Free and Open Source Screenreaders


NaturalReader

is a Text to Speech software with natural sounding voices. This easy to use software can convert any written text such as MS Word, Webpage, PDF files, and Emails into spoken words. NaturalReader can also convert any written text into audio files such as MP3 or WAV for your CD player or iPod. More about this . . .

NaturalReader - have a look at a flash demo of the software in action

WebAnywhere
WebAnywhere is a web-based screen reader for the web. It requires no special software to be installed on the client machine and, therefore, enables blind people to access the web from any computer they happen to have access to that has a sound card. More about this > . . .

More about WebAnywhere:


What the RNIB said about WebAnywhere (Source: RNIB Blog)

All you need to do is switch a PC on, plug in your headphones, execute a couple of keyboard commands so that you open up the WebAnywhere home page, switch it on and away you go. What sets WebAnywhere apart from other text-to-speech software, free or otherwise, is that it can be used on any website rather than only sites where that software is installed. This is fantastic on so many levels:

  • Enables people who can’t afford costly screen readers to access the web
  • Enables people with slight sight problems who don’t yet use a screen reader but may want audio support to have it
  • You can use it on other PC’s and laptops if you’re traveling or unable to access your own i.e in libraries, schools and colleges
  • Enables people with reading problems to get reading and audio support
  • People browsing in a second language can use it to help understand written text
  • Is an additional tool in the web developers toolbox when testing websites for accessibility


Screen Access For All (SAFA)
An open source initiative to develop a screen reading software for vision impaired persons to read and write in their language of choice. The goal is to have a multi lingual software on multiple platforms. More information . . .

NVDA

A free and open source screen reader for windows which is rapidly developing into a full featured alternative to the expensive commercial programs while offering innovative features. NVDA allows blind and vision impaired people to access and interact with the Windows operating system and many third party applications.

Major highlights of its features include:

  • Ability to run entirely from a USB stick or other portable media without the need for installation
  • Browsing the web with Mozilla Firefox 3
  • Easy to use talking installer
  • Working with email using Mozilla Thunderbird 3
  • Early support for Microsoft Internet Explorer
  • Support for accessible Java applications
  • Early support for Adobe Reader
  • Early support for IBM Lotus Symphony
  • Support for Windows Command Prompt and console applications
  • Automatic announcement of text under the mouse and optional audible indication of the mouse position
AccessApps VI USB application stick is targeted at people with visual impairments and includes the NVDA screen reader and other programs.

NVDA Project page

Firevox

Firevox is a Firefox extension that provides screen reading services for web pages. Its sibling CLiCk, Speak provides reading support.

More pages