This page describes the new features and improvements available in MAGic 12.

MAGic 12 Features

MAGic 12 offers several new features and improvements as described on this page. To learn more, read the entire What's New, or, if you are a MAGic user, press INSERT+F6 to open a list of headings and then jump directly to a specific item.

All New User Interface

All visual, speech, and tools features are logically grouped within tabs in the MAGic user interface. This new design makes it easier to quickly find and use the enhancements that you want without having to navigate through numerous menus.

MAGic user interface - Visual tab

Features are laid out using split buttons where you click the top half to toggle the feature on or off, and click the lower half to display a list of standard schemes. This eliminates the need to navigate down into multi-layered settings menus. If you want to fine-tune or create new schemes, you can select the Settings option in the list, which displays additional enhancement settings for that feature.

Top half of split button

Bottom half of split button and schemes list

All MAGic menus have been consolidated under the Main menu located in the upper left corner of the user interface.

Main menu button

Finally, the focus indicator has been added to the user interface making it easier to find your place when moving through the user interface. The indicator is represented by four corner brackets that display around the current item that has focus.

Mouse enhancements button with focus indicator

HD Text

Text and images can become blocky and pixelated as screen magnification is increased. MAGic 12 introduces High-Definition text smoothing. It takes advantage of the True Type fonts installed on your computer to provide the clearest and sharpest magnification of text and images on your screen. Text smoothing is on by default.

To change text smoothing settings, choose Display from the Visual menu in the MAGic user interface.

Main menu, Visual menu, Display dialog box

2.5x Magnification Level

MAGic now provides 2.5x magnification, which can be selected using the Magnification Level buttons in the Visual tab of the user interface.

2.5x magnification level

Smoothing Fractional Magnification Levels

HD Text is provided for ALL magnification levels, including the nine previously unsmoothed incremental magnification levels between 1x and 2x magnification, and the new 2.5x incremental magnification level.

HD Mouse Pointer

The Mouse Enhancements feature in MAGic lets you modify the appearance of the mouse pointer so that it is easier to locate in both magnified and unmagnified areas of your screen. With the new High-Definition mouse pointer styles, you can further customize your mouse pointer for improved visual recognition. These changes can help reduce eye fatigue that can be caused when following a low quality mouse pointer on a magnified screen. Mouse pointer improvements include:

  • Four High-Definition mouse pointer styles: standard, Aero, 3D, and bolded pointers
  • Continuous mouse pointer sizing from small to large
  • The size of the mouse pointer is no longer magnified in a one to one proportion when changing magnification levels allowing the mouse to be visible, but not take up the whole screen at high magnification levels

Mouse Enhancements Improvements

In addition to adding HD mouse pointers, the following improvements have been made for the mouse pointer:

  • Continuous non-HD mouse pointer sizing from small to large
  • Open center area of the pointer makes it easier to read information under the mouse. For example, crosshairs no longer meet in the center. This open design makes it easier when selecting items with a mouse.
  • Eight selectable enhancement styles

Speech On Demand

Speech On Demand™ is a new feature that allows you to limit the amount of speaking performed by MAGic as you navigate windows and documents or perform other actions using hot keys. By default, when using Speech On Demand, MAGic only announces actions that are associated with a limited set of hot keys. Also, mouse echo is still available, which allows MAGic to read the text that you point to with the mouse pointer. You can always restore full speech by clicking the top half of the Speech button in the Speech tab.

Speech Level button

Why Use Speech On Demand?

Using speech with MAGic can reduce eye fatigue by helping to focus and find your location on the screen. However, there are times when too much speech can be overwhelming, which is where Speech On Demand can be very helpful. The new Speech button replaces the traditional Full Speech/No Speech toggle, and now toggles between Full Speech and Speech On Demand.

When configured for Speech On Demand, speech associated with things such as switching applications or using ARROW keys to move through a document are silenced. Speech is only triggered when using reading commands or pointing to text with the mouse. This is the speech functionality when you select All Designated Reading Commands in the Speech On Demand Settings dialog box. You can also choose to use mouse echo or typing echo by selecting settings in the same dialog box. Note that you can still toggle these features using Speech tab buttons or keyboard commands.

Mouse Echo and Typing Echo buttons

Designated Reading Commands

The preset designated reading commands include Say Unit commands (such as character, word, or line), Say All, and voice rate adjustment commands; however, you can change the speech commands available in this mode using MAGic's Keyboard Manager.

Preset designated reading commands for Speech On Demand are listed below.

