Assistive technologies for students and staff


Deakin University is committed to providing an inclusive and accessible environment for all students and staff, with a range of technology solutions and support. We offer a number of assistive hardware and software technologies for use by students and staff with disabilities both on and off campus. While these technologies can support the specific needs of people with disability, they are useful tools for everyone. Our goal in providing this service is that it is as flexible and individualised as possible with the aim of improving education and employment outcomes for students and staff with disabilities.

Accessibility software for your own computer or device

Enable accessibility features in your own Windows, Apple or Android device. Or download and install applications for your computer or device, such as screen readers, visual aids and language translation software from a list of suggested Accessibility software.

Accessibility software available on and off-campus

A number of software applications are available for use by all students and staff, available on all computers on-campus. These include:

Software application What it does Software Download

Accessible PDF Reader

Accessible PDF is a free program from Claro Software that lets you read PDFs with the colours and fonts you want and makes it easy to read the text aloud with other programs such as ClaroRead. You can zoom in and out, use high- or low-contrast colours, and save your PDF as text or a web page for future use.

Accessible PDF Reader


Converts text to speech

Balabolka is a Text-To-Speech (TTS) program. All computer voices installed on your system are available to Balabolka. The on-screen text can be saved as a WAV, MP3, OGG or WMA file. The program can read the clipboard content, view the text from DOC, RTF, PDF, FB2 and HTML files, customize font and background colour, control reading from the system tray or by the global hotkey's.

Balabolka - text-to-speech

Black Window

Black Window is used to enhance visibility and reduce distractibility of other programs. It fills the screen with a black background which remains underneath other programs. Minimise or close the program to restore normal Windows appearance.

Black Window


Browsealoud reads web pages aloud for people who find it difficult to read online. Reading large amounts of text on screen can be difficult for those with literacy problems of visual impairments.

Browsealoud makes using the internet easier for people who:

  • Have low literacy and reading problems
  • Experience learning difficulties
  • Speak languages other than English at home
  • Struggle with low vision, affecting web page reading


Click-N-Type is an on-screen virtual keyboard designed for anyone with a disability that prevents him or her from typing on a physical computer keyboard. As long as the physically challenged person can control a mouse, trackball, touch screen or other pointing device, the software keyboard allows you to send keystrokes to virtually any Windows application or DOS application that can run within a window.



Converts text to speech

NaturalReader is Text to Speech software with natural sounding voices. This easy to use software can convert any written text such as MS Word, webpages, PDF files and emails into spoken words. NaturalReader can also convert any written text into audio files such as MP3 or WAV for your CD player, iPod, or MP3 player.

Natural reader - text-to-speech

NonVisual Desktop Access (NVDA)

Converts text on the screen to speech providing feedback via synthetic speech and Braille (screen reader for Microsoft Windows).

Non Visual Desktop Access

textHELP Read & Write Gold

Read&Write Gold is text-to-speech literacy support software that is now available to all Deakin University students and staff.

Read & Write Gold

Virtual Magnifying Glass

Virtual Magnifying Glass is a free, open source, cross-platform screen magnification tool. It is simple, customisable and easy-to-use.

Virtual Magnifying Glass

Assistive technology equipment on-campus

Software and hardware to cater for a range of accessibility needs are available in each campus Library. Note that if you would like to use a particular software application not listed below, please contact the IT Service Desk to discuss your needs.

The above hardware and software are additions to the standard software installed on all other campus computers. To initially locate the assistive technology computers, please speak to a staff member at the information service desk in the Library on your preferred campus.

Technology What it does Additional information
Pearl Camera OCR (Optical Character Recognition) scanning and reading Pearl Camera user guide
Dual monitors Allows viewing of work across two monitors  
Large print white keys on black keyboard Allows clearer visibility of keyboard User guide
Braille printer (Burwood campus only) Allows printing in Braille  
JAWS Converts text to speech JAWS user guide
Dragon naturally speaking Converts speech to text Dragon user guide
Zoomtext Magnifies screen content, converts text to speech Zoomtext user guide
OpenBook OCR (Optical Character Recognition), allows scanning of typed text into editable text OpenBook user guide
Wynn Converts text to speech, OCR (Optical Character Recognition), allows scanning of typed text into editable text, provides spelling and grammar support Wynn user guide
Windows screen magnifier Magnifies screen content (note available on all student and staff computers) Windows screen magnifier user guide

Some technology requires either the use of a headset or microphone. Students or staff will need to provide their own for health and safety reasons.

Students can print to any printer available for student use on-campus.

Consultation process

Do you have other support or technology requirements that could assist you in studying or working with Deakin University? Please contact the IT Service Desk to set up a one-on-one consultation session to discuss your needs and all reasonable steps will be taken to accommodate you.

Related information

Read more about Deakin University's Disability Resource Centre.

View detailed maps of our campuses.