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Computer Access
an AT Equipment Informative Module

Software for the Blind

Adaptive software options for the blind include:

screen readers that provide alternative sensory imput for computer navigation

scanning and reading software

internet browser readers that read html pages

braille translators

other miscellaneous applications for the blind like talking checkbooks, etc.

Screen Readers


Software, Vendor, Price, Link



Screen Reader 8.01






Hal has been developed for blind computer users, at home, at work and in education.

Hal talks as you type, announcing words or characters so you can check what you write.

A single key allows you to read an entire document, email or web page.
Fast and accurate multilingual Braille output for text at your fingertips*.
(Grade 1 & 2 computer or literary Braille supported).
Access complex websites with ease by choosing to list links, headings or frames.
Read image labels, font styles, Windows menus and icons for easy navigation.

JAWS 10.0

Freedom Scientific

Professional $1,095
Standard $895

A free demonstration coy is available from the website. It will run for 40 minutes and then stop until you reboot.

The most popular screen reader worldwide, JAWS® for Windows® works with your PC to provide access to today’s software applications and the Internet. With its internal software speech synthesizer and the computer’s sound card, information from the screen is read aloud, providing technology to access a wide variety of information, education and job related applications. JAWS also outputs to refreshable braille displays, providing unmatched braille support of any screen reader on the market. Get started with training in DAISY format and a trial version of Freedom Scientific's FSReader DAISY player software.

outSPOKEN 9.0 for Macintosh

Discontinued by manufacturer.

* Compatible with Mac OS 8 and 9
* Optimized to work with many of today's popular applications
* Color support names colored icons and recognizes color as a text attribute
* New Voice and Custom Settings configure outSPOKEN to your personal taste
* Expanded preference/dictionary file support
* Added keypad commands for better reading and navigation
* Talking Installer requires no sighted assistance
* Identifies buttons, check boxes, and other graphical controls
* Improved icon recognition
* Announces icons and other graphics in a distinctive Graphics Voice
* No programming required! ready to use right out of the box
* Intuitive pointer navigation makes it easy to point, click, drag and drop
* Uses Apple's Plain Talk Text-to-Speech software and voices
* Compatible with most standard applications, like Word Processors, World Wide Web browsers, E-Mail programs, Databases, Installers, Spreadsheets, and Accounting Packages.


Thunder RJ

RJ Cooper

Thunder-RJ on
MP3 Player/2 GB USB Drive Stick


(Windows 2000/XP/Vista only)

A portable and simple, but powerful screenreader, that is tailored for blind persons (and LD/early readers) that may be new to using a computer, or need a simpler, less expensive alternative to more costly (and comprehensive) programs available.  Works almost entirely by the standard keyboard navigation controls, the arrow keys!  Also...

Echoes each keystroke and word
Selective reading of screen by character, word, line, or entire page
Selective reading of menus
Reading of dialog boxes and buttons
And more!
All this using, mostly, the arrow keys.

Works in: Microsoft Word, WordPad, Notepad, Desktop, Explorer, My Computer, Outlook and Outlook Express, Excel, and even has its own web browser that breaks up complex web pages into sequential links and lines of text that you can go through with the arrow keys.



When developing VIRGO 4, Baum set a high value on making the presentation and exploration of Windows as comfortable and individual as possible for the visually impaired user. VIRGO 4 makes the user choose the sort of information to be displayed on the braille display and to be given via speech-output. Users with a rest of sight have the choice to work also with the integrated screen magnification "Galileo". The complete integration of braille, speech and screen magnification brings the power of media together to the benefit of the user. Of course, VIRGO 4 can as well be used only with braille-output or only with speech-output or just with screen magnification.


GW Micro




Window-Eyes is a leading software application for the blind and visually impaired, which converts components of the Windows operating system into synthesized speech allowing for complete and total access to Windows based computer systems. Window-Eyes integration into Windows is seamless, providing you with instant access to the operating system without having to learn a complicated set of keystrokes.
Applications that utilize standard Microsoft controls will be spoken automatically with little to no configuration necessary. Other applications may require simple modifications to Window-Eyes whose options are easily accessible via a well organized, speech control panel.