Say All From Location INSERT+DOWN ARROW or
Alternate Say All INSERT+ALT+DOWN ARROW or
Say Character NUM PAD 5
Say Word MAGic Key+ALT or
Say to Cursor INSERT+HOME
Say from Cursor INSERT+PAGE UP
Say Sentence MAGic Key+S
Say Paragraph MAGic Key+P
Say Window Prompt and Text MAGic Key+TAB or
Say Window Title MAGic Key+T or
Say Bottom Line of Window INSERT+PAGE DOWN
Increase Voice Rate Permanently WINDOWS Key+ALT+CTRL+PAGE UP
Increase Voice Rate Temporarily ALT+CTRL+PAGE UP
Decrease Voice Rate Permanently WINDOWS Key+ALT+CTRL+PAGE DOWN
Decrease Voice Rate Temporarily ALT+CTRL+PAGE DOWN

All New Mouse, Cursor, and Color Schemes

New default schemes for mouse, cursor, and color enhancements have been added for MAGic 12. These schemes use intuitive names to indicate colors and style, such as Big Green for the mouse pointer or Little Red Triangle for the cursor. To select a scheme, click the lower half of the Mouse, Cursor, or Color split buttons and select an item from the list. Note that you can also use these new schemes as a starting point for further scheme customization. To quickly do this, click the lower half of an enhancement button and choose Settings. In the dialog box that opens, make changes to the magnified area settings, the unmagnified area settings, or both, and then select the schemes tab to save the modified changes or save as a new scheme.

Application Specific Voice Profiles

For MAGic 12, voice profiles have been modified to make it very easy to select, create, change, and save voice settings for use with MAGic or specific applications. Previously when changing voice profile settings, you had to choose between making a Global Voice Adjustment or an Individual Voice Adjustment, and then decide if the changes would apply as the default setting for all of MAGic or just the current open application. Now when modifying settings, you open one dialog, Voice Adjustments, configure the profile, and save it. Next, using the MAGic Context Menu (MAGic Key+RIGHT MOUSE BUTTON) you can select Voice Profiles and choose any available profile to use as the MAGic default. You can also select the same or a different profile for the current application open on your computer.

Voice Profiles

MAGic ships with several factory voice profiles based on the synthesizers installed on your computer. This makes it easy for you to use these settings as a template for future voice profiles that you create and save for MAGic and other applications. To create a new profile from a factory default profile, choose Voice Adjustment from the Speech menu in the MAGic user interface. Select any of the available factory settings from the Profile Name combo box, make the necessary voice adjustment changes, and save the profile using a name that can easily be identified with the profile.

Note, if you like, you can still use the traditional Voice Profile keystroke (MAGic Key+F11) to select a voice profile as shown below.

Voice Profile dialog box

Vocalizer Direct Synthesizer

MAGic 12.0.4069 or later supports Vocalizer Direct voices from Nuance Communications. These new voices work exclusively with Freedom Scientific products. Vocalizer Direct offers many benefits including improved performance, especially in the areas of latency and speech quality, as well as support for more languages and dialects, including Hungarian, Thai, Irish English, and South African English.

To download these voices, go to the Vocalizer Direct Voices Web page. Each voice can be downloaded as high premium or premium. The high premium voices are large files, but offer the highest quality speech. The premium voices offer very good speech quality and a smaller file size. Both high premium and premium versions of a voice can be installed on the same computer so they can be compared. After installing a voice, a Vocalizer Direct profile is added to the list of MAGic voice profiles.

Enhancements for Multi-Monitor Users

When configuring Windows for multiple monitor operation, it is no longer necessary to place the primary monitor in the leftmost or topmost position. In addition, you now have the option of showing both visual enhancements and the mouse in the unmagnified view when using Overview mode.

Overview mode has been enhanced with PowerPoint presentations in mind. In MAGic 11, visual enhancements, such as mouse, color, and focus, were available in both magnified and unmagnified views. While this remains the default in MAGic 12, you now have the option to turn off enhancements in the unmagnified view. This means that when giving a presentation, you can see the visual enhancements on your laptop's magnified screen while the audience sees an unmodified presentation projected on a screen, wall, or whiteboard. Additionally, the mouse can also be hidden in the unmagnified view, thus eliminating the distraction to the audience as you use the mouse to navigate through the presentation on your magnified screen.

Multi-Monitor Settings

All New Basic Training for MAGic 12

The MAGic 12 basic training has been completely rewritten and recorded in Window 7 using Microsoft Office 2010. It clearly explains how to use the new user interface, and includes over four hours of training, including step-by-step instructions and sample practice documents to help you make the most of your experience using MAGic 12. The training is available in text, audio DAISY format, and individual MP3 files. For more information about these and other DAISY and MP3 training files, visit the MAGic Training Web page.

