Parallels Desktop® 7 for Mac

Yes, MegaDots can run on a Macintosh using software such as Parallels (an $80 product). Once you install Parallels, install Windows 7 Home Edition (32 bit, not the 64 bit edition).

Here are some useful links about Desktop® 7 for Mac:

logo for MegaDots

Using Parallels with MegaDots

Make sure you work with 32-bit Windows XP. Do not select 64-bit Windows.

On the Macintosh, go to System Preferences and then Keyboard. Check the option Use all F1, F2, etc. keys as standard function keys. This allows you to use the Function Keys on the Apple keyboard as MegaDots wants/needs them. We recommend using an Apple keyboard that features the numeric keyboard (i.e. do not use a Mac keyboard without a numeric keyboard). The zero on the numeric keyboard functions as the Insert key on the PC keyboard.

Parallels will allows you to run applications within the Virtual PC window. Install MegaDots in the Windows XP window. Answer no to the question about full screen. Close the Parallels XP window before launching MegaDots.

If you are using Windows XP, change the font name and size on the print side. To do that, launch MegaDots and press Alt-spacebar. Then press P and select the font tab. Choose MegaDots window braille as your font.

The idea in enlarging the font is to make the window as big as possible. Be aware that the window can never take up the whole screen. We recommend 24 point for a sighted user, 20 point for a user of JAWS or Window-Eyes. If you are asked, save these parameters for future use of this program.

Be aware that the MegaDots window braille font is designed to work with screen font smoothing turned on. If the font appears to have box-like braille dots without any shadow dots, you have screen font smoothing turned off. On your desktop, right click, choose, Properties, Appearance, click on Effects and make sure the screen font smoothing choice is checked.

To make the display work as well as possible in MegaDots, go to the MegaDots Preferences Menu, Editor. Set Text size to N (Normal), as leaving it at C (Compact) causes problems. In the same form, also make sure that Big cursor is set to No. Do not forget to save your Preferences.

You can share folders and drives between the host Mac and the XP emulation. On the Mac, open the Parallels Desktop. Click on Help, and search for Sharing Folders and Drives. Follow these instructions so that MegaDots can read some of the Mac files. You can also read the text on page 60 in the Parallels Desktop® 7 for Mac: User's Guide.

Some users find that using MegaDots in a window is distracting if there is too much going on outside the MegaDots window. Here is an excellent red background for use with MegaDots in a window right click on the image and select "Set as Background".

In order to import Word files, you do not need to have a copy of Microsoft Word installed in the XP emulation. In order to export to Word files, you do need to install a copy of Microsoft Word in the XP emulation. Why? Because the DBT engine within MegaDots has all the software it needs to read Word files. But when MegaDots exports to Word, it is really exporting to html, and then using your existing copy of Word with Word automation to turn that into a genuine Word file. One approach is to export to html from the XP emulation, and save the html files in the Macintosh computer. From the Macintosh computer, you can import the html files and Save As Word files. This is time consuming, but avoids needing to obtain another copy of Word.

In order to do the work you want to do in the XP emulation, you many need to install other software programs, such as Adobe Reader or any other that helps you get your work done. Or you may need to install several printers for use within the emulation. Remember that from the XP emulation, you can read any part of the Macintosh computer, but the Macintosh computer cannot read anything in the XP emulation.