close menu
navigation menu

Accessibility guide: I find words difficult

Adjust font size:

Adjust colours:

This guide explains ways to change how your computer or web browser operates, to make things easier for people who have difficulty with words.

Make your computer speak text aloud

Windows 7

  • Press the Windows key + U
  • When the ’Ease of Access Center’ has opened, choose ‘Use the computer without a display’
  • Select ‘Turn on Narrator’ and OK your choices

Apple Mac (from OSX 10.4)

  • Open Finder and press the Apple icon in your menu bar at the top
  • Open ‘System Preferences’
  • In the ‘System’ group, click on ‘Universal Access’
  • Turn on VoiceOver by clicking the relevant ‘On’ button
  • You can customise VoiceOver further by clicking the ‘Open VoiceOver Utility’ button

Use Voice Recognition

If you are a slow typist, or have difficulty or discomfort when using a keyboard, your computer may be set up to recognise your voice.Currently this is a built-in feature in Windows 7 only:

  • Press the Windows Key + U
  • When the ’Ease of Access Center’ has opened, choose ‘Use the computer without a mouse or keyboard’
  • Select ‘Use Speech Recognition’, then ‘Start Speech Recognition’
  • You need to set up and adjust your microphone as well as train the software on your voice before you can start using it.

Use a Spell Checker and Thesaurus

When writing text yourself (e.g. for an application form), we recommend that you write the text in a word-processing package such as ‘Microsoft Word’ or ‘OpenOffice Writer’ first. This can help you to produce fewer errors when filling in long forms and it can also help you find the exact words you are looking for. The keyboard shortcuts for Word and Writer are identical:

  • Press Alt-T and then S to open the ‘Spelling and Grammar’ window. Adjust the settings to your needs
  • You can also spell-check your document at anytime by pressing F7
  • Use the Thesaurus to find synonyms by highlighting a word and pressing Shift-F7