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Software is any machine-readable instruction that directs a computer's processor to perform specific operations.  Types of software include system software, which is designed to directly operate the computer hardware; application software, which is used by the computer system to perform special functions beyond the basic operation of the computer itself; and malicious software, developed to harm and disrupt computers.

General Accessibility Features

  • General accessibility features are assistive technology components built into the Apple and Microsoft operating systems.  The assistive technology features include: magnification, keyboard shortcuts, speech recognition and a variety of other assistive technology.

Text to Speech

  • Text to speech software coverts text to audio. The types of text formats that may be converted and the type of audio output depends on the software used. The most common types of text that may be converted included txt, rft, pdf, doc, and docx.  The most common types of audio output includes mp3, wav, wma, aiff, and au.

Speech to Text

  • Speech to text software, also known as voice recognition software, converts speech to text. Speech to text software makes it easier for anyone to use a computer, but is especially useful for individuals with fine motor impairments, for paraplegics, and for amputees. You talk and control the computer - edit documents and emails, launch applications, open files, control the cursor, etc.

Screen Readers

  • Screen reader software is different from text to speech software. While text to speech software converts text to audio, screen reader software converts everything that is being displayed on the screen - icons, hyperlinks, and image descriptions - to audio. Screen readers are useful for individuals who are blind or have a visual impairment and are often used in conjunction with assistive technology such as screen magnifiers and braille output devices. 

Magnifiers and Reading Tools

  • Magnifiers enlarge portions of the screen, much like using a magnifying glass with print materials.  Reading tools include software that make it easier for individuals to read a computer screen.


  • A variety of software available to provide assistance to students in a postsecondary setting.
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