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Scan and Read Software


Software, Vendor, Price, Link





Cicero effectively takes your computer and scanner and turns them into a reading machine for people with a visual impairment. Printed text documents are placed on the scanner and can then be translated into speech, Braille or simply held as a text document which can be adjusted, saved, edited and printed out.

Kurzweill 1000


Kurzweil 1000 is reading software that makes printed or electronic text accessible to people who are blind. It converts a PC and scanner into an advanced version of the revolutionary reading machine invented by Ray Kurzweil in 1976.

Kurzweil 1000 turns text into a variety of life-like voices and does much more. Users can bookmark, make notes, skim or summarize text to aid mastery of concepts and details. They can modify reading speed, pitch, and emphasis to suit specific preferences and purposes. They can edit or create documents assisted by an audible dictionary, thesaurus or prioritized spell checker, and archive them using a simple file management dialog.

Kurzweil 1000 also retrieves information online with features that simplify locating electronic books and magazines, and even encyclopedia articles from the Web. In addition, it takes reading on the road by sharing electronic information with MP3 players, portable note taking devices, Braille printers and conventional e-mail applications.

Open Book 8.0

Freedom Scientific

OpenBook allows you to convert printed documents or graphic based text into an electronic text format using accurate optical character recognition and quality speech. OpenBook's many powerful low vision tools allow you to customize how the document appears on your screen, while other features provide portability. OpenBook provides you with the flexibility to use either of the two leading text to speech software synthesizers: RealSpeak and ViaVoice. RealSpeak features a natural, human-sounding voice that can help enhance your reading experience. ViaVoice provides practical and efficient speech for editing or skimming documents. OpenBook also supports most hardware speech synthesizers.Other new features in OpenBook 7.0 include a fax utility, copy function and online book search.

Scan and Read Pro v 7.0

Scan and Read Lite v 6.0
Scan and Read Pro
Scan and Read Lite $89

Premier Assistive Technology


If you find reading difficult, Scan and Read Pro© will make reading easy and enjoyable. Scan & Read Pro© changes printed text into understandable sound. The program helps you in reading and comprehension by highlighting each word as it's read aloud. Scan & Read Pro's© voice can also be turned off if you prefer to focus on the visual input only.

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Browser Readers

Software, Vendor, Price, Link



Connect Outloud

Freedom Scientific

Connect Outloud is designed for the beginning to experienced blind or low vision computer user to access the Internet through speech and Braille output. This software is based on our popular JAWS® for Windows technology and offers additional access to the Windows XP operating system. Also, Connect Outloud version 2.0 has even more support for the Web, including support for Internet Explorer 5 and 6, and support for Adobe® Acrobat® Reader 5.0.
General features of Connect Outloud allow users to surf the Web, send and receive email and create documents in the easy to use Freedom Scientific word processor. It has no complicated configurations to learn or difficult menus to navigate. With the Tutor Mode, getting started is a snap. The Eloquence speech synthesizer for seven languages is included. Connect Outloud also supports most popular Braille displays and notetakers.

Home Page Reader 3.0

IBM Accessibility Division

Home Page Reader brings the world of the Internet to blind and low vision users. This innovative product uses the power of voice to guide users in exploring the marvels of the World Wide Web.

Features of IBM® Home Page Reader include: Voice-prompted installation that makes setup quick and easy. Easy-to-use, web-based mail feature. Totally self-voiced Internet access. Handles HTML 4 and JavaScript®. Increased productivity with rapid speech rates and valuable keyboard shortcuts. Enhanced usability with helpful auditory and visual distinctions and highlighting. Access information - instantly and independently.
Speech for selected multimedia applications and plug-ins such as Windows Media Player, RealPlayer, etc. Available in nine languages.


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Braille Translators

Software, Vendor, Price, Link



Duxbury Braille Translator
(DBT 10.6)

Duxbury Systems

Duxbury Braille Translator (DBT)

DBT is simple to use--beginners learn in just minutes. Yet its depth, power and accuracy are such that it is used by most of the major braille production centers throughout the world. The current version (10;2 or later) provides the following at no extra charge:

