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Where did the accessibility tools go?

Where did the accessibility tools go?

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Accessibility tools that previously shipped in the Microsoft Accessibility Package (MSAA SDK) now ship along with the Windows SDK. These tools are used to inspect messages used by screen readers to take text from applications and either speak it with text-to-speech or passes it to a Braille device.  One of the older tools is Inspect.  A short description from the documentation is:

Inspect.exe
Inspect Objects Tool.

Allows developers and testers to examine the IAccessible property values of the the user interface (UI) items of an application and to navigate to other objects.

This tool has been referred to before as inspect32 or inspect32.exe.  Another newer tool,  the Accessibile Event Watcher, is described in the documentation as:

AccEvent.exe
Accessible Event Watcher.
Allows developers and testers to validate that the user interface (UI) elements of an application raise proper Active Accessibility events when the UI changes.

You can find the links for the Windows SDK on the Windows Accessibility Page of the Windows Developer Center.  You only need to install the Toolkit components if these features are the only ones you want to download.  The following screenshot shows the Windows SDK with only the Tools selected.

This is a relatively short download.  After you have downloaded the toolkit, you will have the Microsoft SDK 7.1 Tools menu on your Start menu.  The following screenshot shows the contents of this menu.

So there you have it, the accessibility tools aren't gone, they just moved a little bit.

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  • End users love to use deep links which just work, for more than just a second.

    Maybe Microsoft is interested into providing static links and not dynamically changing link texts. Maybe the content provider should know that every browser has the ability save URLs as a bookmark or favorite. Would be good if these UI artifacts could always be used as they were designed.

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