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Q: My Mother has macular degeneration and I like to show her e-mails from family to read. I use Microsoft Outlook as my e-mail program, and I can't figure out a way to increase the size of the font on an e-mail that I have received. On my old iMac, with Outlook Express, it was very easy to do, and she could read the e-mails with little difficulty. Do you know a way around this problem (other than asking the senders to increase the font before sending)?


A: There are ways to enlarge e-mail text both onscreen and as printouts. First, on the screen because it seems more efficient. There is a tool called the Magnifier that is built into Windows XP for exactly these problems. When you activate this feature, a box appears at the top of the screen with stark, large black letters on a white background. The display shows the text wherever the mouse is located, and it is very easy to just move the mouse slowly down the page while reading the e-mail text in the magnification area.

Click on Start and then Programs and then Accessibility. There you will find the Magnifier icon. Click it and you can set it to enlarge letters by several factors. You can also set it to magnify whatever is being typed in the keyboard to let her answer those notes that she can read in the magnifier window.

You can get Outlook to send a version of e-mail messages to the printer with larger type by using the View/Text Size commands. Click View, and in Text size choose Largest. When you print a message set to Largest, the type is much larger but still probably not optimal for folks with serious vision issues.

Restoring laptop settings

Q: How do we restore settings on our HP laptop (Windows XP) to gain access to secure Web sites? It used to be able to do so until recently. We use Comcast Internet access and we have one other computer (a desktop) that we are able to use to access secure Web sites, but not the laptop. What can we do, and what should we check for?


A: Microsoft uses complex software routines called secure socket layers to shield data from snoopers when it is sent back and forth to sensitive sites like online stores and banks, as well as places that collect personal information. Whatever happened to disable this feature on your machine is just a couple of clicks away from a fix, Ms. C.

Click on Tools in the Microsoft Internet Explorer Web browser and scroll down to Internet Options. In that display, look for a tab called Advanced. This allows one to switch on and off a great number of features in the browser, including the SSL routines that are disconnected on your machine.

These settings are among many listed under the heading of Security at the end of the Advanced features control list. Put a check in SSL 2.0 and SSL 3.0.

Contact Jim Coates via e-mail at

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