Built-in interline printing (see sample above) to have ink-braille and print together. This makes an easy proofing and teaching tool. Great for the braille-impaired too!
American Math/Science Code (Nemeth) translation
Intermediate levels (between grade 1 and 2) for American braille
The ability to include tactile graphics files for mixed text-and-graphic documents
Separate versions for Windows, DOS and Mac.
Identical file formats for each version of DBT. That means a file prepared on any platform can be used on any other!
Imports from popular word processors including Microsoft Word and WordPerfect, HTML, ICADD, formatted and plain ASCII, earlier braille editors such as EDGAR and Polkadot, and Duxbury's own historical file formats, and more.
The current (February 2000) translation table menu includes eighteen major languages plus seven variations, including grade 2 support for most jurisdictions where grade 2 is customarily used. Moreover, DBT allows languages other than the principal language to be embedded in the same file and treated as appropriate for the context. (Contact us if you have questions about a specific language.) Now braille for foreign-language texts and language teaching texts is a snap.
Bidirectional (print-to-braille and braille-to-print) translation
American Computer Braille Code (CBC) translation
American textbook layout according to Braille Authority of North America (BANA) standards, and likewise the Braille Authority of the United Kingdom (BAUK) customs for the same purpose
Accurate presentation of both print or braille in either WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) or coded (how-you-get-what-you-want) views in the word-processing screen, with easy switching between views
A "translated line" showing the "other" form in either print or braille files
Six-key chording for braille and print entry, not timing-based, compatible with most keyboards
Help screens throughout the program
Documentation in print, braille & electronic formats
Over 100 formatting & translation codes for a high level of flexibility
A library of user-configurable styles
A user-extendable template library for even more flexibility
A spell-checker with 300,000-word dictionary
A "Quick Find Misspelling" feature for increased speed and ease of use
Embossing to all major braille printers; the first page may be a "banner" for job identification by personnel who don't read braille
The Duxbury Braille Font for viewing braille dots within other programs
Choice of single-user, site & other licenses
The ability to process files as large as the operating system allows
The ability to have multiple files open simultaneously
Unlimited technical support by telephone, e-mail, fax, etc.
An Internet user forum to communicate with other Duxbury users
All backed by a 90-day satisfaction guarantee!

MegaDots 2.3

Duxbury Systems

New version 2.2 MegaDots is shipped on CD-ROM for easy installation. All the documentation is available from a simple menu on your browser.
MegaDots 2.2 runs under all Windows versions: 3.1x, 95, 98, ME, 2000, NT, XP. MegaDots includes instructions on installing an icon for Windows.
MegaDots 2.2 includes improved script files for JAWS for Windows
MegaDots 2.2 includes improved ability to import publisher (SGML) files
Since MegaDots recognizes many file formats, you can bring in virtually any document and set it up for braille. MegaDots supports all commercial braille embossers and all modern inkprint printers.
Whenever you want to see how the braille looks, press the Translate key. Suddenly you're looking at the same words, but in braille! You can jump around, edit or enter more braille. Braille entry can be done using a six-key technique, or as "Inkprint in braille", where the words you type become braille as you type them. When you are done in braille, press the Translate key once more and you return to print.
Users of voice and refreshable braille displays will appreciate interacting with software tailored for blind access. Screens are simple and free of clutter, and you don't have to fuss around to know where you are in the software. When you move into a new area, the name of the screen is spoken, such as "Editor", "Main menu" or "Save file help".
For large print users, MegaDots supports popular screen enlargement programs, as well as a built-in large text mode. You'll never have to scroll around looking for text or information that's off the screen. All you need to see is right there in front of you.
For sighted users, MegaDots has a familiar look and feel. Pull-down menus, point and click mouse interaction and colorful screens make working fun. The braille itself can be viewed in a variety of forms, depending on what is most readable for you.
MegaDots gives you the features you expect from a modern word processor, such as macros, bookmarks, and find and replace.

Win Dots    

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Miscellaneous Applications

Software, Vendor, Price, Link




Premier Assistive Technology

E-Library – Volume 1, a robust compilation of literary works from authors covering a broad spectrum of seminal and classical subjects spanning 1000’s of years from ancient to modern times.

