Tools for Access
Learn about Tools that assist in the access to Alternate Formats.
Here’s a list of many types of software that can be used with alternate formats. Some are free, a few are fairly inexpensive, and some cost quite a bit of money. Talk to your disability services counsellor about your eligibility for grants to pay for assistive software.
There are so many combinations of hardware, software and file formats, with new types of software being developed quickly. Please let us know if you have any questions about what combination might work best for you.
Text to Speech
Software that translates text into speech so that one can listen to a text being read. This type of software often has a choice of artificial voice and speed.
SpokenText.net (free, web based, also Firefox and Chrome extension)
TextAloud ($29.95, PC only)
The following do text to speech, but they also have a lot of extra functionality including bookmarking, notes, etc. They are mostly used by students with learning disabilities.
Read & Write GOLD ($600, PC and Mac)
Kurzweil 3000 ($1395, PC, Mac, iPad)
Software that attempts to identify and interpret what is being displayed on the screen. Screen readers are mostly used by blind and visually impaired people. Here is a list of screen readers on Wikipedia.
NVDA (NonVisual Desktop Access) (free, Windows)
Thunder (free, Windows)
There are many types of commercial screen reader software available. JAWS ($1095, PC) is the most common.
DAISY books can be listened to on specialized devices, like on a Victor Stream. However they can also be used on a computer or an iPhone/iPad. The DAISY consortium maintains a list of all the software that can be used with the DAISY format.
AMIS (free, PC)
DaisyWorm app ($0.99, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch)
Read2Go app ($19.99, iPhone, iPad)
Accessibility Verification Resources
These are some tools that are useful in seeing how accessible a website is.
OCR (Optical Character Recognition)
Free OCR (online tool)
Free OCR (local application)
Most common software used by sight impaired ATBC students for reading CILS materials.
ZoomText – magnifies print on computer’s screen and has text-to-speech for reading documents.
JAWS for Windows – Screen-reading software that reads documents.
Kurzweil 1000 – OCR/reading software converts printed text and uses text to speech to read documents. Convert image-based PDF to text. Generates MP3/WAV audio files from text. Reads DAISY and ePub files.
OpenBook - OCR/reading software converts printed text and uses text to speech to read documents. Convert image-based PDF to text. Generates MP3/WAV audio files from text.
Most common software used by sighted print impaired ATBC students (LD etc.) for reading CILS materials.
Kurzweil 3000 - converts printed text and uses text to speech to read documents. Convert image-based PDF to text. Generates MP3/WAV audio files from text.
Read&Write Gold - converts printed text and uses text to speech to read documents. Convert image-based PDF to text. Generates MP3/WAV audio files from text.