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For anyone using a Windows computer; accessibility apps offer a range of Assistive Technology applications to help you work more effectively and more efficiently.

Whilst most of these apps have been designed for users with accessibility issues, such as visual impairments or a learning disability (dyslexia and others); there are a number of these tools that will be of use to all students. 

See the Assistive Technology pages for more information about how the University supports students with accessibility needs.

  • MyStudyBar - Software Suite

    A suite of portable Windows freeware applications assembled into one package to support learners with literacy difficulties.

    It can be run from a USB pen drive or from your desktop and is available from:


    MyStudyBar is a floating toolbar comprising of 6 sections with over 10 apps to choose from;

    • Planning
      • Xmind – mind mapping.
    • Reading
      • T-Bar – to customise background colours.
      • Vu-Bar – an onscreen ruler to read single lines of text.
      • ssOverlay – coloured overlays.
      • ATBar – select text to hear it read aloud (also with font and background colour options).
    • Writing
      • Balabolka – a talking word processor with options to save text to audio .
        • Balabolka can be slow in loading, please be patient.

      • LetMeType – flexible word prediction - over 30 topic dictionaries including; Ancient Rome, Cell Biology, Global Warming and much more).
      • Rapid Typing – learn to touch type.
    • Voice
      • Windows Speech Recognition - speak to your computer.
    • Vision
      • System Font Size Changer – customise font, colour settings in Windows.

    HELP: Scroll to the bottom of the MyStudyBar page ( to view tutorials on how to use each piece of included software.

  • ATbar - Accessibility Toolbar for the web

    ATbar has been created as an open-source, cross-browser toolbar to help users customise the way they view and interact with web pages. The concept behind ATbar is simple: One toolbar to provide all of the functionality you would usually achieve through the use of different, sometime complex, settings or products.

    ATbar allows you to change the look and feel of webpages, increase and decrease font sizes, have text read aloud, use coloured overlays, improve readability and includes a dictionary to aid reading. You can spell check forms and use word prediction when writing. It is a simple tool which is available for most popular browsers.

    ATbar is possibly the best "usability tool" / "Assistive Technology application" available for viewing web pages.

    What does ATbar do?

    Add ATbar Lite to your web browser

    Install the full ATbar on your Windows computer

  • WebbIE tools for the visually impaired

    WebbIE is a custom designed web browser for blind and vision-impaired people. It especially caters to people using screen readers. It is based on Microsoft's Internet Explorer to ensure that a maximum of sites work properly and accurately with it.

    Developer Website:

    The WebbIE Application Bundle includes accessible versions of the following tools (each can be downloaded separately if preferred):

    • Web Browser
    • PDF Reader
    • Speaking Clock
    • RSS News Reader
    • Podcatcher
    • Calendar
    • BBC Radio listings
    • BBC iPlayer listings
    • One Switch Mouse
  • Accessibility Tools in Windows

    The Windows operating system already includes a number of tools to support accessibility. These include:

    • Onscreen Keyboard
    • Screen Magnifier
    • Narrator
    • Audio descriptions
    • Cursor/pointer resizer
    • Speech to text
    • Colour filters
    • and much, much more...

    Microsoft have a dedicated Accessibility website that includes hints, tips and instructions for using these in-built tools:

    Microsoft Accessibility

  • Accessibility tools in Mac OS X

    The Apple operating system includes accessibility options and programs that make it easier to see, hear, and use your computer including ways to personalise your computer. These tools, which include visual, audio and input options are available in ‘System Preferences’ under ‘Universal Access’

    More information can be found at:

    Accessibility - Apple (UK)

    Accessibility - Hearing - Apple (UK)

    Accessibility - Vision - Apple (UK)

    Accessibility - Cognitive - Apple (UK)

  • Keyboard Shortcuts

    Sometimes it is quicker and easier to use your keyboard to do things you might normally do with your mouse i.e. pressing the Ctrl + C keys will copy any text or images that you have selected/highlighted on a page (web or documents).

    You will need the Copy & Paste shortcuts when working in PebblePad.


    Note: Most of these shortcuts will also work with Mac OSx, but on older Macs, you will need to substitute the Windows Ctrl key for the Mac Cmd key.

    Our Favourite Keyboard Shortcuts

    ShortcutWhat it does
    Windows - General Shortcuts
    Ctrl + C Copies any selected text or images
    Ctrl + X Cuts any selected text or images
    Ctrl + V Pastes anything that you copied or cut
    Ctrl + A Selects everything on the page or in a text box
    Ctrl + F Opens the Find / search box for the current program
    Ctrl + Z Undo the last command
    Ctrl + Y  Redo the last thing that was undone 
    Ctrl + Shift + Z  Redo if Ctrl + Y does not work 
    Alt + Tab Switch to another running program 
    Win + D  Minimizes all open windows and displays the desktop 
    F1  Brings up the Help menu for most Windows programs 
    Web Browser Shortcuts  
    Arrow Keys Scrolls a web page (1 - 3 lines at a time - default is 3) 
    Ctrl and + (Plus) Increases the size of almost everything in the current
    Ctrl and - (Minus) Decreases the size of almost everything in the current
    Ctrl and 0 (Zero) Returns screen size back to the default settings 
    Ctrl + Enter Automatically adds www. & .com to anything in the
    address bar 
    End Takes you right to the bottom of most web pages 
    Ctrl + F Opens the Find / search box for the current window
    Ctrl + T Opens a new tab (in all modern browser) 
    F5  Refreshes the current webpage 
    F6  Selects the Address Bar - ready to type a search or URL 
    F11  Expands browser window to full screen and back again
    Home  Takes you back to the top of most web pages 

    More Keyboard Shortcuts

    There are hundreds of Keyboard Shortcuts available for Windows and Mac, but most users will never need (or remember) most of them. For some long lists of shortcuts - please see the following websites:


  • Portable Apps

    A portable app is a computer program that you can carry around with you on a portable device and use on any Windows computer. When your USB flash drive, portable hard drive, iPod or other portable device is plugged in, you have access to your software and personal data just as you would on your own PC.

    These apps can be useful if you get used to using a particular piece of software and find it is not installed on University computers. Some accessibility tools are also available:

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