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Assistive software

Image of a keyboard with disabled icon.

Information Services provides a range of specialist software to enable users to carry out their work and access the resources they need:

In addition, users can also download freely available online software to use in their study, research or work. Please note that this software is not centrally supported by Information Services.

JAWS (Job Access With Speech)

JAWS will read aloud information on the screen. It can be used with the Windows desktop, the Internet and standard software including word processors, spreadsheets and databases. JAWS can be customised to allow the selection of different voices and reading speeds.


To use this software, please email, or get in touch with your library's Disability Contact.

Alternatively, download a free trial of the JAWS Screen Reading software. You'll receive a 40 minute trial of the screenreader software with no charge. However, please note that your PC will automatically restart at the end of the 40 minute trial period.

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 TextHELP Read & Write Gold

TextHelp Read & Write Gold is a comprehensive literacy support tool which uses a simple to use toolbar that floats on top of any open Windows application. This allows for seamless integration with applications such as Microsoft Word and Internet Explorer.

The software provides speech, spell and homophones checking, word prediction, a daisy reader, a dictionary, a word wizard, scanning and optical character recognition, an MP3 speech maker, a pronunciation tutor and a fact finder.

When installed Read & Write will also add TextHelp's PDFAloud toolbar to Adobe Acrobat Reader, allowing any PDF file to be read aloud at the click of a button.

TextHelp Read & Write Gold can be accessed via any networked computer on campus (CardiffApps>Assistive).


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SuperNova is a screen reading and screen magnification product. It also provides:

  • A Windows interface colour changer;
  • Various accessible mouse pointers;
  • Mouse, cursor, line and focus highlighting.

SuperNova can be accessed via any networked computer on campus (CardiffApps>Assistive). 


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MindView is a mind mapping tool and a highly effective way of brainstorming, developing and structuring ideas visually. It has a comprehensive range of export options to Microsoft Office applications and can also be used to construct timelines and Gantt charts. 

MindView can be accessed via any networked computer on campus (CardiffApps>Concept & Mindmapping).


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 CMap Tools

CMap Tools allows users to construct Concept Maps which are graphical representations of knowledge that are comprised of concepts and the relationships between them.

CMap Tools can be accessed via any networked computer on campus (CardiffApps>Concept & Mindmapping). 


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Workrave is a program that assists in the recovery and prevention of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) by monitoring your computer activity and prompting you to take regular breaks.

Workrave can be accessed via any networked computer on campus (CardiffApps>Utilities).


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 Other online software

Users may download other third party software that provides tools and features they may require. Please note that this software is not supported by Information Services.

Disabled users may find the following software useful:

  • MyStudyBar - provides access to a number of open source and free tools to help with reading, writing, and study skills.
  • Natural Reader - text to speech conversion that can be run within programmes.
  • Color Transform - a Firefox add-on which provides automatic coloration of opened webpages
  • Audacity - records, imports and edits audio files.
  • Click-n-Type - onscreen keyboard with word prediction and completion.
  • Robobraille - e-mail service which can convert digital text documents into Braille or audio files.
  • Dragon Dictation app for iPhones and iPads - Dragon Dictation is an easy-to-use voice recognition application powered by Dragon NaturallySpeaking, available free from the iTunes apps store.
  • Optelec Magnifier app for iPhones - The Optelec Magnifier app turns an Apple device with an on-board camera into a powerful low vision solution; the app is available for free from the iTunes apps store.