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Assistive software

We have a wide range of assistive software available to support your study. Furthermore, productivity tools provide a filterable list of free apps and software which can boost and aid productivity.

Software is available either on assistive Library computers, managed computers via the software center or via IT Services.

Assistive software from home

The University of Warwick offers various assistive software for use in the Library and across University managed computers. In the current climate, more staff and students may require support ‘off campus.’ Please find below further information on alternative solutions.

  • Microsoft and Apple software have many inbuilt accessibility and study support tools such as dictation, screen reading and screen personalisation. Further guidance is available at Microsoft Accessibility and Apple Accessibility
  • In addition to this, AbilityNet provide an online service ‘My Computer My Way’ which guides you to personalise your computer using the inbuilt accessibility options. There is also a bank of further resources including fact sheets and webinars which may be useful
  • For those who use software within the Library and are unable to now access due to remote working or wish to find out more about assistive software options from home, please find the below guidance:

Please note: the below is for staff and students using unmanaged and/or personally owned machines unless otherwise stated.

Mind mapping

Mindjet MindManager is a mind mapping application available to all staff and students at Warwick. The licence covers personally owned machines, therefore may be useful for staff and students who are working remotely.

For further information and details on how to download visit IT Services. 

Reading and writing support

Read&Write Gold can be download from IT Services for use off-campus. This includes temporary home use licences which can be used by staff and students. There are also other free alternatives listed below:

  • If you require grammar support, Grammarly provides spelling and grammar support as you type within Microsoft Office programmes. It is available as a free plugin within Microsoft Office which can be downloaded via the Grammarly website. (Please note - there are further advanced options available for purchase.)
  • Microsoft Office 365 provides reading and writing learning support tools, including text to speech
  • For text to speech functions which you may have accessed via Read&Write Gold or ClaroRead, Balabolka is a free text to speech download. Further information, terms and conditions and download link are available direct from the Balabolka website
  • Hemingway Editor checks the readability of your text. You can copy and paste text into the online web browser, where the app then checks and highlights areas which could be improved, helping improve the clarity of your work. Hemingway Editor is free when accessed via the website and further information can be found on the help page
  • OpenDyslexic is an alternative free downloadable font which alters the design of letters aiming to address contrast, letter confusion or rotation and crowding. You can find out more and download from the OpenDyslexic

Screen reader

NVDA is a free screen reader for those with visual impairments. It can be downloaded for free via the NVDA website.

Note taking

Microsoft OneNote is available via the Office 365 account, which is available to all staff and students. OneNote. OneNote acts as a digital note pad, where you can type, add to do lists, add photos and digital resources. It can help with organisation and you can share your notes with others. For more information on the useful tools within OneNote, visit the Microsoft OneNote support guides. 

For those who have access to Audio NoteTaker via DSA, Occupational Health or have purchased their own licence, Sonocent have provided a new video guide outlining tools to use in an online learning environment.

Magnification and screen personalisation

As an alternative to ZoomText software within the Library, Windows provide built in support such as magnification, adjust text size, alter colour contrast and enlarged pointers and cursors. Further guidance is available via the Microsoft website.

To simply tint the screen and apply a colour overlay, ColorVeil is available as a free download.

Rest break software

WorkRave is a free download which supports recovery and prevention from repetitive strain injury by alerting you to take frequent break and puts daily limit restrictions in place. Further information and the download link can be found on the WorkRave website. 

 How to access Assistive Software on a Managed Windows Desktop computer

Step 1

Search for the ‘Software Center’ in the start bar.

Step 2

In the Software Center drop down menu labelled ‘Filter’ select ‘Assistive Software’ or type ‘Assistive’ in the search bar.

Alternatively use the search box to find a specific program by name.

Step 3

Double-click the software icon you wish to install.

Step 4

Select ‘Install’. This may take several minutes.

Step 5

To use the software, type the name into the start bar.

Step 6

Double-click the icon to begin using the software.

Microsoft and Apple software have many inbuilt accessibility and study support tools such as dictation, screen reading and screen personalisation. Further guidance is available at Microsoft Accessibility and Apple Accessibility.

Reading and writing software

  • Text to speech functions read aloud digital text
  • Built in literacy tools supporting your study
  • Scanning features to create digital and audio copies
  • Personalise the screen using colour and contrast


  • Upload audio recordings and listen back to create notes at your own pace
  • Use colour highlights to organise and coordinate
  • Link your online notes to your lecture slides

Scanning software

  • Convert printed documents to accessible digital text (such as Word, pdf or EPUB)
  • Create accessible text from locked or inaccessible digital text (such as locked pdfs or text in image files.)
Software Availability User guide links
Kurzweil 1000 Assistive Technology area and Accessible Study Rooms User Guide (PDF Document)
Cicero Assistive Technology area no longer developed

Mind mapping

  • Explore and break down essay titles and projects
  • Outline your work visually and export to Word/PowerPoint
  • Create and organise your notes in a non-linear style
  • Explore subject themes and ideas, building relationships between subtopics and concepts
  • Project planning and time management tool

Dictation / Voice recognition

  • Use your voice to create text
  • Create documents faster than typing
  • Offers an alternative to using a keyboard
  • Alleviates stresses associated with spelling

Screen personalisation

  • Apply personalised coloured screen filters
  • Change colour contrast on screen
  • Alter font appearance and size
Software Availability User guide links
Colorveil All University owned & networked computers and personally owned computers Help guides
AT bar All University computers and personally owned computers, as free download Instructions
OpenDyslexic All University computers and personally owned computers, as free download FAQs

Read&Write Gold and ClaroRead also have screen personalisation features. Please see ‘Reading & Writing Software > Further Guidance’ above for availability and support.

Screen reader/ magnification

  • Software allowing text and computer functions to be read aloud to you
  • Magnification of screen and features such as mouse pointer
  • Change colour contrasts on screen
Software Availability User guide links
ZoomText Assistive Technology area and Accessible Study Rooms

User guide


JAWS Assistive Technology area and Accessible Study Rooms

Training resources


NVDA All University computers and personally owned computers, as free download User guide

Rest break software

  • Supports recovery and prevention of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)
  • Alerts you to take micro pauses and rest breaks
  • Restricts you to your daily computer limit

Please feedback any comments you have about our existing service for students with disabilities or learning differences. We are always interested to hear about equipment, assistive-software or services that may assist you with accessing the Library and its resources.