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Microsoft's PowerToys adds a tool to help people with visual impairments

Microsoft Powertoys
Microsoft Powertoys (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • PowerToys version 0.55.0 adds three new utilities to the application.
  • The update brings support for a mouse utility that makes it easier to find your cursor on a screen.
  • The latest version of PowerToys also includes two new File Explorer add-ons.

Microsoft's PowerToys recently received an update that brings the app to version 0.55.0. The update adds support for two File Explorer add-ons and adds a new mouse utility that helps people with visual impairments find their cursor.

The Mouse Utility was co-developed with the accessibility team at Microsoft. The company compared finding a cursor on a screen to "trying to find your cursor by looking through a straw" when speaking of those with visual impairments.

Here's everything that's new in PowerToys v0.55.0:

  • File Explorer add-on: Developer files for preview pane. This should add about 150 file extensions total. We are using the Monaco Editor to power this experience. Thanks @aaron-junker!
  • File Explorer add-on: STL file format thumbnail generation! Since STL is a common 3D file format, this allows a quick visual check. Thanks @pedrolamas! Preview pane support is already in Windows.
  • Mouse Utility: Crosshair over pointer via Ctrl+Alt+P. This feature was co-developed with the accessibility team at Microsoft. When the team told us about the idea and described trying to find your cursor by looking through a straw, we knew we could leverage code from the other mouse utilities to quickly enable this feature.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

"This will change my life and allow me to use any PC without constantly losing the pointer," said Joanna A., a tester of the feature. "This is huge! I will be able to work at my normal speed again. It is a total game changer for people with visual field impairments!"

You can pick up version 0.55.0 of PowerToys through GitHub.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).