scanning will repeat a second time, avoiding you reloading scanning by a switch.

Automatically restart scanning after each action : ticking that case avoids you reloading scanning by a switch, after having typed a letter, it saves time and energy.


Auto-repeat key, text, and macro buttons : must be ticked if you want that the light blue keys of Keyboard and Mouse bis scanning panel, go on doing their task until you stop it by a switch. For persons who cannot keep the switch down, it is “Repeat after switch is released” that must be ticked.

Key labels : when you type a keyboard shortcut starting by Command or Control, once the modifier key is typed, if those two cases are not ticked, the letters do not appear on your panel.

Auto turn off modifier keys (expect caps lock) : the modifier keys are Shift, Command, Option, Control and Caps Lock. If that case is not ticked on, each time you type a modifier key, you have to type it again to turn it off, after having typed the letter. For example, if you want to type a capital and that this case is not ticked on, you must type Shift, then the letter, and Shift again so that the second letter is not a capital. To write a whole word in capitals, type Caps Lock, and when the word is written, type Caps Lock again, to release the capital letters.


Mouse speed : once again, you can write the speed in the field, at the right of the rule, which is more convenient and precise. Otherwise select the rule cursor with the Tab key (when selected, it is circled in blue), then move the cursor with right or left arrows.

Reverse and slow mouse speed : when the mouse cursor goes too far, you have possibility of making it move backwards slowly and in the same direction, but opposite (last key, first column, second row of Keyboard and Mouse bis scanning panel). Same thing if the mouse cursor stops before arriving at the exact point, you have the possibility of making it move on slowly in the same direction (fourth key, first row of Keyboard and Mouse bis scanning panel). This speed is a percentage of mouse speed.

End with slow mouse : I think you should tick on that case, for it helps to make the mouse cursor arrive at the exact point of the screen. When you make the mouse cursor move in a certain direction, it takes mouse speed, a switch makes it take slow speed, and a second switch makes it stop. 

Delay before mouse movement : if you want the mouse cursor to do a very short distance, it has to be done in slow speed, but first of all, you have to indicate the direction. This is why the mouse cursor has to wait, once the direction is given, the time to switch once (if the case “End with slow mouse” is ticked), so that it moves off in slow speed.

Rotation duration : typing the fifth key, first row of Keyboard and Mouse bis scanning panel, makes a ray turn in clockwise, having as origin the mouse cursor. Switching a first time, makes the ray turn slower (if the case “End with slow mouse” is ticked), switching a second time, makes the ray stop turning and the mouse cursor move along the ray, switching a third time makes cursor move slower in the same direction, switching a fourth time makes cursor stop. On that rule, you determine angular speed. On the rule below, you determine rule’s width.

Audio and Speech

There is also the possibility of making a sound go with scanning (Cue sound), and another sound go with switching. It can help making scanning faster. For persons who do not speak, they have an alarm to call (before last key, third row of Keyboard and Mouse bis scanning panel). All those sounds can be chosen in the three popup menus.

There is also the possibility of having a sound when you click. Weak sighted persons can have a voice saying, as they scan, on which row, column and key the scanning is, but then scanning speed must be extremely slow. 

Smart Transparency 

If you tick the “Smart Transparency” case when you are not scanning, the scanning panel disappears, so you can see the whole screen. This is very convenient, but you must know your scanning panel perfectly. The Smart Transparency settings are not very interesting.