PDF Magic Pro 3.0

Premier Assistive Technology

PDF Magic Pro is a utility designed to convert normally “inaccessible” PDF Files into one of 11 different accessible formats. It can even support 155 languages.PDF Magic Pro utilizes Premier Assistive’s new “Exact Match” technology which will retain the format of the original PDF File document in the newly converted file. It supports color graphics, tables and even forms. For example, you can take any U.S. Government form in PDF Format and quickly and easily convert it to MS Word where you can then fill it out

Predictor Pro

Premier Assistive Technology

Predictor Pro is a word prediction technology that can assist you with your writing and typing. Here’s how it works. As you type, it can "predict" which word you want. The more you use it, the better it works, due to our "Auto Learn" features. Predictor Pro predicts the word by both "frequency of use" and "how recently the word was used", as well as the content of the sentence. Generally, within the first 3 characters, it will have predicted a list of potential words you may wish to use. Once a candidate word list is displayed, you simply select the correct word, press a hotkey and it automatically completes the word or phrase directly in the document you are creating.
To use it, just start typing and it starts predicting. If you don’t want to wait to have it learn from what you are currently typing, you can import existing documents and Predictor Pro will learn from what you have already written. That’s right, just import an existing document and it will learn from what you have already done.
Premier CD/DVD Creator
Premier Assistive Technology

CD burning software that is designed to work with a screen redder

While Premier CD/DVD creator appears to be like many other CD burning software, if you use screen reading software, you will be able to really HEAR the difference immediately!!. This is the first CD/DVD burning software that is designed to work with a screen reader and is now the most Section 508-compliant CD burning software in the market.

For many visually impaired users, while individual “screens” may be accessible, once you select a button or other function, the user often loses tracking of the progress or status of a task because the screen reader cannot tell them what is happening. Premier CD Creator takes care of all of that. With the new Premier Assistive CD/DVD burning software, you always know what it is doing as it is doing it. No more guess work. The best part is there is nothing special you need to do to get it to work with your screen reader! If you have a screen reader running, the Premier CD/DVD software will automatically detect it, and send information through your screen reader.

Scan And View© 5.0

Premier Assistive Technology

If you are like a lot of CCTV ("Closed Circuit TV") users, you often find yourself where your CCTV is not. This product solves that problem by turning a standard scanner into a CCTV. When loaded on a laptop with a portable scanner attached, you will never be without a CCTV.

With the push of a button, Scan and View© will grab an image from your scanner and display it on your screen in 24 million vibrant colors. Once displayed on your screen, you can use the mouse or arrow keys to move around the image. The large icons make it very easy to navigate through the program.
Scan and View© will do a few things standard CCTV's cannot do. It can rotate images 360 degrees, open and save images to your computer, and automatically straighten the images it scanned in.

Talking Calculator


Premier Assistive Technology

This full functioning "talking calculator" can be used with or without a screen reader. Every button and edit area talks. It is easy to use with large keys and contrasting colors. It has three display areas, so when the user adds a series of numbers, the total is always displayed, even as you are entering a new number, while always displaying any numbers in memory.

Talking Checkbook

Premier Assistive Technology

Full reconciliation feature
Sort records by any field
Categorize your transaction by type
Manage unlimited number of Accounts
Bookkeeping made easy. We did away with confusing terms like “debit” and “credit” and replaced them with “deposit” and “withdraw”.
Print Checks from your printer. The TCB will print standard QuickBooks style checks on either an inkjet or laser printer.
Backup and Restore Data
Multiple currencies: Supports U.S. Dollars, British Pounds and the European Euro
Search for a check
Check signing template. The TCB comes with a template that you can lay over your printed check so you can sign them.
JAWS and Window Eyes Compatible Versions. TCB has built-in extensions for both Window Eyes and Jaws Making this checkbook very accessible, without the need for scripts and SET files.
Accessible Reports: All reports can be saved as MS WORD documents or your transactions can be exported to EXCEL or LOTUS spreadsheets.
Press a single hot key to hear the balance of any account.
Built-in Accessible Calendar
Built-in Talking Calculator

Text to Audio

Premier Assistive Technology

Text-To-Audio is an industry leader in converting electronic documents to audio files. AT&T’s Natural Voices™ combined with our new Clear Audio technology provide the highest fidelity digital speech audio. Text-To-Audio can even be used to turn E-books to “audio books”. With Text-to-Audio, you are no longer tied to you PC once you create the audio files. The convenience of Text-to-Audio means that you can now fit reading back into your schedule, by turning that reading into portable compact audio files that you can listen to while doing other activities like traveling or exercising.


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