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David M. Lay

A PC Geek has been serving the Waxahachie area since 2001, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Tip of the Week: 3 Pieces of Screen Reading Software

Tip of the Week: 3 Pieces of Screen Reading Software

Wouldn’t it be convenient if your business could have web pages or applications read out text for you so that you don’t have to? While most would consider this a luxury, these screen reading applications are an everyday occurrence to those who are blind, visually impaired, or have a learning disability. Even if you don’t have anyone in your office who needs screen reading, it can’t hurt to be prepared for a day when you might.

We’re going to discuss some of the more common screen reading software that you might consider for your organization.

Microsoft Narrator
Microsoft Narrator has been on every single form of Windows since 2000. It was initially implemented with the intention of providing those who are blind and visually impaired a solution to take in written content. Narrator can read the dialogue boxes and information in windows to the most basic of degrees. Because of this, it’s not meant to provide a comprehensive in-depth solution. Instead, Microsoft recommends that those who need screen reading download a full-function screen-reader software. For the purposes of installing this application, Microsoft Narrator can help with this process.

Job Access with Speech (JAWS)
JAWS is a powerful tool that is the most commonly used screen reading application in the world. In 2015, JAWS was used frequently by approximately 30.2% of those who used a screen reader, whereas about 43.7% had used it sparingly. JAWS can perform a number of functions, including web browsing, reading text out loud, reading ebooks and other articles, word processing, and communicating through telecommunication apps. JAWS is compatible with every version of Windows since Windows Vista, but if you’re using that operating system, you have bigger problems to deal with than finding a screen reader.

NonVisual Desktop Access (NVDA)
JAWS is a commercial screen reader, whereas NVDA presents a more affordable alternative as a free solution. NVDA can read the text on-screen in a computerized voice or output it to a braille machine for use by the reader. The neat thing about NVDA is that you can either download it on a PC and access it that way or place it on a USB drive for use on any computer. NVDA can help users read their email and messages, as well as their social media accounts. NVDA can also assist users with online functionality, word processing, and other productivity software. Just like JAWS, NVDA is compatible all the way up to Windows 10.

Do you have any other recommended screen reading software titles to share? Let us know in the comments.

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