Automatic Notification of Updates

When MAGic starts, it can now alert you if a software update is available. You then have the option to install it now or later. This is known as Automatic Notification of Updates and is on by default. To turn auto notification on or off, choose File and then Preferences from the Main menu. Next, select or clear the Automatic Notification of Updates check box.

If you decide not to install the update now, you can always manually check for updates using the update feature in the Help menu.

Append to Clipboard and Clipboard Text Viewer

MAGic supports the Append to Clipboard feature. It allows you to copy items to the Windows Clipboard without overwriting current Clipboard contents. Use MAGic Key+WINDOWS Key+C to continue adding items to the Clipboard. When you want to view all text currently in the Clipboard, open the Clipboard Text Viewer by pressing MAGic Key+SPACEBAR, followed by C.

Research It

Research It is a feature that provides quick access to information while also making it easy to return to your primary task. By default, Wiktionary is the primary lookup source. This means that while the cursor is on a word in a document or Web page, you can start Research It and quickly lookup the Wiktionary description for that word. You can always change the primary lookup source at any time using the Options button in the Research It dialog box. When you are finished reading the results, just close the dialog box to return to your earlier task. All that is required to use Research It is an Internet connection.

To open and use Research It,

    1. Press and release INSERT+SPACEBAR followed by R, or click the Research It button in the Tools tab. The Research It dialog box opens with Wiktionary as the default lookup source. (See figure at the end of this procedure.)
    2. Next, type a word or expression of interest in the edit combo box. This text can be a zip code, or city and state, or city and country that can be used with the Weather lookup tool to read a forecast, or a date that is used to view baseball or football schedules and scores, or a word to use with the Wikipedia search query to view its meaning or description.
    3. Select a lookup source from the list, and choose OK. The Results Viewer opens with the results of the lookup.
    4. After viewing these results, press ESC to close the Results Viewer, and return to your original focus point.

ResearchIt dialog box

Skim Reading

The Skim Reading feature lets you quickly browse through long documents by reading the first sentence or first part of each paragraph. You can also create your own rules to search for lines, sentences, or paragraphs containing specific words, phrases, text or background colors, and other formatting elements. By default, MAGic reads the first line of each paragraph, but you can choose to read the first sentence of each paragraph instead or set up your own skim reading rules. To change your skim reading preferences, press CTRL+SHIFT+INSERT+DOWN ARROW. To begin skim reading in a document, click the Skim Read button in the Tools tab, or press CTRL+INSERT+DOWN ARROW.

Skim Read button in Investigate group

Layered Keystrokes

MAGic 12 includes layered keystrokes that offer a fast and convenient way to perform actions such as navigating tables, muting speech, starting Research It, or performing screen captures. These keystrokes eliminate the need to have to hold down several keys at once to perform an action. To perform a layered keystroke, press and release MAGic Key+SPACEBAR or INSERT+SPACEBAR, followed by the appropriate keystroke for that action. For example,

  • To switch between full speech and Speech On Demand, press and release MAGic Key+SPACEBAR, followed by S.
  • To jump to the last cell while in a table on a Web page, press and release MAGic Key+SPACEBAR, followed by T, and then CTRL+END.

For a list of keystrokes, refer to the Layered Keystrokes topic in the MAGic help file.

New beginning with MAGic 12 is the ability to navigate in virtual environments using Navigation Quick Keys. These keys allow you to move easily and quickly around Web pages, Adobe Acrobat PDF files, and HTML help files.

Press the letter assigned to the Navigation Quick Key to move to the next element or SHIFT plus the letter to move to the prior element. The following Navigation Quick Keys are now available.

  • A - Anchor
  • B - Button
  • C - Combo box
  • E - Edit box
  • F - Form control
  • G - Graphic
  • H - Heading
  • L - List
  • P - Paragraph
  • R - Radio button
  • T - Table
  • X - Checkbox

Note: Navigation Quick Keys are off by default. To toggle Navigation Quick Keys on or off, press MAGic Key+Z.

Quick Settings

Quick Settings is a replacement for the former Adjust MAGic Options dialog box, and it has been designed to make it easy to change settings in applications such as Microsoft Word and Internet Explorer. To open Quick Settings, press MAGic Key+O. The Quick Settings window contains a search box, a tree view and configuration pane that display settings, and a help message pane.

Quick Settings window

Multiple Sound Card Support

You can have multiple sound cards connected to your computer. The addition of a second internal sound card, an external USB sound card, or a USB headset are examples of multiple sound cards. As a rule, Windows makes the last sound card added to your system the default sound card. This means that MAGic speech automatically goes to the new audio device, which can be frustrating if you want to use that device for something other than MAGic.

