Assistive technology overview

Accessibility features in different devices

My Computer My Way explains how people can make their computers, tablets and smart phones easier to use and is divided into the following sections: vision, hearing, motor and cognitive (learning differences). A wide range of devices is covered. They also have downloadable factsheets and a catalogue of free webinars.

Accessibility features in Office 365

Microsoft’s Accessibility page explains how to use tools such as Immersive Reader, which can read text out loud, change the font size and spacing, change the background colour or mask the screen to only show a few lines at a time. Watch our video on Immersive reader and dictation.

Office Lens lets you capture images of documents, whiteboards etc. on your phone then save them as Word, PowerPoint or PDF files. OCR is built in to make text editable.

Accessibility features in Google

Here is a list of Google’s accessibility features. These include Image to text conversion.

Accessibility features in Mac

See how to use accessibility features in a Mac, including VoiceOver screen reading and Dark Mode to reduce visual distractions.

Accessibility features in Adobe Reader

In Adobe Reader, you can magnify and reflow text as well as hear it read out loud. Another handy feature is Auto Scroll. Switch this on (and off) by pressing CTRL (or CMD in Mac) + Shift + H. Control speed and direction with the number keys, up/down arrows and + and – keys.

Captions and subtitles

Here is a guide to how to turn on captions in YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo and more.

Useful online tools

Try Natural Reader, a freemium text-to-speech reader with good quality voices. Paste in text or upload a PDF or document. See also Rewordify, which can simplify or define complex words to aid understanding.

Useful Chrome extensions

*Please always check that an extension is safe before installing it, as it can access your data.*

Extensions are small programs which let you add features to your Chrome browser. Selection Reader is a simple text reader which will read almost anything online. headingsMap generates an index of a webpage based on its headings, which is good for giving an overview. Copyfish can copy, paste and translate text an image or PDF into editable text. See this Chrome extensions page for a longer list and instructions on installing them.

Useful apps

Seeing AI is a free iOS app which scans and reads text (as well as barcodes, currency etc.) Live Transcribe (Android) converts spoken words into written text and Otter Notes allows 600 minutes of audio recording and transcription a month for free.

RNIB Bookshare

If you are a student with a visual impairment or learning difference you can download alternative formats (such as audio, braille, ePub or PDF) of books held in our Library. Browse the RNIB Bookshare website to see what is available. Contact for more information.

Other useful web pages

The University of Kent has a clear, detailed Productivity Tools webpage.

Contact us

If you have tried the above tools and are still having difficulty accessing a website or resource, please contact us at and we will arrange for it to be converted to a different format.