Microsoft Incorporates Leading Accessibility Features Into Internet Explorer 4.01

REDMOND, Wash., Dec. 2, 1997 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that accessibility features have been added to its award-winning browsing software. Microsoft® Internet Explorer 4.01, released to the Web today, includes a number of advances that make the World Wide Web more accessible to computer users with disabilities. Internet Explorer 4.01 also supports keyboard accessibility features and the Microsoft Active Accessibility (MSAA) compatibility layer, ensuring that Internet Explorer is compatible with third-party accessibility aids such as blind-access utilities.

“Microsoft is committed to providing the most advanced browsing capabilities to the breadth of Web users,” said Yusuf Mehdi, director of marketing in the applications and Internet client group at Microsoft. “Although we had hoped to include these important features with the initial release of Internet Explorer 4.0, we are pleased to now be able to offer a broader set of accessibility features than any other browsing software available today.”

Key Accessibility Features Added

The new accessibility features in Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.01 allow users to customize the appearance and behavior of Web pages to accommodate the needs of users with disabilities, offering the ability to control the display of the colors, font sizes and font styles of all Web pages. Internet Explorer 4.01 also includes extensive keyboard accessibility features for users who have difficulty using a device such as a mouse and support for screen readers to assist vision-impaired users and others who rely on third-party accessibility software. The following specific accessibility features have been added:

  • Full keyboard accessibility. All objects in Web pages on the Active Desktop
    interface can now be accessed using keystrokes instead of a mouse, enabling full access to all parts of the shell directly from the keyboard.

  • HTML Help. HTML Help is now fully usable with the keyboard. In addition, users can now override formatting options, display text instead of images, disable animation and even apply their own style sheet to achieve greater control over how Help is presented. When users adjust these and similar options in Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.01 and then restart Help, the settings will automatically apply to all Help topics viewed.

  • Full-screen view. Users can now remove all toolbars and scroll bars from the screen to make more room for Web pages using the f11 key. This allows for the appearance of more information on the screen at one time as well as the elimination of distracting peripheral controls for users with cognitive disabilities. This is also useful for users who prefer large fonts or want to minimize the need to scroll.

  • Fully displayed image descriptions. When images are turned off, Internet Explorer can display the entire textual description of the image, even if it would normally be cut off to fit the size of the object. This is useful for anyone who prefers text to graphics and allows older versions of blind-access utilities to read the textual description for these images aloud. Newer utilities can use Active Accessibility to identify and read these descriptions even when the graphics are still displayed on the screen.

  • Appropriate placement of system caret. In Internet Explorer 4.01, the system caret can be moved when a flag is set. This allows older screen readers or screen magnifiers to read or magnify the correct information as the user navigates with the keyboard. Newer utilities can get this information using Active Accessibility.

  • Customization of text or link color. alt text picks up the current text or link color, instead of always displaying it in black. This way, users with vision issues can read the description of the image, even if they require specific color combinations.

Version 4.01 Improves Setup and Security

Microsoft also improved product setup and security as well as other top customer concerns with Internet Explorer 4.01. In particular, Internet Explorer 4.01 addresses issues affecting Compaq Presario users and includes the latest security updates to Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0, so that users have only to make one download to have the most up-to-date

software. Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.01 also incorporates product updates that correct installation issues that affect specific hardware and software configurations.


Microsoft is recommending that only those users who need accessibility features or who have experienced installation problems download Internet Explorer 4.01. Microsoft recommends that all users download the security patch. Both downloads can be done from the Internet Explorer home page at .

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft and Active Desktop are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. For information on Microsoft Internet Explorer’s growing use in corporate environments, please visit .

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