Screen readers

Universalis has a special mode with a simplified display that is visible to screen reader software for blind and partially-sighted users.

Universalis normally starts in this special mode automatically when it detects that a screen reader is present and active. If this automatic detection fails, you can still put it into screen reader mode manually. To do this, open the Options menu by pressing the F2 key and then select the last item in the menu, which is called "Format display for screen readers" and has the shortcut key S.

We have tested Universalis with JAWS and with Window-Eyes.


The Universalis display consists of a single window that contains the text of your chosen Hour. This window is a Microsoft Rich Edit control and is readable by screen readers.

A menu bar is attached to this window. It contains four menus: Date, Hour, View and Options, and also a menu item called Exit. You can close Universalis by selecting the Exit item, or by pressing Alt+F4, or simply by hitting the Escape key.

The Date menu

The Date menu (Alt+D) lets you choose which date you want to view. Each item also has a keyboard shortcut.

Yesterday (F6) goes back one day.

Today (F7) goes to today's date.

Tomorrow (F8) goes forward one day.

Go To Date (F5) opens a window that lets you choose any date in the 20th and 21st centuries, using drop-down lists for day, month and year.

On some days, optional memorials are celebrated. The bottom of the Date menu allows you to choose which optional memorial (if any) you want to celebrate on a particular day.

The Hour menu

The Hour menu (Alt+H) lets you choose which hour you want to view. In addition, there are two keyboard shortcuts not listed in the menu:

F12 goes to the next hour in the list.

F11 goes to the previous hour in the list.

The View menu

The View menu (Alt+V) contains settings that are relevant to the particular page you are viewing.

The Options menu

To open the Options menu, press the F2 key or press Alt-O.

Full details of the Options menu, and the commands it contains, are given under the heading "The Menu" on the main Instructions page.