With this release of MAGic, you can now override the Windows default selection, and choose which sound card to use for MAGic speech. If you are editing music, you can let Windows direct your music through a higher-end audio card while MAGic directs its speech output to an inexpensive sound card in your computer.

To select which sound device to use for MAGic speech, open the Sound Cards submenu, which is a new addition to the MAGic Speech menu, and choose a card from the list. If you later remove that card from your computer, MAGic will automatically fall back to the Windows default sound card. If you restore the sound card to the system, MAGic will again send speech to that card instead of the Windows default sound card. For more information, see Sound Cards in the MAGic help file.

ARIA Support

Improvements continue to be made to MAGic and its support of ARIA and industry standard ARIA tool kits.

Enhanced Citrix and Remote Desktop Support

Citrix XenDesktop 4 and later is now supported by MAGic 12. Like the Terminal Services and Citrix XenApp support, MAGic uses advanced technology that minimizes the use of available bandwidth, maximizes speed, and provides the full array of synthesizer configurations.

Certified Display Drivers

DirectX 9.1 display adapters with the WDDM 1.0 driver or later are supported by MAGic 12. DirectX 10 or later is recommended.

Sounds Indicating Forms Mode On or Off

Forms Mode is a MAGic function that lets you type text in edit fields or select combo box values in Web pages and Adobe Acrobat forms. MAGic automatically enters this mode when you use the mouse to click in a form control, or press TAB, SHIFT+TAB, or ARROW Keys to move to a form control.

MAGic 12 uses sounds to indicate when it enters and exits Forms Mode. For example, when you first click or navigate to a control, such as the Name field, you will hear a sound to let you know that you are in Forms Mode. As you move to subsequent controls, such as an Address field, you will not be alerted by a sound. However, when you reach the end of these form fields, for example, a Submit button, you will hear a slightly different sound. This indicates that MAGic has exited Forms Mode.

By default, sounds are on, but can be turned off using the Forms Options in Quick Settings (MAGic Key+O) for Web browsers and Adobe Acrobat.

Navigation Quick Key Delay

Navigation Quick Keys, as described earlier, are available to quickly move among controls in a form. You can set MAGic to use a 0.5 to 5 second delay between you pressing a key, and MAGic activating Forms Mode. For example, when you press E to move from one edit box to the next, a three second delay gives MAGic time to announce the name of the current box, while also giving you time to decide if this is the one that you want. If you press E again within three seconds, MAGic moves to the next edit box. Once you move to the edit box that you want, MAGic will automatically enter Forms Mode after waiting for three seconds. At this point, if you press E again, it is typed in the edit box. Note that you can always press ENTER to immediately activate Forms Mode and skip the delay.

By default, the delay is always off when using Navigation Quick Keys, which means that you must press ENTER to start Forms Mode. However, as described above, you can set the length of the delay so Forms Mode turns on automatically after a given period of time when using Navigation Quick Keys. To do this use the Forms Options in Quick Settings for Web browsers and Adobe Acrobat.

FSReader 2.0

FSReader, the $79 Freedom Scientific software DAISY book reader, is now included free of charge as part of the MAGic 12 installation. Even if you do not have a MAGic 12 license, you can still install and run FSReader directly from the MAGic 12 Demo. In addition to reading all of the DAISY training material provided for free from Freedom Scientific, you can use FSReader to read DAISY books from other sources such as (Some DAISY book providers, such as Learning Ally (RFB&D), require a valid account to access certain DAISY material.)

When installed, the full version of FSReader places a shortcut on your Windows desktop and has its own entry in the Programs menu.

FSReader 2.0 shortcut

MAGic Large Print Keyboard

MAGic 12 continues to provide full support of the MAGic Large Print Keyboard. In addition, the Research It key is now available. Press it to start Research It.

Research It key

Adjusting Reading Rates

MAGic now includes a Speech Rate slider in the Speech tab for quick and easy access. Move the slider to the left or right to adjust how fast or slow MAGic speaks.

Speech Rate slider

Marking and Selecting Text in Word

The Mark Place feature makes it easy to select large blocks of text in a Word document. Just mark a starting point in the document by pressing CTRL+WINDOWS Key+K, read and navigate until you reach the end of the text that you want to select, and then press MAGic Key+SPACEBAR, followed by M. This acts the same way as clicking and dragging a mouse over text. Once selected, feel free to copy, cut, or paste the text anywhere you like.

