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The Portable Accessibility Toolkit


The following instructions are intended for use with the Windows Vista/7/8 Access Tools menu.

Running the Access Tools Menu

The Access Tools menu may be run from a USB flash drive or from a folder on your computer. We recommend dedicating a USB flash drive to Access Tools.

From a USB Flash Drive

Connect the USB flash drive to your computer. An auto-run dialog will appear.

From a Folder on Your Computer

The following screenshot shows how your folder should be organised with the first column containing the six items, of which three will be folders followed by the AccessTools application file and autorun.

---------------------------------------------screenshot of the 'Access Tools' folder

Customising your Menu

The menu can be customised in many ways to improve readability and usability.

Changing Appearance

Select the Settings menu (press the Alt key to reach menu bar) from the top of the Access Tools menu. The following options are available:

Changing the Icon

Launching an Application

There are many ways of launching an application. Use any one from this list:

Note: On Windows 8, security permissions may prevent some applicaitons from running. A dialogue such as the following will be shown: Windows 8 Security Message 1 
Select 'More Info', to access the option to run the program anyway, and a new screen will be shown: Windows 8 Security Message 2 
Select 'Run Anyway' to launch the program.

Editing an Application Description

Getting Help

Adding New Applications to the Flash Drive

New applications may be added to the flash drive provided they require no installation. In the future, we will be providing a download service that installs applications directly to the menu, thus reducing this process to a few simple steps.

  1. Download a portable application from the Internet.
  2. Open the Access Tools flash drive and locate the Categories folder. Open the most appropriate category folder for your new application.
  3. Unzip/extract/install the application to this folder. For example, place a new Accessibility Tool in the \Categories\Accessibility Tools folder.

The following example illustrates how Mozilla Firefox Portable Edition may be added to the Access Tools flash drive.

  1. Download the installer for the portable version of Firefox
  2. Connect your Access Tools USB Flash Drive.
  3. Locate the downloaded file, and run it.
  4. Windows may show a Security Warning about running this software. If this happens, select Run.
  5. The Installation Wizard will appear. Select "Next", Accept the License Agreement and proceed to Choose Install Location.
  6. Select the "Browse..." button for the Destination Folder.
  7. Locate the Access Tools flash drive.
  8. Select the "Categories" subfolder on the flash drive. This reveals three subfolders: Accessibility Guides, Accessibility Tools, and Applications.
  9. Firefox is an Application, so select the "Applications" folder.
  10. Select the OK button to confirm your choice.
  11. The Destination Folder should now contain the directory you choice, followed by FirefoxPortable. For example, "F:\Categories\Applications\FirefoxPortable". If the name of the application (FirefoxPortable in this case) has not been appended automatically, add it yourself.
  12. Select “Install” to begin the installation.

screenshot of 'Installation Tools' window

  1. When the program has finished installing, locate this folder and find the executable file for the application. Ensure the folder has the same name as the executable - if not; rename the folder. This is required for correct operation of the menu.
  2. Launch the Access Tools menu in the normal way. The new application should now be shown.

Removing Applications from the Flash Drive

  1. Locate the application folder on the Access Tools flash drive.
  2. Delete the folder.
  3. If you now try to launch the deleted application, Access Tools will remove it from your menu.
  4. To temporarily hide an application from the menu without deleting it, right-click the application on the menu and select "Hide Application". The application will be hidden until you close and re-launch Access Tools.