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Guide to Supernova

Supernova is a screen reading and screen magnification product. It can be accessed on-campus on any networked computer.  

Supernova Control Panel

The Supernova control panel will open when the program is first opened. To access the control panel again, use the hot keys Left Ctrl Space Bar. Esc key minimises the Supernova Control Panel.
The panel has three tabs: Visual, Speech and Braille. Click on the tab to view the required feature. Options within Supernova can be activated by clicking the icons on the tabs, selecting options from the menus or by using hot keys.

Visual tab


Turn the Magnifier on and off by using keys Left Ctrl Number Pad Enter or clicking the Magnifier icon. Increase the level of magnification with hot keys Left Ctrl Num Pad + and reduce magnification using hot keys Left Ctrl Num Pad – or click the up/down arrows on the Size button.

There are 4 standard views of magnification:

  • Full Screen
  • Fixed Window – magnifies a small portion of the screen in a static position
  • Magnifying Glass – view the magnified region of the screen in a small moving window
  • Resizing Glass – magnified window will automatically resize itself to the size of the current focus

There are also 4 split screen views where the display is split into two rectangular areas, one of which is magnified and one of which is not. Select any of these views by clicking the down arrow by the Magnifier View button.

Colour Scheme

Turn the Colour Scheme on and off by using Left Ctrl Num Pad 0 or by clicking on Colour Scheme button. Select a colour scheme from the list to apply it immediately.

To create your own colour scheme, select Custom Scheme and then Configure. You can alter brightness, contrast and depth of colour. You can also invert brightness, add tints to the screen and replace specific colours with other colours.

Highlighting and Mouse Pointers

These options enable the cursor, mouse, line or focus to be highlighted using different shapes, colours and size of focus. There are several Highlighting defaults to choose from, or click on Highlighting drop down menu and select Settings to customise your highlighting options. Click on Mouse Pointers to change the size and colour of pointers.

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Speech tab

Getting started

Turn the Voice on by either using keys Left Ctrl 0 or clicking the Voice icon.

The volume and speed of speech can be altered by either clicking the corresponding arrows on the property sheet or by using the following key combinations:

Increase VolumeLeft Ctrl =
Decrease VolumeLeft Ctrl -
Increase SpeedLeft Ctrl Left Shift =
Decrease SpeedLeft Ctrl Left Shift -

To mute speech press Left Ctrl.

Speak Keys

Supernova contains a number of Speak Keys which can be used to read data from the screen at any time. They are normally used to repeat something or obtain more information about the current item, line or object that your focus is on.

Read characterNum Pad 4
Read wordNum Pad 5
Read lineNum Pad 6
Read focusNum Pad 0
Read selected textNum Pad 1
Where Am I?Num Pad 7

Read From Here

Read From Here allows you to read a whole document from start to finish at the press of one key. Press Num Pad + to start or stop.  Enhanced Document read (Left Ctrl Caps Lock 1) opens up magnified text in a scrolling line at the top of the screen.

Voice Preferences

From the icon, you can select which voice and language to use. To set more preferences (such as speed, volume and verbosity levels, and changing the voice you hear for different areas of the screen) go to Speech menu and select Voice Preferences.

Character Echo

Character echo controls how much is spoken when you are typing. Select from Characters, Words, Characters and Words or None.

Text style

This option enables you to alter the punctuation level, text attributes and number announcement for different areas of the screen. For example, in the edit area, you can choose to have blank lines announced.


Use this option to alter the amount of information (verbosity) Supernova uses to describe windows controls.

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There is online help for Supernova. To access this select Help from the menu bar. Context sensitive help is also available when the Supernova Control Panel is open: press F1 to see on-screen information about the selected feature.

Exiting Supernova

To exit Supernova select File and Quit from the menu. Alternatively use key combination Alt F4 or click the X in the top right hand corner of the Control Panel.

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