PowerPoint Support

MAGic includes scripts for full tracking, navigation and speech support while editing slides and presenting slide shows. Also, when using Multi-Monitor Overview mode, you can hide visual enhancements and the mouse pointer on the unmagnified monitor. This way you can navigate the presentation on your magnified screen while your audience sees the presentation on a second display without the added distraction from the visual enhancements or the mouse moving on the screen.

Thunderbird Support

MAGic 12 includes full support for the Mozilla® Thunderbird® e-mail application. It offers users an alternative to Windows Live Mail.

Firefox Support

MAGic 12 supports Mozilla® Firefox® 13 or later.

UTF-8 File Support

MAGic script files now support UTF-8 format. In Script Manager, the File menu has the new UTF-8 Format command. When you open a UTF-8 encoded script file (JSS), the command has a check mark. If you open an ANSI encoded script file, the command does not have a check mark.

You can save an ANSI encoded file as UTF-8 by simply selecting, or checking, the UTF-8 Format command in the File menu. Likewise, to save a UTF-8 formatted file as ANSI, clear, or uncheck, the command. Note that the script’s header and message files (JSH and JSM) can be in a different format. This means that a UTF-8 script file can include ANSI header and message files or vice versa.

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Download MAGic 12

The following briefly describes how to download and install the latest MAGic release.

  1. Select the appropriate MAGic download link that appears at the end of this procedure.
  2. When the dialog box opens, choose Save and select a location where you can easily find the downloaded executable file.
  3. Run the executable file and follow the talking installer.

Note: If your corporate firewall prevents you from downloading files using FTP (File Transfer Protocol), use the HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) links instead.

Note: The MAGic 12 USB thumb drive download will be available later this year.

Check for Updates

To check for updates after installing MAGic, do the following:

  1. Open the MAGic application window.
  2. From the Main menu button, choose Help.
  3. Select Check for Updates. The update feature determines if you have the most current release. If you do not, select one or more items from the list and then select INSTALL to begin the update. All enhancements since the initial public beta release are included in the update.

MAGic Large Print Keyboard Driver

The MAGic Large Print Keyboard driver is available on a disk that ships with the keyboard. It must be installed to provide full MAGic functionality when using the keyboard. If you need the driver, visit the MAGic downloads Web page.

Demo Software

To try a free demo version, select the appropriate link from the above Download MAGic 12 section and run MAGic in 40-minute demo mode.

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Dusty Voorhees, MAGic Product Manager, Discusses What's New in MAGic 12

You can download and listen to an interview with Dusty Voorhees, product manager for MAGic, in which he discusses the exciting new features available in MAGic 12. The interview is available in DAISY and MP3 format. If you download the DAISY version, you will need a DAISY reader (such as FSReader) to listen to the interview.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Question: If I download the MAGic 12 release from the Web, should I install MAGic from the DVD when I receive it?

Answer: No. You only need to install the training materials that are on the MAGic program DVD. This information is available in a digital document format known as DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System). To install these files, do the following:

  1. Insert your MAGic program DVD into your disk drive.
  2. When the MAGic Setup dialog box appears, press TAB to move to the Training Materials button, and then press SPACEBAR.
  3. In the MAGic Training Materials dialog box, select the check box next to each DAISY book that you want to install.
  4. Choose the Install button.
  5. When the installation is finished, remember to put your MAGic program DVD in a safe place so you will have it for future use when needed.

Note: If you download MAGic from the Web, the training materials are not included. This is to reduce the size of the download. If you like, you can download and install the MAGic training files from the Freedom Scientific Training Downloads Web page.

Question: If I wait until my DVD arrives to install MAGic 12, should I also download the version that is available on the Web?

Answer: No, but once you have installed MAGic 12 from the DVD, you should check for updates by pressing ALT+H from the MAGic program window, and then pressing P to select Check for Updates.

Question: If I’ve been installing and using the MAGic public beta releases, should I remove the public beta before installing the official MAGic 12 release?

Answer: No. Simply download the MAGic release build from our Web site and install it over the public beta build.

Question: If I remove my existing version of MAGic before installing MAGic 12, should I remove shared components?

Answer: Yes, however, remember that you will not have speech between removing your current MAGic version and installing MAGic 12. If you download MAGic 12 from the Web, copy the executable file to a location that is easy to find without speech and magnification.

Question: If my SMA expires, will I receive a notice?

Answer: Customers in the U.S. will receive notification in the mail shortly after the MAGic 12 DVD arrives. The envelope will contain an SMA Renewal letter explaining the process. The form to renew your SMA is also available for download from the Freedom Scientific Web site using this link, MAGic SMA Renewal Form (PDF).


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